Early on during the March 2020 quarantine, a few local singers from Montague, Massachusetts decided to meet up at the town common and sing. The simple act was a way to feel somewhat normal again during unusual times.
The group met at 2pm every day, singing together for about an hour. Gradually, more people began joining the small group, which met daily no matter the weather.
Friday, March 18th, 2022, marks two straight years of friends and strangers alike gathering on the town square at two o’clock to share an hour of singing. Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan brings us their story.
Watch the Montague Town Singers perform “Payment for the Plow Guy” in a digital exclusive clip.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: It was early in the quarantine of 2020 that a couple of local singers from Montague decided to meet up in the town common to sing some songs as a way to feel somewhat normal again.
They met at 2:00 and sang for about an hour, but little did they know at that time they would be joined by several others and continue to meet up every day, regardless of the weather.
Friday, March 18, 2022, marks two straight years that friends and strangers alike have gathered on the town common at 2:00 to share an hour of singing and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan brings us their story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: One day it may look like this outside on the Montague Town Common. Only to look like this the very next day. This person may be here on Tuesday, but this one is here on Wednesday.
Anyone looking for consistency here in Montague Center can find it in these two things: the location and the fact that every day at 2 p.m., there will be songs being sung for at least an hour.
The faces and music may change, but since the 18th of March 2020, an assembly of merry melody makers has gathered here, and it’s possible that it was born out of a sense of cabin fever during the second week of two weeks to flatten the curve.
Will Quale, Montague Town Common Singers: Everything was getting canceled. One of the local choir’s rehearsals got canceled. Several of the people lived over just up on Taylor Hill, and they were like, “We got to sing!” A
nd they sent word out to neighbors and friends and just said, “We don’t know what’s going on. Just show up at the Common on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020, and 2 o’clock.”
And about 16 of us showed up here not really knowing what was going on. Maybe everyone knew one or two or three or four people, but not the whole group. And we just sang.
Laurie Davidson, Town Common Singers: No one knew we would be here two years later. It was just something we started and said, “This was pretty fun! Let’s do it again.”
And then, “Hey, let’s do it again!”
And “Oh, I guess we can still do it in the rain and the snow and the heat..” and yeah.
Brian Sullivan: Will Quale and Laurie Davidson were two of the first to embark in this marathon endeavor, and each brings a solid set of song singing skills to the table.
That’s not to say that the others in the circle aren’t also quality singers, but this was never about getting the best vocalists in Montague to join in; it was about getting anyone who wants to come down and sing to do just that, regardless of skill.
Tim Van Egmond, Town Common Singers: Over time, singing has gotten…in some ways, treated as something that is out of reach. Unless you sound like somebody who’s, you know, a pop singer or a star.
You know, people aren’t what you would call good singers from a point of view of carrying the tune or the pitch or the tone of their voice or that kind of thing, and you know, voice training ideas. It’s all pretty much, you know, people just singing.
Brian Sullivan: This unique circle of singers also boasts the fact that there’s no real leader. Whatever happens here, it’s all organic.
Laurie Davidson: We don’t have any plan. There’s no one in charge. People show up and they…and they sing. And so we get to know each other by what’s brought on a day.
I mean, our songs can come from the plow guy coming by or the weather or what’s in someone’s heart. And as people share a song, it’s never just the song. There’s always a little bit of something of them.
Brian Sullivan: The snowy Wednesday of March 9th, 2022, that we drop by marked the 721st consecutive day that singers have gathered here on the lawn. It’s kind of a remarkable feat, considering they may be the only one of their kind in the entire country.
The group appears to have taken a page out of the book of the United States Postal Service, because for the past couple of years, they’ve been coming out here to this town square through rain, sleet, and snow.
And they may have even done the Postal Service one better in that, they’re not delivering junk mail and bills. They’re delivering songs of hope and inspiration every day.
And not just inspiration for passersby either, although it does seem they may have finally won over the kids on the school bus, who weren’t exactly their biggest fans when they first started.
No, they inspire each other to keep showing up, whether it’s snowy or clear and sunny. And if they keep showing up like this, the two-year marker of Friday, March 18th, may just be another day on the calendar.
Laurie Davidson: I don’t think we have any plan of stopping. There isn’t there isn’t a next thing. There isn’t a goal. There’s just come at 2, it’s sing o’clock.
Ensemble: I’m a child of the library. It made me who I am. It taught me…