Online group making isolation a little easier with local musical talent

Blake and Karlie Pitre show off the new sign at Christopher Cross, letting people know about a way to ease the negative effects of social distancing and self-isolation. Created by the Pitre family, Christopher Cross Music At Home is creating an opportunity to not only showcase their musical talents, it gives people a chance to feel connected despite not being able to leave their homes.  Photo submitted

A Christopher Cross family wants to help minimize the negative effects of social distancing and self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving West Prince residents the chance to display their musical talents without having to leave their homes.

The idea for the online group, Christopher Cross Music at Home, came from the Pitre family - husband Malcolm, wife Kelly, and children Blake and Karlie. Driving home from an appointment for Blake at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax on March 15, the family had been talking about what the social isolation from COVID-19 would mean for those living in manors and full time care facilities once they were closed to the public.

“It would be an opportunity for families to reach out to those family members they can’t see right now,” said Ms Pitre. 

“Communicate with them, connect with them, reach out, and also help those people that are in lockdown isolation, maybe keep them from feeling so alone.”

The family did something similar two years ago to help raise money for a family in West Prince who were experiencing health issues. Called Christopher Cross Requests, a person could request someone else to sing a song, donating a minimum of $5. The person would then create a video and post it to the group’s social media page. This time, however, no donation is required.

Though the group, which is public and open to anyone, is just over a week old, already it has over 3,000 members. There are constant posts on the page of people either performing a musical selection or nominating themselves and/or friends to play.

It’s a fairly low-key group, but the Pitre family made one stipulation at the beginning, which is being respected.

“The only rule we had was that nobody sing a song about the coronavirus, or joke about it, or parodies,” Ms Pitre explained. “The purpose of it was to distract us, or help us forget about it for a few minutes, so if you’re singing or talking about it, it defeats the purpose.”

The Pitre family has received many comments from people saying creating the group is a very positive idea, and it’s been a great distraction from the social distancing and self-isolation Islanders are dealing with as a result of COVID-19.

Self-isolation is something the Pitres are familiar with. Blake has Minimal Change Disease causing Nephrotic Syndrome, and the family had to quarantine themselves last year for a month during flu season. Blake has caught pneumonia before, and his doctor said he would be more prone to catch bacterial pneumonia as opposed to viral pneumonia, but the family doesn’t want to take any risks. Aside from taking food to Kelly’s father, or doing any necessary errands like grocery shopping, the family is sticking close to home.

Ms Pitre said she hopes people enjoy the group, and that it serves its purpose.

“I’m sure people are feeling pretty alone, especially people who live by themselves,” she concluded. “We hope that this helps people feel connected and not feel isolated and alone, and enjoy some great PEI talent, which we have lots of.”

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