Congratulations to Dee Ukes who have been nominated in the The Music Cure – Music and Health Award category. VOTE NOW!
We asked them the following questions.
Tell us more about your group
There are 30 members in Dee Ukes. We are all retired people from various backgrounds and our ages range from 60 to 90+. We meet every week to sing and develop our ukulele skills, but the most important thing for all of us is to have fun, which we certainly do! The benefits to us as a group are plentiful. Singing and learning a musical instrument, according to research, both have benefits to mental health and well-being. Great friendships have developed within our group and we each feel a tremendous sense of achievement.
Within a few months of Dee Ukes starting, we were invited to entertain others, initially other University of the Third Age (U3A) groups. As word spread, invitations came in from other community groups in and around Dundee. Outwith the U3A we now entertain in Angus and Fife as well as Dundee. It is such a privilege to be invited to day care centres, care homes, sheltered housing, gala days, social events, church groups and other community events.
We always set out to have fun and the feedback we get is so positive. It is especially rewarding to entertain people with dementia, as music can and does have a dramatic effect by unlocking memories and reaching parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot. We have witnessed this on many occasions.
We like to be very proactive with all of the groups of people we entertain and encourage audience participation, whether it is singing, whistling, clapping, tapping feet, dancing or playing percussion instruments.
The more we give, the more we get back!
How long have you been together?
Having retired from teaching I joined the Dundee Branch of the University of the Third Age where I attended a folksinging class. This group was performing at a Community Event which is where I first heard a ukulele group playing. I was instantly drawn to their music and their ukuleles. I found out more about them and within two days I was in their club! After around 18 months I decided to start my own Dundee U3A ukulele class in September 2014 and Dee Ukes was born.
As word spread the class numbers quickly grew to 30 and I started a waiting list which became so long that, a year later, I persuaded three of my class members to start their own ukulele group. So Dundee U3A now has no less than 4 ukulele groups, which must be some sort of record!
What have you got planned for the next year?
Dee Ukes are busy all year round with bookings throughout the summer months, for Christmas and bookings as far ahead as April 2018. All of our Events, past and future, are listed on our website under the Events tab.
We are particularly excited to have been invited to entertain at this year’s Festival of Politics which will take place in the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh. We will be in the Festival Café on Saturday 21st October.
We are also planning a charity concert for Maggie’s Dundee. This will be held in the Space Theatre, Dundee on Saturday 28th October from 2-4pm. Tickets are already selling well.
What has been the highlight of your journey thus far?
Dee Ukes have had so many amazing experiences which we could never have foreseen when we first got together.
The highlight of 2016 was being invited to be part of the media launch for Luminate. This is a festival which involves events taking place throughout Scotland during the month of October. ( www.luminatescotland.org ) Luminate celebrates our creative lives as we age. Dee Ukes had previously organised concerts at Perth Concert Hall and The Space Theatre in 2015 as part of Luminate. We were delighted to be invited to go to HMS Frigate Unicorn in Dundee to help launch the Luminate Festival for 2016. This led to a brief appearance on the Scottish Television News!
How does it feel to be nominated in this category?
I was surprised, elated, excited and extremely proud of my group when I first heard about the nomination.
Since we started our journey, we have shared so many wonderful experiences and hope to continue giving back to the community for many more years to come. Age is no barrier!