‘We’re still in this together’: Inspired by Italian residents, Kirkland resident organizes singing event

Meenakshi Sinha wanted to connect Kirkland neighborhoods amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to spread, so have the viral videos of apartment-dwelling, self-quarantined Italian citizens singing in harmony from their balconies.

For many people around the world, these videos have collectively become something of a beacon of hope. Their effect was so strong for Meenakshi Sinha, who lives in the Norkirk neighborhood, that late March 13, a light bulb went off in her head: Why not coordinate something similar in Kirkland?

The owner of The Giving Canvas went to Be Neighborly Kirkland 2.0, a community Facebook page and shared her idea. When others agreed that it would be fun to initiate, Sinha set up an event listing within the group.

Regulations were loose. At 11 a.m. on March 15, residents across Kirkland were encouraged to step outside their homes for a few minutes and share their music with the world, all the while following social-distancing guidelines.

Some opted to belt a song from their balconies. Others harmonized while going on a leisurely walk with loved ones. Sinha’s neighbor brought out her cello; the latter’s son set up a drum kit. Kids brought out pots and pans and shoe boxes; Sinha’s 7-year-old daughter pulled out a set of maracas and a mouth organ. Sinha heard afterward from Kirklanders hailing from Italy that the event reminded them of home.

Although Sinha acknowledged that it’s difficult to organize such an event in a neighborhood setting, and that she doesn’t know the total turnout of all participating neighborhoods, she said she was “very pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out.”

“Hidden talents came out,” she said.

Sinha said that after the event, others suggested to her that this becomes a weekly event until the pandemic begins to slow down — which is something she’s enthusiastic about.

“It’s very important,” Sinha said of events like Sunday’s. “We are human beings and human beings are very social by nature. We thrive in social settings. Especially in times like these, when people have been told to stay home and not interact with each other physically, I feel like we need an outlet. We need to be able to connect with each other for our mental health, for our neighbors’ and our friends’ mental health, but also ease some of the stress that we all have been feeling…It just helps send out that message that we are still connected. We’re still in this together.”