Slightly Off Key Stringalongs is the brainchild of Carol Moser, who first heard a ukulele band at a National Assistance League conference in 2009. She taught herself how to play “Ain’t No Bugs On Me” and then rewrote the song to become “There Ain’t No Gals Like Us,” which is now the theme song.
Although our group primarily sings and plays ukuleles, six members play banjos and others play percussion, including a gut bucket made by one of our members. We play our kazoos for some songs, to add to the fun. Our hospitality coordinator(s) ensure that we have song books available for the residents; welcome our guests; distribute song books, flags, and birthday leis; and encourage guests to join in the fun by singing along, clapping their hands, and tapping their feet.
We play a wide selection of songs from the early 1900s to present including seasonal songs throughout the year. Some examples include “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1908), “Carolina in the Morning” (1922), The Beatles “When I’m 64” (1967), John Denver’s “Country Roads” (1971), “San Francisco Bay Blues” (1976), a big favorite of ours, “Elvira” (1981), and our own rendition of Patriotic Melody honoring the five branches of the US Military.
This philanthropic outreach program touches the hearts of so many individuals, but, in truth, it makes our members think of the song “Ain’t We Got Fun”!
The Magic of Music
After a SOKS performance, a man with tears in his eyes stopped a few of the ukulele players to tell them he had not seen his Dad so animated in years. He thanked us and said, “You are amazing.”
After another performances a resident approached a member saying that she had been blessed twice that day. The first blessing was when she led her prayer group and her second blessing was when she listened to SOKS play!
Our members often end our performances with tears in our eyes when audience members stand and wave their flags for our final song, “God Bless America.”
Slightly Off-Key Stringalongs
The Slightly Off-Key Stringalongs, our singalong ukulele troupe that usually performs for hundreds of seniors in care facilities each year, have been unable to entertain seniors due to facility restrictions during the pandemic. Searching for something they could do that would brighten the lives of seniors, members decided to make holiday gift bags for residents of one facility who were not expected to receive gifts. Slightly Off-Key Stringalongs used their performing budget for the year and many members contributed additional items, then five volunteers gathered in a cold garage to wrap and box and bag everything. Each care bag includes a soft warm fleece blanket, a pair of slipper socks, personal care products, snacks, a snuggly Assistance League teddy bear and a beautiful handmade card. To keep warm while having fun packing the gifts, the group enjoyed a propane fire pit where they roasted marshmallows to make S’mores after the job was done!
“My mother hasn’t sung in four years, and hasn’t spoken in three months, but she sang the songs today!”
One very grateful daughter
Everyone knows the words to Jingle Bells