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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Come On Get Happy


The exercise class for seniors was still going on in the gym when we arrived at Buncombe St. United Methodist Church.  As soon as they finished, we began our set up for another YesterUkes program.  We dashed around, unpacking mics, stretching cables across the floor and tucking them under chairs and tuning ukuleles.  By the time we had everything connected and did a quick sound check, it was time to begin the fun.  For thirty minutes we took the senior adults on a musical memory trip, singing old favorites and telling them about our adventures with the lowly little ukulele.  About 50 folks sang along and laughed together, remembering days when these hit songs were played on the radio.  

We enjoyed lunch with the group before it was time to go.  Visiting with people after the program is a always a pleasure.  The favorite comment of this trip was, "That went by so fast, I didn't have time to clap!"  We pride ourselves on presenting a lively, fast paced program, but we love applause, so maybe we'll slow the pace -- but not too much.  

 In conversations with some of our faithful readers we found that not everyone realized that last week's blog post included a video.  If you missed it, scroll down and look again.  The third "photo" in the middle of the article is from YouTube.  Click on the small arrow in the lower left corner of the picture and you should we able to look and listen to the YesterUkes.  You can also find more videos on YouTube.com   Just put "yesterukes" in the search box there.

Also, we would love to hear from you.  At the end of each post, you'll see the word "comments" with a tiny pencil beside it.  Just click on the word "comments" to post your thoughts.  

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Let Me Call You Sweetheart


On Tuesday, the first men to arrive at the church fired up the grill and put the steaks on. As others arrived, the hall filled with laughter and chatter. The Methodist Men's Club had invited their sweethearts for a Valentine dinner and music. After the meal, the YesterUkes entertained with some favorite love songs. As always, we included the audience in the singing so that everyone could serenade the one they loved. When the evening was over, people left hand in hand, talking about which songs they liked best.

Later in the week, on the day before Valentine's Day, the YesterUkes brought their special brand of music to two assisted living homes. On Friday morning as we were hooking up the last mic cables at Magnolia Manor, people began rolling into the dining room. We had been here before, but this time the audience was much larger. We were told that residents who rarely came to any program were here today to see what the YesterUkes do. It took some time for everyone to be wheeled into place.

Some of the early arrivals had nodded off before the program started. Some were not able to communicate much, even when they were awake. But as the music started, it was like watching magic. Heads raised, eyes opened and fingers waved along in time with the music. Many sang along, some could only mouth the words, but almost everyone participated in some way. A gentleman on the front row used one hand to "conduct" as we played and sang. He even strummed a little "air" ukulele along with us. We later learned that he had been a choir director when he was younger.



That afternoon we moved to Morningside, where red hearts hung from the chandeliers. Florists were busy making Valentine deliveries to residents. As we were setting up, people came in with canes and walkers and settled in for our sing along. This is a generation that enjoys making music -- not downloading it. About 40 minutes later, when we had finished singing, some headed back to their rooms for a nap. Others lingered, visiting with their neighbors. As we packed up, we could overhear some of the comments: "I knew those songs." "They don't write ones like that anymore." "I remember when we used to stand around the piano and sing some of those." Music and memories -- that's what we do.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tea For Two...And 65 More


There has been some discussion that we could change the name of our blog from "Sing Along" to "Eat Along" with the Yesterukes.  Sharing a meal and fellowship with the many wonderful people we meet is always a pleasure.  Now that we seem to be averaging four covered dish dinners a month (well, maybe not quite that many), there is no doubt that the best cooks are in the South.

Today's performance was for a community gathering of senior adults.  There were 67 people present, representing 10 churches.  We had such fun singing and reminiscing.  After singing along with us for about 30 minutes, the audience gave us a standing ovation.  We are always well received but we do not always move folks to their feet at the end!  It's certainly fun to know everyone had a good time.  

Visiting with the audience after the program is a favorite part of the day for the YesterUkes.  Today, a lady commented that we must be very well known in the area because it was the largest attendance they've had in a very long time.  A gentleman said he knew every song we sang but one---and that was because he married his wife just before that one was recorded and he didn't need love songs any longer!  

Someone asked how we found our band members.  The answer is they usually find us.  One of our newest members saw us play at in Greenville in December and called to ask if he could join us.  Another member read about us in the newspaper and called about joining.  She had played with a ukulele group in Ohio before moving here.  And we are delighted that these folks are now part of the YesterUkes.