life list

Life List: Have a Sing-a-Long with Strangers – Check!

Group shot!

It was a Life List item inspired by this video that I posted on my Tumblr account back in January. I was so moved by the sound of voices of strangers coming together to make one happy moment, and I was jealous. The good kind of jealous (we call that “inspired” I think!), so I set out to make my own.  I posted here on the blog and on Craigslist, calling for strangers to sing with me in Prospect Park on Saturday, April 10.

Rob, Jared and Gavin

I got a few emails from complete strangers saying they wanted to come (the event had made it to a few other blogs around town), but I don’t think any of them actually did. Maybe they couldn’t find me? Lesson learned: just publicize the exact location; we ended up setting up in the stone gazebo for the acoustics. I was really concerned with phycho people showing up, but Prospect Park on a sunny Saturday is so bustling it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

In the gazebo

Friends showed up, though! Kelsey and Dennis came with their little girls, my friend LuLu showed up, Rob’s oldest friend Jared came, which was good because he was an excellent song-leader, Gavin drove up from Baltimore with his guitar and he and Rob were my musical duo, Greg ‘n Erica showed up with Oliver the wonderful Basset hound, Nicole came, and our friend Nat came, too.

Greg and Oliver

I thought, “Eh, sing-a-long with friends. GOOD ENOUGH.” but, of course, this is Brooklyn. If you stand around singing, people will join you. STRANGERS WILL JOIN YOU!  You can see them in Nicole’s video; scruffy-but-dashing English fellow next to me? Women with babies strapped to their fronts? The ladies in work out gear? ALL STRANGERS! So, mission accomplished.

Rob shows off my hand-painted sign

We sang Every Rose Has It’s Thorn first. I didn’t want to at all, but Rob and Gavin ganged up on me with pleading eyes about an hour before, so I relented. It turned out to be a good warm-up song. We moved onto Tiny Dancer which is NOT that excellent of a sing-a-long song, I think, because the melody gets monotonous. Next was 500 miles which is really fun – everyone brought their A-game with the faux-Gaelic accents – and we finished with Hey Jude.

I used up some pink paper!

If you are printing up the lyrics of Hey Jude for a sing-a-long, be sure to write something along the lines of “not yet!” in between the verses because people will be over-eager to start shouting “better, BETTER AHHHHHHHHHH!” before all the verses are finished.

This little guy cried every time a song ended; he wanted more singing!  I wanted his cool dinosaur hat.

A whole lot of people asked if we did this every week. Rob suggested a once-a-month “Second Saturday Sing-a-long”. Universe, I leave you to it to organize, and if you do, I will totally be there. This was so fun.

All the photos here, minus the last two, were taken by Erica. Thank you!


  1. Nichole

    11 April 2010 at 4:48 pm

    So Cool! And well done on incorporating Poison into your dreams. 🙂

  2. Karen from Chookooloonks

    12 April 2010 at 10:10 am

    That is pure, uncut AWESOME. I want to add this to my list!


  3. Michelle

    13 April 2010 at 10:04 am

    So awesome, I would LOVE to do this!

  4. Pammer

    13 April 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I am SO glad you got to pull this off! It is so many levels of awesome I can’t stand it! Cheers to YOU, lady!

    (and here’s a few more exclamation marks for good measure: !!!!!!)

  5. Nadia

    13 April 2010 at 9:53 pm


    FYI Gaius and I sang along to the video in Miami. We’re not strangers, but at least you’re going global(ish)?!?

  6. kelsey kleiman

    14 April 2010 at 7:32 am

    It was so fun! Really liberating (and I’m not a singer….well, I am with a kid on my lap). I will send you some of our iphone pics soon.


  7. Denis

    16 April 2010 at 10:41 am

    I wish our little one was more cooperative on Saturday – it looks like you had a blast!

  8. Phil

    20 April 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I can’t even tell you how awesome that video is. If this becomes a regular thing, I WILL make an appearance at one.

  9. DiaryofWhy

    5 May 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Well, I’m late to the party on this one, but hey, it’s Gavin! I love it when my old prom dates show up on various corners of the internet. 🙂

  10. Gavin

    5 May 2010 at 11:31 pm

    It’s a small Internet world! 🙂

  11. Rachel

    11 May 2010 at 2:59 am

    This is so fun and I love the songs you chose! I jsut clicked over from your comment on Maggie Makes. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s lists.

  12. Luna Pie

    11 May 2010 at 9:03 am

    I needed something to make me smile today, and THIS was it!!
    Thank you!

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