AP NEWS

Ukulele group plays gig at senior home

February 24, 2019

Ukulele players performed a lineup of singalongs Friday afternoon for residents at Ludington Woods Assisted Living Center. It was only the second “gig” for the ukulele group that meets monthly at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA), and it was their first time performing at Ludington Woods.

The five group members sang and strummed their ukuleles in time, led by their organizer, Meredith Hanson.

“We’re going to be playing some familiar songs, and we’d like you to sing along,” Hanson told the audience members.

There were about 15 residents in the audience, some of them from the assisted living part of the center, and many from the memory care section, said Jessica Billings, Ludington Woods life enrichment director.

“The majority (of residents) really look forward to having entertainment, and in the wintertime especially,” Billings said. “We appreciate them volunteering their time to come and play for the residents. We’re always looking for someone to come in and spread some joy.”

Billings said that when residents hear familiar songs, it’s both enjoyable and helps improve their memory function.

Some of the songs performed included “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The audience sang along, smiled, slapped their knees, applauded and mouthed the lyrics as they were able. One of the smiling Ludington Woods residents was Ed Beyer.

“Every song they played was a popular song that people would recognize. That was really nice,” he said. “It really makes a difference when it’s a song you recognize.”

Beyer said he used to play accordion and concertina in a band for 38 years, and all the songs the ukulele players performed were favorites of his band too.

“It brings back a lot of good memories,” he added.

After the singalong, Beyer thanked the ukulele players and said he enjoyed the performance.

Hanson said the gig went well, and she hopes the group will play ukulele publicly at many different venues.

“I think that was fun and good for everybody,” Hanson said. “My plan is if these guys are willing, once a month we’ll play somewhere in town. I want everybody to get used to playing in public.”

Hanson said that any organization interested in hosting the ukulele group to perform can contact her through LACA by calling (231) 845-2787.

Billings said that several other entertainers regularly perform at Ludington Woods, but the center is always searching for more. Anyone interested in performing there can call (231) 845-6100 to schedule a time.