Social distancing could not keep Wiscasset school staff from telling students they miss them and that “Every little thing’s going to be alright.” The staff’s rendition of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” on YouTube Monday morning and shared on the school department’s website, was closing in on 1,000 views before sunset.
“I think it is amazing that so many people are getting to see Wiscasset teachers singing together for our kids! We are truly together, apart, and we are so lucky to be here and have each other,” Wiscasset Middle High School alternative education teacher Kim Andersson said via email Monday evening.
Andersson got the idea March 29 to do a virtual karaoke song for students, with as many staff members as possible. She said her husband Mikael suggested the Marley song “because it is such a nice, simple, and uplifting message during these unusual and uncertain times.” She put out a request to both schools’ staff that night, and their video submissions came in all week.
Saturday morning, Andersson started the “lengthy” editing process in imovie. “There was a great learning curve! But finally it all came together and there you have it.” The world had it about 8 a.m. Monday. Staff appear in boxes, singing, some holding messages, and WMHS science teacher Ralph Keyes holding a djembe drum. In emails and texts Monday, he and others said why they took part and how they felt about going on-camera for the three-minute, 19-second music video “Quarantine Karaoke: Wiscasset Schools Edition.”
Keyes is finding remote learning to be much more work. “We need to take a break, laugh and take care of ourselves. If it makes a few kids smile, or laugh, or laugh at us, it is worth it. Maybe some of them can sing back to us,” he added.
WMHS Technology Coordinator/VHS Site Coordinator/Student Council Advisor Deb Pooler sang through high school and college. She was happy to do the video to show students how much they mean to her. They are the biggest reason she is still at WMHS after 31 years, she said. “I miss them so much (and) am thinking of them and hoping that we can all get back together. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is certain,” Pooler said. “We love our students in Wiscasset!”
Carole Drury knows music. She teaches it at Wiscasset Elementary School. And Drury said music was a perfect way to reach out now because research suggests it can boost moods and “help communicate what is often difficult to say any other way.” Plus, she hoped students would enjoy seeing her and the other familiar faces “during this time when everyone is isolated.”
Other staff in the video are Alain Ollier, Carole Adams, Charles Leitzell, David Melgard, Becky Roper, Carolyn Orne, Heather Sinclair, Jake McCarthy, Donna Footer, Trae Stover, Jason Drake, Jean Phillips, Elizabeth Bodkin, Wyatt Ray, Prema Long, Kristin Sheppard, Shalimar Chasse, Rachel Hamlin, Molly Carlson, Erica Davis, Shaye Paradis, Tamia Welch, Lindsay Larrabee, Michaela West, Stephan Puff, Kirsten Perry, Neera Harmon and Joanne Jones.