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  • Seniors showcasing their ukulele skills with try-it-out workshop

    Seniors showcasing their ukulele skills with try-it-out workshop pic 1

    Ukulele instructors Anna Carnell and Louise Dormar of the Calgary Association of Life Long Learners supported Chestermere Seniors Week by teaching a group of 26 participants how to play ukuleles on June 7. The try-it-out ukulele workshop was one of the most popular events the annual Seniors Week held, and will be coming back again next year, said Chestermere Whitecappers Vice President, and Seniors Week Co-Chair Michael Ball. Photo by Emily Rogers

    Chestermere’s annual Seniors Week gave our seniors another opportunity to spend the morning of June 6th together learning how to play the ukulele.

    “It went really well. There were a lot of people there who weren’t Whitecappers,” said Whitecappers Vice President and Seniors Week Co-Chair Michael Ball.

    Many people associate Seniors Week with planned for Whitecappers members only, however, the week-long activities are for all seniors, Ball said.

    He added, “There were people there whom I have never seen before and who have informed me that they are going to do it again next year. It was a very popular event.”

    For ukulele workshop participant and Organizer Jen Peddlesden, it was important to bring the try-it-out workshop to Seniors because it’s something unique and challenging.

    Peddlesden first began learning how to play the ukulele in January of last year, after she attended a similar workshop at the Tongue on the Post Folk Festival in Medicine Hat.

    “In an hour 20 of we ukulele newbies were playing and singing,” Peddlesden said.

    Much like what Peddlesden experienced in Medicine Hat, playing the ukulele with a group in Chestermere was a fun, and challenging experience.

    Although learning how to play a new instrument can seem like an uphill battle, the instructors gave the group of 26 seniors only four chords to play, which made the process easier.

    “Those first few minutes were pretty hard, getting fingers to go where they don’t want to seem to go,” she said.

    As the morning progressed, people were having more and more success, and Peddlesden noticed more and more smiles on people’s faces.

    The ukulele workshop concluded with everyone splitting into two groups and learning part of Pachelbel’s Canon.

    “It sounded just beautiful when we all played it together,” Peddlesden said.

    Moving forward, Peddlesden hopes that with the enthusiasm the group of seniors expressed during the ukulele workshop, they can start a small jam group in Chestermere.

    We believe the ukulele workshop was so successful because it was a unique event that engaged seniors in something new.

    “It was something different, something that people haven’t done before,” Ball said.

    After the workshop, Ball heard how much participants enjoyed the novility and had people asking where they can purchase a ukulele to play at home.

    Without the support from ukulele instructors Anna Carnell and Louise Dormar of the Calgary Association of Life Long Learners, Ukulele Interest Group, the Chestermere Historical Foundation, and Sarah Thompson School for loaning the instruments, the ukulele workshop wouldn’t have been possible.

    “Thank you to the Whitecappers for the use of the room, and to Chestermere Seniors Week for welcoming this new type of workshop,” Peddlesden said.

    For additional information regarding the jam sessions, please email Jen Peddlesden at jpeddles@telus.net.