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'Senior Strummers' learn the ukulele during COVID-19

Seniors take a tropical vacation at La Costa Glen in Carlsbad.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — A group of seniors who call themselves the "Sometime Strummers" are proving it's never too late in life to make music. In this Zevely Zone, I went to La Costa Glen in Carlsbad where the class was in session. 

I was met by two large tents and a group of seniors playing 'Oh! Susanna' on the ukulele. Life for all of us will eventually end, but the number of songs you can sing with three chords goes on and on.

"G-7 back to C. Here comes the F. 'Oh Susanna, oh don't you cry for me," said Gerry Rahill who was teaching the ukulele to seniors at the La Costa Glen retirement community.

"Whenever you have a passion, I think you want to share it," said Gerry.  

The melodious strum of ukuleles can be heard once again. Back by popular demand, the community has launched two outdoor classes for residents to learn how to play the popular Hawaiian instrument.

Credit: KFMB

Everyone's COVID calendar is a little jumbled, so Mary Ann picked up her mother's old instrument and figured, why not?

"Normally around here on Tuesday morning I do ceramics but that's closed," said Mary Ann.  

Credit: KFMB

The group moves on to the song 'Blue Moon'.  

I peek in on Karl singing, "Blue Moon, now I'm no longer alone." 

The 85-year old told me it's never too late in life to make music. "Oh no and now I'm working on bass guitar," said Karl.  

Musical classes have always been an important part of the culture at La Costa Glen. Over the last few weeks, the La Costa Glen team has been working to launch safe social groups to keep residents engaged and mentally fit.

Credit: KFMB

For another resident named Rona, strumming a ukulele is like taking a tropical vacation far away from pandemic problems.

"I mean you tell me, it's been pretty confining for someone who loves to travel," said Rona.  

RELATED: Singing, sunshine and ice cream for isolated seniors

But there's something about this tiny instrument that feels like taking one last big trip to the shores of Waikiki.

Gerry then played a Hawaiian song and said, "It's all coming back to you right Mary Ann?"  

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"Oh yeah, everybody does the Hula sometime," said Mary Ann as she set down the ukulele in order to get up on the dance floor.  

Classes can have up to 10 people participating. They’re designed for residents to keep appropriate distance while staying socially engaged with protective masks.


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