WHITEWATER — There was music in the air last week when 11 households along Esterly Avenue participated in a spirit-lifting “Songest Happening.”

The Wednesday, March 25, event was organized by Christine Hayes, music teacher at Whitewater’s Lincoln Elementary School, who invited friends and neighbors by email to lend their voices in an effort to band together during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Pull up a lawnchair or blanket in your front yard, bring out your personal device to follow the lyrics, and sing along with Christine, her guitar and amplifier,” she wrote. “Wave and smile to your neighbors and know that we are all in this together! Lift your spirits tomorrow from your doorstep. You and not alone.”

Hayes added: “Right now, put on your busy calendar this neighborhood social distancing with an abundance of caution and a bucket filled with compassion!”

Included in the email were the lyrics to “You are My Sunshine,” “If I had a Hammer,” “Edelweiss,” “Let it Be,” “My Favorite Things,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Side By Side,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “We Shall Overcome,” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

The invitation received a good turnout.

“The get-together was a nice reprieve from worry and isolation,” Heidi Gempler said in between songs. “I’ve been connecting with friends and family over the phone and through social media, but had really underestimated the power of sharing a laugh or smile in person, even if from across the street.

Gempler added, “In a time when everything has been cancelled and there is no where safe to go, it felt pretty great to have plans for the evening!”

Bob and Terri Schramm echoed those sentiments.

“We are thankful for the wonderful music and friendships provided during this time of ‘Together Apart.’”

Carrie Oster also was among the neighborhood choristers.

“One of the best things about this neighborhood is how supportive all the neighbors are of each other,” she said. “This event really shows how we can still be a community even with social distancing. Even the dogs got involved!”

Prior to the sing-along, Hayes was pleased by the positive reception her “Songfest Happening” was receiving.

“It is so important that we keep compassionately connected during these times of uncertainty,” she wrote in a second email. “We are blessed with dear friends who live among us. Peace to all and we will soon join our voices down the street.”

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