EVERY TOWN — It stared with a slide up to an E on a ukulele in Abington and ended with a final F sharp in Yarmouth.
In between, Noah Wisch of Stow and his girlfriend, Emmalie Keenan of Bolton, drove a lot of miles, setting up a camera and microphone stand at the town or city line of every municipality in Massachusetts. They stayed just long enough for him to pluck a single note before packing up and moving on.
The result is a fun Youtube video, the music for which is a compilation of the 351 singly-plucked notes, played as clips of Mr. Wisch at each sign — or in some cases a local site — flash by. There's a background track playing, and some drums, too, but the single notes make up the happy melody as Mr. Wisch pops up in Northampton and Northboro, Palmer and Paxton, and so on.
The idea came a few years ago when Mr. Wisch and Miss Keenan talked about visiting towns with funny names. But nothing ever came of that, and when it surfaced again this year, a complex plan of composing a song and playing each note in a different city or town began to take shape.
He admits it sounded almost impossible.
"That's what was appealing to me," Mr. Wisch said, "that it was so outrageous."
And Miss Keenan's response?
"She was super into it," he said, adding that she set up the camera the same distance from the sign each time and patiently waited until there was no traffic to interfere with the recording.
A film production student at Emerson College, Mr. Wisch said a lot of time was spent editing the video clips, and there was a great deal of planning because he didn't visit the communities in alphabetical order the way the video depicts them. That meant he also had to map out ahead of time which notes would need to be played where.
For a trip to the Berkshires he had to know which string to pick in Williamstown, near the end of the video, and Adams, near the start. It was time-consuming, and he said he really didn't get a feel for many communities where all he saw was the standard "Entering (insert a town name here)" with the year the town was established.
Sometimes, there wasn't even an "Entering" sign.
"The signs are put up by the state, and they're only on state roads," he said. "Certain towns don't have any state roads, so there are no signs."
The instrumental song is titled "Sidewalks" because every time the couple found an "Entering" sign near a sidewalk, they rejoiced at not having to brave traffic and breakdown lanes to record safely, he said.
The trip didn't just involve cars, it also involved boats, because some Bay State communities are on islands, or they are islands, like tiny Gosnold, where "everyone drives golf carts because there aren't any roads," Mr. Wisch said.
"One of the coolest parts of it might have been going to Gosnold," he said. "We had to take a little ferry."
Folks in Western Massachusetts might notice some similarities to a 2008 campaign video for former U.S. Rep. John Olver, who used the Johnny Cash song "I've Been Everywhere" to take voters on a tour of his district.
Mr. Wisch's YouTube channel, BananaCactus Ukulele, features instrumental covers of popular songs played on the ukulele, which he likes for its unique sound.
"It's a happy, whimsical sound that appeals to me," he said.
The 21-year-old is studying in Los Angeles, where he has an internship working on a YouTube talk show that has more than a million views daily. He said there are plenty of people making a living by posting popular, quality content online and it's something he'd like to explore after he graduates next year.
He hopes to broaden the content and eventually see a bigger audience on his YouTube channel, and he's learned quite a bit about doing that during his California internship, he said.
Meanwhile, Miss Keenan is finishing up her degree at UMass-Amherst, where she's been studying to become a teacher of German. The pair have been together since freshman year of high school and documented a cross-country trip on a video with an original ukulele score in the background, too.
Mr. Wisch said his channel will feature more of their adventures but so far, the treks through Massachusetts and across the country have been the most memorable.
"Getting to be in the car for that long with someone you care about is fun," he said.