PHOTOS: Nightly singalong raises spirits of Victoria neighbourhood

Chamberlain Street residents have created a new, nightly singalong tradition to remain connected during the pandemic while practising social distancing. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rolf Warburton (right), his son Evan (middle) and their neighbours helped his wife Maia Mckinley (left) mark a unique 50th birthday with a group singalong and a car parade. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Residents bring drums, tambourines, pots and pans to accompany the singalong. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Neighbours line both sides of Chamberlain Street to sing together each night while practicing social distancing. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Every night, after the 7 p.m. cheer for frontline workers, a chorus of voices can be heard coming from a Victoria neighbourhood as residents come together for a singalong.

Chamberlain Street residents have found a new way to spend time together from a distance. Each night, neighbours come out of their homes – many with lyrics and instruments in hand – and come together for a joyful song while practising social distancing.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria kids social distancing from their father knit blanket to keep him warm

The goal of the nightly singalongs is to raise people’s spirits amid the pandemic, said resident Susan Martin. She’s not sure who initially came up with the idea but the singalongs have become part of the neighbourhood routine and the highlight of Martin’s day.

The group has sung everything from “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman to “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles, Martin said. After singing the song of the night, the neighbours choose a song for the following evening so everyone has time to find the lyrics and maybe practise a chorus or two.

“We’re on a friendship theme,” she explained. The neighbours have been selecting songs with “themes of relationships and relying on one another.”

READ ALSO: ‘I hope the world heals’: B.C. preschoolers offer wisdom on pandemic

After inviting residents from nearby streets to join in the fun, Martin said that there are now about 20 singers each night. She added that singing out loud with others is fun and helps create a sense of community even when people can’t truly get together.

Martin pointed out that she lives alone and has found the pandemic-induced isolation difficult. It’s made her notice how much the little conversations and pleasantries “grease our days.” The ritual of meeting with others for a nightly singalong gives her something to look forward to. She added that several neighbours are frontline workers and the songs are also an homage to their hard work.

“It’s the most meaningful part of my day,” Martin said.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Lochside Elementary teachers missing their students plan parade through community

The singalong on the evening of April 21 was extra special for Chamberlain Street residents; after the group belted out “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers accompanied by tambourines, drums, pots and pans, they followed up with a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” and a car parade to help neighbour Maia McKinley mark her 50th birthday.

McKinley was “overwhelmed” when her neighbours began to sing to her. The Oak Bay High School alum noted that “Lean On Me” was her grad song, which made the evening one to remember.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? E-mail your story, photos and videos to wereinthistogether@blackpress.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

City of VictoriaCoronavirusMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

Destroyed window at Ministry of Social Development offices in Campbell River. Photo supplied by Campbell River RCMP
Police investigating arson in downtown Campbell River

Fire set at BC Employment and Assistance Office

May 3-9 was Mental Health Week, and the Campbell River RCMP is encouraging people, especially men, to seek emotional help if it’s needed. Black Press file photo
Campbell River RCMP encouraging men to seek emotional help if needed

‘Taking care of our Mental Health is not simply about accessing counselling,’ says Const. Maury Tyre

Campbell River’s waste collection schedule will be changing after Victoria Day. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror.
Campbell River Garbage pickup schedule changing after May Long Weekend

Pickup day will change after every statutory holiday

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read