The Boyne River Ukulele Group is strumming and singing - online - thanks to Emergency Community Support Funds (ECFS) managed by the Carman Area Foundation (CAF).

A $500 grant enabled the group to produce its first video, featuring the song Angeline the Baker.

“The reason we had the grant accepted is because we said we would make it available for seniors and shut-ins,” explains Barry Gosnell, a long-time resident of Carman, CAF member and ukulele aficionado. “We used to go and play at the lodge here in Carman for seniors and shut-ins. We haven't able to do that for quite a long time, even before COVID, so this was an opportunity for us to make some music.”

Lana Rinn, one of the original members of the group, says this band of enthusiastic ukulele players began jamming five or six years ago, after hearing a performance by a local folk festival performer.

“We saw a fellow by the name of James Hill, a very renowned ukulele player, a Canadian. We went to a workshop of his and we decided, yeah, let's try this. I knew three chords – and I was the expert. So the three or four of us got together, and we just started playing! We've evolved since then.”

In its early days, the group met in the Golden Prairie Arts Council building, otherwise known as the old train station, in Carman.

“We would just go around in a circle, each person would choose a song and we'd play and sing,” explains Rinn. “We have collected quite a number of songs! To say that we are expert at them would be an exaggeration, but we love what we do. It really doesn't matter, “ Rinn adds. “It's just to get together with what has become a very close group of friends.”

Gosnell describes the video as a valuable keepsake.

“We've got something from the group that will be with us forever; something that we did and recorded. If you look at the [CAF] Facebook site, the number of views and comments is fantastic. A lot of people have seen it and the fact that we've got [the songs] to seniors and shut-ins is pretty rewarding.”

Due to time constraints, the group has recorded only two videos. Courtesy of the Carman Area Foundation's Facebook page, you can enjoy the videos below.