The Magic of Music
SOKS performed at Woodbury Wellness Center in Hampstead. After our performance, a man with tears in his eyes stopped a few of the ukulele players to tell them he had never seen his Dad so animated in years. He thanked us and said, “You are amazing.”
Then another resident began to play really great honky-tonk music on the piano (he was partially deaf)! What an amazing day and a wonderful feeling to know we are making a difference to the residents we serve.
Slightly Off Key Stringalongs, which practices every week, is the brainchild of Carol Moser. Carol first heard a ukulele band at an 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” the band’s theme song.
“Everybody went crazy when Carol performed the song at our Assistance League meeting, and we decided it would be a great thing to do,” said President Sheila Osann. Twelve original members of the group took lessons from Kent Knorr, owner of the N.C. Ukulele Academy on Racine Drive. After arranging the first set of songs the group started entertaining seniors in our community.
Eighteen chapter members took ukulele lessons in 2010 and formed SOKS…Slightly Off Key Stringalongs. Since that time, our number of players, musical selections and proficiency has grown.
We sing, strum ukuleles backed up by rhythm instruments (supplemented with some banjos) and entertain each month at assisted living and long-term care facilities in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties from September thru May. During these performances, our audience is encouraged to join in the fun by singing along, clapping their hands and tapping their feet. It is difficult to determine who is having a better time, the SOKS members or the residents who are in the audience.
Weekly practices are essential during the months we entertain and in the summer we meet for a ‘Chum and Strum’…a time to get together as a group to share a meal and play our ukuleles.
This philanthropic outreach program touches the hearts of so many individuals housed in nursing facilities but in truth, it makes the SOKS members think of the song “Ain’t We Got Fun”!!
“My mother hasn’t sung in four years, and hasn’t spoken in three months, but she sang the songs today!”
one grateful daughter
Everyone knows the words to Jingle Bells