Banjos, basses and ukeleles, oh my! [video]

Banjos, basses and ukeleles, oh my! [video]

In the video above, Duane Preble talks about how music brought a band of Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani residents together.

Take a ukulele strummer, add a banjo picker, throw in a washtub bass player to keep the beat, and what do you get? It’s a one-of-a-kind band, in a retirement location like no other.

"We just sort of found that we had this shared enthusiasm for music.” – Duane Preble, Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani resident and washtub bassist

Surrounded by Oahu’s island beauty, a group of residents at Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani gather once a week to make music together.

Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani guests listen to the resident band.

“(It’s) part of what happens in a community like this, where you start to discover other people's interests and backgrounds.”

The number of musicians varies from week to week, so the band sounds different all the time. 

That works just fine, since each member brings their own unique style and background.

Duane learned to play music as a child and continued to play throughout a 30-year career as an arts professor at the University of Hawaii. When he retired to Pohai Nani, he found others who still wanted to jam.

Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani resident Yona Chock strums her ukulele.

Creating community

American folk music is the group’s specialty, but the band can play just about anything. It’s the music, Duane says, that brings the group together. “The arts are very good at creating community, because it's something people share and enjoy and really is a kind of focal point for people to come together.“

Band members aren’t the only ones who benefit from the music. Because they play outside, their rhythms catch a warm breeze and float across the campus. It doesn’t take long for others to stop by and listen. Playing for their friends and neighbors helps motivate the band and creates an opportunity for more residents to spend time together.

Good Samaritan Society – Pohai Nani resident Danny Lopes plays along on his ukulele.

More than music

The weekly band concerts aren’t the only way residents connect. Pohai Nani’s tropical surroundings provide an opportunity for all kinds of outdoor activities, from hula dancing and wellness classes to art and gardening clubs.

“It's just a great place in terms of its physical beauty,” Duane says. “But it's also a great place in terms of the interaction of the residents, because it's just an amazing, rich variety of people here.”

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