On March 18 my wife Ellen got a notice from the Registered Nurses Assoc. of Ontario suggesting we go out at 7:30 and sing or make some noise for frontline workers. Since March 19 we’ve been singing and doing shout outs for frontline workers and others that people on the street feel should be honoured. The singing is very multigenerational, with the song leading passing around among whoever wants to lead on a given night. It has become transformative for all of us to feel this profound sense of community.
In August, to honour the 150th continuous night of doing this we had an impromptu “gala” where we all dressed up. Ceilidh Wood and I wrote this song the day before the 150th and I’m making it available here as a free download. Most of the parts were recorded outside, including about 30 people (physically distanced) singing along on the chorus right on the street. If you listen carefully you might hear a bird chirp, a car motor or the sound of wonderful, neighbourhood babies. Our 200th night is coming up on Oct. 4.
On March 19, in response to a request from the Reg. Nurses Assoc. of ON. we started singing and doing shout outs for frontline workers on our street. These continue to the present and have been a real catalyst for community building. Lots of different people lead the songs – some are professional, some are not but regardless who is singing, everyone brings something to play or keep time on. We sing a song, shout out for frontline workers and anyone who wants to, then contributes a shout out: Black and Indigenous Lives Matter, science, volunteers, caretakers, transit workers, etc. Then we sing another song and do another round of shout outs.
When we realized that we were about to do our 150th night of these we decided to celebrate it and Ceilidh Wood (pictured far left) and I wrote a song called Ode To The Road! I’m now in the process of making a recording of the song and once it’s done, I’ll make it available here on this page as a free download.