Each week we seem to be inundated with coronavirus news, so we wanted to do something that wasn’t the latest on infections, hospitals or deaths. Instead here are three mini-stories that will hopefully lift your mood.
Birmingham resident Randi Pink calls herself a birthday fanatic. She had been planning her daughter Charli’s birthday party for months. She turned 3 in March. But as the coronavirus took hold, Pink had to keep paring down her idea.
On the day of Charli’s birthday, Pink took a laundry basket and placed it in front of the house.
“[I] flipped it upside down draped it in a little bit of fabric, set a table for her with some Little Debbie cakes on it and teddy bears around it,” Pink says. “She was elated.”
That might have been because Pink also put up signs in the neighborhood telling people who walked or drove by to yell out and wish Charli “Happy Birthday.”
Pink’s mom came by too and helped celebrate, but from a safe distance. This self-described birthday fanatic admits maybe simple is better.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful birthday,” Pink says.
The Alabama Symphony Orchestra is not performing right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as part of a campaign to stay connected with their audience, some members have videos on social media of themselves playing. Principal flutist Lisa Wienhold offers a different proposal: a chance to play a duet with her.
She recorded herself playing one part of a canonic sonata by Georg Telemann. It’s a bit like a round, think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” She posted the video and sheet music online and invited people to play along.
Wienhold says she hasn’t heard from anyone who has tried it. She sent the link to her flute students and suspects some of them might have. In the meantime, she tried playing along with herself.
The music from a flute or two may be soothing, but it’s not the same as the sound of a full orchestra.
“I miss it terribly and I can’t wait until we can all be back together again,” Wienhold says.
Until then, it’s a musical connection via a screen.
Craig McRee has a thing for silly songs. He’s a musician and a DJ at Substrate Radio, an online radio station in Birmingham. McRee’s girlfriend has 8-year-old, twin girls.
“I’ll make up silly songs running around the house just to teach them a lesson, to have fun,” McRee says.
Naturally, the times demand songs that inform us about the coronavirus. Such as one he wrote called, “We’ve got to be OCD.”
McRee says he’s written about six songs related to the pandemic so far. He hasn’t really shared them outside his family. But his passion brings up an interesting question. What do you rhyme with coronavirus or COVID-19?
“I have rhymed COVID-19 with jelly bean,” McRee says. “Coronavirus [with] who’s gonna hire us.”
He says music is infectious, and now, perhaps more than ever, that’s an infection worth catching.
For the musical theater crowd, a couple of other delights.
Several of these stories came through our Facebook group we’ve called “Y’all’s Things Considered.” It’s a place to interact with other public radio fans, share ideas, and a resource for helpful information. Join the conversation with “Y’all’s Things Considered” on Facebook.