Brewer resident Joe Meyers was feeling down about his coronavirus self-quarantine, so he went downstairs to his basement music studio, stood in front of a microphone and shot a video of himself singing a karaoke version of “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd, then posted it to his Facebook page.

“Quarantine Karaoke. Annnnnd it’s only Tuesday night,” he wrote.

Quarantine Karaoke Facebook group founder Joe Meyers in his Brewer home. Photo courtesy of Joe Meyers

On Wednesday morning, Meyers decided it might be helpful and uplifting for others also stuck inside to have a central place to share their karaoke videos, and by 11 a.m., he had created the Facebook group Quarantine Karaoke, where members can upload videos of themselves singing and watch those posted by others. “The only rules,” he wrote on the page, “are to be kind to one another and have fun.”

By late Friday night, it had more than 63,000 members and more than 1,000 videos had been posted.

The group includes thousands of Mainers, but there are also people from dozens of others states as well as Canada, Australia, France and South Africa. Meyers said the group’s diversity is more than just geographical. “They’re old and young and in between. It’s been awesome.”

Meyers’ Weeknd song clip was the first one posted to Quarantine Karaoke.

“I wanted to volunteer to go first,” he said. “It’s not a perfect video by any means, but I wanted to show it’s OK to be vulnerable, it’s OK to not have a perfect singing voice. The point is to have fun and be a part of something bigger then ourselves.”

Meyers, 31, director of business development at SBK Consulting in Orono, has been working since Wednesday from home, where he lives with his wife, Judith, and children, Cameron, 8, and Oaklynn, 2. But he also has been spending quite a bit of time watching his group explode online.

Kate Gibbons used the bathroom of her home in Holden to record her video for Quarantine Karaoke. Photo courtesy of Kate Gibbons

“The amazing thing is I have not done any advertising, it’s been complete organic growth. I invited all 1,000 of my (Facebook) friends to join, and from there, it has blossomed,” he said.

Meyers does his best to respond to as many people as possible and to make sure everyone who posts a video gets at least one “like” and a comment.

“Sometimes it only takes one person to change your mood or put a smile on your face, so I’m trying to be there for as many people as I can,” he said.

Kate Gibbons, 31, a stay-at-home mom in Holden, joined Quarantine Karaoke when a friend invited her about 10 minutes after it was launched. She sang along with Bonnie Raitt’s “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” in her bathroom because of its acoustics. The post has more nearly 1,000 likes and 250 comments. Gibbons said that music has always been important to her because of how healing and therapeutic it is, and she thinks that Quarantine Karaoke is a great way to bring everybody together and to dampen the negativity.

A twist on some well-known lyrics earned Dan Sciacca a lot of laughs in response to the video of him singing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Sciacca, 42, who works for Spectrum and lives in Dedham, but changed the lyric “touching hands” to “washing hands.” It received nearly 500 likes and 100 comments, including some giving shoutouts to the Boston Red Sox, for whom the song is an unofficial anthem.

Mike Cambareri poses for a photo with his guitar outside his Portland home Friday. Cambareri has posted two videos in the Quarantine Karaoke Facebook group. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Angie Harriman, 54, of Montville posted a video of her 8-year-old granddaughter, Sarah Harriman, singing along to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and said that Sarah loves seeing the responses. “I think this group is wonderful, and I watch it all day long. It’s keeping people connected,” said Harriman, who’s still operating her small engine repair shop.

A country music fan and competitive singer, Erin Fletcher tackled Colin Raye’s “Not That Different.” The 40-year-old Albion resident said it’s  a great way to be together and support each other during this difficult time. “People can feel isolated from the world and that can cause anxiety and depression. This is a great outlet for people to reach out,” she said.

Mike Cambareri, the tasting room manager at Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick who lives in Portland, had posted two videos by Friday afternoon: one of him playing acoustic guitar and singing Men at Work’s “Overkill,” and his version of Simon and Garfunkel’s iconic tune “America.”

“I think now it’s more important than ever for people to feel connected and have a diversion. It’s so easy to get sunk in all of the stress about everything and feel atomized and lonely,” said Cambareri, 31, who added that the group also serves to showcase how many great musicians there are in Maine. “I’m happy to see that broadcast out into the world.”


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