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Joe Meyers was feeling a little depressed on Tuesday night in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. So he decided to go into the basement of the Brewer home he shares with his wife, Judy, and record a video of himself singing a favorite song — “Blinding Lights,” by The Weeknd — and post it to Facebook.
Buoyed by the response from his friends, he decided on a whim to start a Facebook group on Wednesday morning. He dubbed it “Quarantine Karaoke,” and he invited the 1,000 or so people on his friends list to join.
Forty-eight hours later, as of noon on Friday, the group had gained more than 38,000 members, from all corners of the U.S. and from other countries, too — and that number continues to rapidly grow. Members have posted tens of thousands of videos of themselves and the people they’re cooped up with for the next month or so, singing every sort of song imaginable.
Pop hits. Country standards. Classic rock. Disney songs. Rap. Disco. You name it — somebody is singing it, and sharing it, in Quarantine Karaoke.
“Everybody is stuck inside. How can we be together, and share things with each other? That’s why I started the group,” said Meyers, who works for Orono-based marketing company SBK Consulting, and was formerly in a local band called the Trendy Robots. “Singing is therapy. Even in tough times like this, we can be together.”
Meyers said the response has been overwhelming.
“It’s unreal. I have done absolutely no promotion. It’s 100 percent organic growth. It’s just people sharing it,” Meyers said. “People need this sort of thing right now.”
Meyers said he doesn’t plan to heavily police the group to keep it karaoke-only.
“Some people can play guitar and can’t really sing. Some people just want to lip sync. That’s fine,” he said. “I’m not going to police it or scold people. It’s not about me. It’s just about sharing what you’re doing musically.”
And as with real-life karaoke in a bar, most people aren’t amazing singers.
“Who cares if you can’t sing? Just sing anyway,” Meyers said. “You’re getting a taste of each other in your home environment, which is something we can’t do in person right now. That’s something that can give people hope and help them get through the day.”