DrumSong : The Beat Goes On

by Maureen Daigle,

Two years and counting this pandemic has definitely impacted my life. Music feeds my soul and as a senior amateur musician I have had to get creative to keep music alive.

Pre pandemic I enjoyed volunteering at Hearth Place, a cancer support center in Oshawa. I created a program called DrumSong that introduced participants to djembe (an East African drum), hand drumming, simple songs, percussion, occasional ukulele and guitar. It was a joy that was both healing and fun!

With Covid the center had to shut down in person programs. Fortunately there is a beautiful park Oshawa Gardens steps away from the center so we relocated our sessions there. Being outside surrounded by such natural beauty and immersing ourselves in music that we co-created was an awesome experience. Playing in the park of course attracted the attention of passers by who were delighted, clapping, smiling, taking pictures, videos and enquiring about who we were. Other musicians joined in and our numbers swelled. We felt safe and happy being outdoors (other than the bees) however winter does come and the cold wins. Back in lockdown!

The pandemic restrictions allowed having up to five people in a private home so I invited a small group of women from the park who were interested in either learning or practicing ukulele. We loved the small group interaction and thought that we sounded pretty good so decided to perform at Simcoe Blues Open Mic just before Christmas 2021 as the “Ukulele Mamas”. Then came Omicron and a new series of lockdown restrictions…groan(#*!#).

My latest evolving chapter in the pandemic vs. music is deciding to go on YouTube as” Ukulele Mama” creating ukulele tutorials where I get to inspire others and most of all KEEP THE MUSIC GOING!

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