On Saturday at noon, Tony Bennett will be attempting to get all of San Francisco to pop out of their windows and onto their balconies to sing along to the city anthem he made famous, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco."
The gesture of city togetherness — and of thanks to frontline healthcare workers — was the brainchild of the city's Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, as KQED tells us, and Bennett tweeted about it on Thursday. "Let's spread the love and strength throughout the city," Bennett writes.
I am proud to invite the citizens of San Francisco to raise their voices in song. This Saturday, April 25 at 12pm PDT, join as we sing I Left My Heart in San Francisco from our homes. Let's spread the love and strength throughout the bay! #SingOutSF pic.twitter.com/7sYkPfskR2— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) April 23, 2020
Mayor London Breed has been pushing the event as well, saying in a statement, "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, 93, last came to San Francisco in 2016 to celebrate his 90th birthday — and the city honored him with a statue outside the Fairmont Hotel, where he legendarily first performed "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" in 1961 in the hotel's Venetian Room.
Bennett is not from here and the song was not actually written for him originally, though he made it his signature. It was written for written for musical theater and opera star Claramae Turner (1920-2013), who got her start here in San Francisco and who was known to perform the song as an encore in her live shows — but she never actually recorded it.
"San Francisco has been in my heart for over 50 years," Bennett says in a statement. "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."
And San Francisco could use something to come together with, since calls for 7 or 8 p.m. cheers for healthcare workers haven't seemed to have taken hold except in small pockets of certain neighborhoods (from what I hear and see on Twitter).
But "the world" is invited to this singalong, and everyone is encouraged to post their singing to social media with the hashtag #SingOutSF.