Ukulele + Ladies = Ukuladies
There is a new group in Pugwash and although they don’t pull strings they strum up a storm. The Ukuladies.
When Jan Saunders visited her father, Jim, in the Camp Hill Hospital Veterans Wing, she became aware of the positive effects music therapy had on the residents. She noticed their thought patterns shifted from negative to happy. It relieved their boredom and made their brain more active.
“During my visits, I saw residents, even those with dementia and some almost mute, sing along or move their lips with the music,” Jan said. “I thought if music therapy had this effect on nursing home residents learning music could benefit everyone.”
Jan approached musician Wayne Reid to give lessons. Wayne volunteers in many musical settings, including music worship at the Meeting Place, and felt he may not have time. However, thinking it might be fun he picked up his 1930’s ukulele he had bought at a yard sale, practiced a week, asked his wife Karma, and Ralph Anderson to help, and the Ukuladies were born. The Ukuladies, include, although they are not ladies, Wayne and Ralph.
Every Tuesday afternoon the Ukuladies gather at the Meeting Place for lessons. They were all retirees until recently when a few young women joined.
Danielle van Dalen, one of the younger players, when asked about playing with retirees said, “I don’t notice the age difference. Everyone just plays, sings and enjoys each other’s company.”
Learning to play the ukulele, as Jan thought, has had a positive effect on those learning to play.
“I find it a good activity for retirees,” says Ukulady Dot Pal. “It keeps your mind active and improves dexterity.”
The Ukuladies are a diverse group with varying interests. Yet, there is a sense of community among them.
“I have met people I wouldn’t have if I didn’t take these lessons,” said Mary Jamieson.
“I enjoy playing with a group rather than playing alone. The Ukuladies gives me that opportunity,” Eleanor Conrad says.
When asked, the Ukuladies all agree – it is fun.
“I haven’t laughed so much in ages,” said Dianne Elliott.
The Ukuladies has gained a following and has played at several events and fundraisers. Outdoor venues have caused problems. While playing Four Strong Winds at the Antique Tractor show a gust came up and blew their music away. They just rounded it up and kept on playing.
The Ukuladies would not have happened without the Meeting Place providing space free of charge, Wayne for donating his time and volunteers Karma and Ralph. The Ukuladies appreciate their generosity and say an emphatic, “Thank you.”
The next time the Ukuladies is booked come and give a listen. They’ll be strummin’ and singin’ familiar songs, songs one can sing along with, and having a good time.