March 21, 2020
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These Maine neighbors sang to each other across their streets Saturday morning

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Jon and Naomi Mermin sing "Let it Be" by The Beatles on Saturday morning in front of their house in Portland's Deering Neighborhood on Saturday morning.

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PORTLAND, Maine — Inspired by isolated Italians singing together from their balconies during the coronavirus pandemic, the Deering Center Neighborhood Association organized a community singing event on Saturday morning.

At 9 a.m., people were urged to come out of their social-distancing cocoons for a few minutes and sing two songs by The Beatles. Standing on their own sides of the street, on their porches and in their yards, residents sang “Here Comes the Sun” and “Let it Be.”

“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes,” they sang with the actual sun beaming in a crisp, blue sky.

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Mike Lauze stands in his yard in Portland's Deering neighborhood singing "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles on Saturday morning with his neighbors across the street. The mass singing experiment was organized by the Deering Center Neighborhood Association as a way to combat loneliness in a time of social distancing due to the coronavirus.

Three families sang together at the corner of Madeline and Best streets. On one side of Madeline were Jon and Naomi Mermin. Jon played the guitar while Naomi held the sheet music. Both sang.

Just across the way stood Mike Lauze, coffee in one hand, lyrics in the other. His neighbors, Hal Amen and Cary Goleau sang along with their two small children.

“For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see. There will be an answer: Let it be,” they all sang together, yet separately.

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
With Madeline Street separating them, Mike Lauze (on the left side) and Jon and Naomi Mermin (on the right side) sing two Beatles songs together in Portland on Saturday morning. Their neighbors, Hal Amen and Cary Groleau -- along with their two children -- also sang. The mass singing experiment was organized by the Deering Center Neighborhood Association as a way to combat loneliness in a time of social distancing due to the coronavirus. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The same scene played out on other streets in Deering as well, with people trying to stay connected at a time when authorities are urging them to stay apart for the good of each other.

“Tell people this is how we are. This is what happens here,” Jon Mermin said, when it was over.

Then, everyone waved goodbye and went back inside.

 


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