Answering a call from the district's music coordinator, Pickerington Schools students took to their porches last week to share the sounds of music.
At roughly 5:30 p.m. April 8, 17-year-old Adrienne Ward stepped onto the front stoop outside her house on Harness Court with her clarinet in hand.
She was followed by her sister, Alaina, 14, who held her saxophone at the ready.
Moments later, with sheet music in front of them and their pet dog, Clyde, inquisitively peering out the glass-paned front door behind them, the sisters struck into an instrumental version of Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," which the girls knew from the 1995 movie, "Toy Story."
"We wanted to do a Disney song just because it's fun," Adrienne said, "but really, it was just something that we could find music for both of our instruments."
Adrienne said she thought the first "porch concert," informally organized by Pickerington Schools music coordinator Marc Parulekar, was fun and a good experience for her and Alaina to work together.
"I thought it was kind of fun to learn a new song and play something for fun," Alaina said.
It was a rare performance together for the sisters, who are in their senior and freshman years at Pickerington High School North.
The same was true for Cody Young, 17; his brother, Caden, 15; and their 13-year-old sister, Kylie, who performed a portion of "Amazing Grace" together on their trombones outside their Sandover Place residence.
"It was really fun," Cody said. "Me and (Caden) play together because we're in the same band. (Kylie), not so much.
"We practiced this morning."
The call for communitywide porch concerts to take place at 5:30 p.m. April 8 went out on social media and the district's website, with Parulekar encouraging the district's students and staff -- as well as others in the community -- to "get your instruments (or) voices out and share music with your neighbors from your porch/driveway."
He said it wasn't an assignment for students. It was a creative way to challenge students to learn new music and to keep them playing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered people to stay at home.
Judging by the roughly 100 "likes" and retweets the post received on Twitter, as well as the numerous performance videos posted later that night, the response was significant.
"Music is a great way to connect with each other," Parulekar said.
"Even with social distancing, with these porch concerts we can play for each other and, in some instances, with each other."
Parulekar said he is hopeful similar events can be held in the next few weeks and that Pickerington residents might pick up from the April 8 event and stage their own concerts for the benefit of neighbors and themselves.
"Maybe we can build some organic momentum and we'll get as many people participating as possible," Parulekar said. "I think people are looking for something different to break the monotony.
"Hopefully, this will bring a little joy to the community."