Ukulele group’s Zoom sessions strike chord

A ukulele group forced online by coronavirus has been strumming up smiles and raising money for charity despite the difficulties posed by the virus.

The Ukulele Friends enjoying a Zoom meeting
The Ukulele Friends enjoying a Zoom meeting

Ukulele Friends was formed during the first lockdown after Ukes On The Edge, the Kinver U3A ukulele group, could no longer meet at the senior citizens club in Kinver as they had done every Friday afternoon.

As a result, one of the members, John Henley, came up with the idea of forming a WhatsApp group to enable members to keep in touch. Following on from the success of this group, members suggested that they start online Zoom sessions.

Due to his technical and musical knowledge, John took up the challenge and ‘Ukulele Friends’ Zoom sessions were born, keeping to Fridays and the 2pm time they used to meet before the lockdown.

Thanks to the success of the smaller Zoom meetings, it was decided that people from other ukulele groups such as Worcester, Kidderminster and Wyre Forest could be invited – but it did not stop there as the word spread and people joined in from Wales and as far away as Saffron Walden in Essex. There are usually well over 40 players who go to the fun and friendly sessions.

Members are encouraged to perform live and join in with making collaborative recordings, which are then presented at the meetings.

They also play along with selections from a large collection of popular songs on video, even suggesting their own ‘Top Tens’.

John said: “The group isn’t just about performing together, it’s a fun time with people making new friends and seeing old ones that they might not have seen otherwise when we were forced to stop all our face-to-face meetings and gigs.”

The sessions are free and it was decided that instead of subscriptions Ukulele Friends would support Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of Lesley, John’s wife.

So far, the group has added more than £1,000 to funds raised before the virus, bringing the total amount to more than £5,000.

Contact the group at ukulelefriends@gmail.com

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