It was only a few weeks ago, I got a few emails from old friends in the Mission Ukulele Circle, asking me what date did I hold the first meeting 10 years ago ?
Really, it has been 10 years since I started the group ! Wow time flys. Ten years ago, I did not use a digital calendar so I did not know the exact date. But someone had noticed on the inside cover of the red songbook, that under the picture it said, the group started in November 2013.
An Anniversary Party !
So it was is ten years later. A week or so later, their email said they would have a 10th Anniversary Party for the group, at the regular meeting on Thursday Nov.16th !
Well I knew I had to go, so blocked the day off on my calendar, and we made the two hour drive to Mission to attend the party.
The group now meets at the Mission Library in their meeting room. They get to use the room at no cost, providing the public is allowed to come and listen. So there are chairs for a small audience, which are used each week by members of the public.
Big Turnout – New Members
About 50 people were in attendance. It was great to see a number of old members and friends, but I was even more surprised to see more than 50% of the faces were new members who I did not know. Clearly the group continues to attract new members, and I would guess it is for the same reasons that I saw when I lead the group. It is just so much fun !
“I’m A Happier Person !“
A new member I did not know spoke to me at break time, and said, “I’m so glad I took up the ukulele and come to the group. I’m a much happier person since I started playing the ukulele.”
The Groups History
At the start of the meeting, I was asked to speak. I mentioned when I started the group there was only about four or five members sitting in a circle singing songs that only had a few chords that most of us could play.
Over the next few years, the word spread and we attracted more members and six years later when I left there was about thirty members attending each week.
Your Playing Gets Better
I was sitting near a member, who when I left was a beginner. Four years later, he now plays his ukulele very well. So weekly attendance and practise will improve your playing to the point where you will get out and play in public. The group plays at a number of public events throughout the year.
Coffee Time = Friendship Time
It surprised me years ago when I realized, that group coffee time was as important as music time. Coffee time was the time people chatted and made friends. I believe those friendships in part, are what keep them coming back to the group and stayed with it.
There is something special about playing and singing songs together that we all know. I know studies have been done on the psychological reasons that singing together is good and healthy, but for me it boils down to just being fun !
Singing a familiar melody together, sparks various feelings and memories. Most of them happy ones, but even the sad memories from songs, help us revisit those feelings and incorporate them into our lives.
Leave With A Smile !
At the end of the meeting, members including me, are going home with a smile on their face, and a song in their heart. That is a great result for going to an ukulele meeting.
I was pleased to have received a card from the group saying,
Our Mission Ukulele Circle brought the gifts of music and friendship to many lives.
It is all thanks to your initiative, leadership and years of hard work.
On our 10th Anniversary, Thank You from all of us.
It’s not often you get a card like that ! It is much appreciated.
Below are pictures of the event.