SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Someone has placed a protective mask on San Francisco's statue honoring famed crooner Tony Bennett -- a fitting tribute to the city's favorite adopted son who led a virtual singalong of his "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" classic Saturday to raise spirits and salute caregivers during the coronvirus outbreak.
The singalong started at noon and echoed though the city's neighborhoods.
San Francisco's Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz set up the event. Participants were edncouraged to live-stream and record their performances via their online social media assets of choice (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) with the hashtag #SingOutSF.
"On any street in the world, you can hear San Francisco's singing ambassador, Tony Bennett, singing his signature song, our song," said Shultz in a release. "What better way to remind people that San Francisco will once again be ready to welcome back the world when the current health crisis abates. It will be a morale boost and an opportunity to pay respect to all of our frontline workers and brave medical professionals."
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said she couldn't think of a better way to pick up the spirits of residents forced to shelter in place.
"Our City has come together in an unprecedented way to confront this public health crisis, and I know our residents will continue to do everything they can to keep our communities safe and get us through this challenging time," Breed said. "By taking a moment to join together in song to celebrate our frontline health workers and everyone working to make a difference during this pandemic, we can recognize how connected we are to one another, not just here in San Francisco, but all over the world."
Bennett said he was honored to be asked.
"San Francisco has been in my heart for over 50 years," he said. "I am so proud and impressed with how the City by the Bay has continued to 'bend the curve' during the COVID-19 crisis and serve as an inspiration to the world of how together and alone we can make a difference."
Singalongs have echoed through neighborhoods across the San Francisco Bay Area during the virus outbreak.
Ilana Minkoff, a realtor in San Francisco's Cole Valley, has begun a Facebook group called "Quarantine Sing-Along" which now has thousands of members from several continents.
"I cannot believe how big this has gotten, totally organically," Minkoff said.
"There are currently 6,416 members and growing by the minute. It started Tuesday night in Cole Valley where I live, and it spread across the U.S. to Canada, Kenya, Australia, India, Mexico, Portugal and the U.S. Virgin Islands where my Dad and everyone he knows will be singing along!"
During a recent singalong, the group had a moment of silence at 6:59 p.m., followed by applause at 7 p.m. At 7:01, everyone sang "Sweet Caroline," a song chosen by the Facebook group.
Minkoff said she was inspired by the people of Italy who sang from their balconies.
"I just love music and community is my thing," she said. "I'm lost without human contact. I also love Italy and my heart is breaking."
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