Marigold Ukulele Players taking music to homes

Published on January 22, 2014

TRURO - Not having a musical background didn't stop Bonnie Waddell and Janet Crosbie from picking up a ukulele.

Both women are members of the Marigold Ukulele Players, which meets each week at the Marigold Cultural Centre.

"I retired in 2008 and I was looking for something challenging, which led me to the ukulele," said Waddell, an Upper Onslow resident who started playing the instrument about six years ago. "I didn't want to learn to play the guitar, but the ukulele seemed like the right thing. It was very demanding."

For Crosbie, the idea came just a few years ago after she and her husband moved to Truro.

"Truro is a very musical community. I have no music in my background but I thought playing the ukulele would be fun and easy. I was wrong about it being easy, but I love it," she said, laughing.

The women are just two of the players' members, that often reaches 18. It fluctuates between 15 and 18, depending on the time of year.

Angela Dwyer-James is the instructor of the group, having started teaching ukulele to children before the group.

"About six years ago when I was teaching children, I had a group of adults approach me to see if I would be interested in teaching them," said the Truro resident. "I originally resisted teaching adults because I wasn't comfortable with it, but it's morphed into something more now - we're a very strong group."

For Waddell, the ukulele provides a variety of entertainment.

"It's really fun to practice on your own, but when you get together with others, it's a whole different experience," she said. "You are constantly having to interact and listen to everyone else in the group."

As it's only her third year, Crosbie said the group is very welcoming to newcomers.

"I love being in the group. It's so much fun and it's very relaxing," said Crosbie.

Over the years, the group has performed a few concerts here and there, but many of the players are about to embark on a new project.

"In February, we're starting a Ukulele Home Share project," Dwyer-James explained. "The players are breaking off into trios or quartets. Many of the residents in the community are confined to their homes, or don't get out to do much. So we're taking a concert to them, into their homes."

The idea is a positive one that both Waddell and Crosbie can't wait for.

"I think it's a great idea," said Crosbie. "I much prefer it to a concert. I think it's a neat idea."

"There are lots of older people that were very, very active musicians in their time that aren't as able to now," added Waddell. "It brings them back into that world."

On May 24, a ukulele group from Brookdale Elementary School in Cape Breton will be on hand for an afternoon workshop and evening performance.

The first Tuesday of each month also sees the Truro Ukulele Groovers host a jam session at the Split Crow on Prince Street, beginning at 7 p.m. Anyone is welcome to join in on the jam session.

"We're the best-kept secret in Truro," Dwyer-James said.

Starting Jan. 27, Dwyer-James will be hosting a six-week beginner session at the Marigold. The Monday sessions will begin at noon.

Anyone wishing to join one of the ukulele groups, or for more information on them, can contact the Marigold Cultural Centre at 897-4004, or join the Marigold Ukulele Players page on Facebook.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa


Angela Dwyer-James leads a group of 14 members of the Marigold Ukulele Players through a number of songs during one of their weekly sessions.

©Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News