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Champaign music teachers Abby Crull and Brandon T. Washington miss being around their students. So they came up with a way to connect across the community — with a lot of local support — in the time of COVID-19.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, C-U residents are asked to go outside and join in the CU Sing-A-Long.

“I am so hopeful that by raising our voices together, we can help raise spirits through a shared community song experience,” said Crull, who teaches at Westview Elementary.

After considering several options, organizers decided on "Sing," a tune made famous on “Sesame Street.” Washington recently recorded the song. His version, which serves as lyrical guide, is available on YouTube. Watch below:

“A lot of people are talking about the emotions that it stirred,” said Washington, who teaches at Dr. Howard Elementary. “It was not easy for me to record. I had to do it a couple times to make sure I wasn’t letting my own emotions get the best of me.”

Washington, a University of Illinois graduate, has been playing music in C-U since the mid-1990s, performing at different festivals and venues in the area.

Inspired by similar sing-a-longs across the globe, Crull and local organizers started communicating by email in March. Crull praised the effort of local organizers: Bridget Lee-Calfas and Emily Laugesen from Krannert Center, Katie Snyder of the Museum of the Grand Prairie, Kelsey Langley of KOOP Adventure Play and Laura Bleill of Chambanamoms.

Why “Sing”?

“We were trying to find a song that catered to children and families in the community and adults,” Crull said. “One that was easily learnable with maybe a little bit of nostalgic feel.”

This might not be a one-time operation. Crull said she is interested in future sing-a-longs. Fourth of July is right around the corner.

“The power of music to heal and connect people is incredibly strong, especially in our community” Crull said.

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).

College Football Reporter/Columnist

Bob Asmussen is a college football reporter and columnist for The News-Gazette. His email is asmussen@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@BobAsmussen).