Three weeks ago, when the seriousness of the impending COVID-19 outbreak here at home was becoming clear and schools, libraries and senior centers began closing their doors, we met with our reporting staff and made something clear to them: Our communities are reliant on us now more than ever.
We stressed the fact that the most important reporting we were going to be doing for the next few weeks and perhaps months was about the virus and that we had to be sure that what we were putting out there was factual, timely and complete.
But we cautioned them not to get lost in all the dire news. We implored them to keep their eyes open for the bright spots; the positive, uplifting stories. Readers will be looking for—and needing—these kinds of stories, too.
Our staff got the message.
Last week’s papers included stories about how local clergy are staying in touch with their congregations through online media, about people sewing and donating face masks to healthcare workers, about local residents reading storybooks for children on Facebook, about restaurants, schools and food pantries figuring out innovative ways to keep families fed. This week, too, there is a good mix of stories on our pages.
All around us, both near and far, there are stories of hope and resilience. There are stories about everyday people doing inspiring, selfless things. There are doctors and nurses traveling great distances to lend a hand in the areas hit hardest by the pandemic. There are stories about people dropping off bags of groceries for quarantined neighbors. There are stories about people coming up with creative ways to bridge personal gaps created by social distancing.
There is a letter in the Falmouth paper this week from an older, disabled man who was writing to share a story about how an electrical contractor he had hired earlier in the year to inspect his smoke detectors and change some light bulbs that he could not reach had called him out of the blue last week to check on him during the pandemic.
“I am all right at this time, but it is a very comforting feeling to have their concern for the vulnerable older people,” he wrote.
A family member this week sent us a link to an exceptional YouTube video of a virtual performance of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by students from Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music.
The video features dozens of musicians performing parts of the song in their homes. The audio and the individual video clips are stitched together patchwork style—think of the old “Hollywood Squares” game show or the intro to “The Brady Bunch.”
The student-made performance and video were the brainchild of Shelbie Rassler, a senior composition major at Boston Conservatory. A few days after Berklee reverted to online classes only, Shelbie found herself at her Florida home, looking for ways to bring her community together.
So she came up with the video idea and set about trying to rally the far-flung musicians to record the song. She shared the idea on her Facebook page, explaining to her friends how it would work:
“Your job is to just take a video of yourself singing (literally pick any part/the whole song/just 10 seconds/riff to the gods/up to you!!), playing your instrument along to the track, choreograph a dance to the music, anything your heart desires, and I’ll cut everything up and create an arrangement from what y’all send me, and share it with you all because what the world needs now is love sweet love y’all,” she wrote. “Let’s make it happen.”
Almost immediately, she heard from dozens of musicians—violinists, cellists, harpists, guitarists, trumpeters, a flutist, an accordion player, and singers aplenty—eager to participate.
The end result is incredibly moving. Here’s the link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QagzdvzzHBQ
At the Enterprise, we have created a new Coronavirus Update e-newsletter that we’re sending out via email every weekday to keep people up to date on what’s happening locally during the pandemic. It’s an important public service and we’re making all of our coronavirus reporting free to all.
But on the lighter side of things—and as an equally important service to our readers—we are launching a weekly e-newsletter called The Enterprise UpSide, which will feature a handful of much-needed positive, perhaps uplifting, stories from the four Upper Cape communities we serve.
Sign up at www.capenews.net/users/admin/mailinglist/.