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Musicians find Sunshine in ukulele jam sessions
ukulele pic3
Members of the Sunshine Strummers play their ukuleles at the CareMore Event Center on Thursday. - photo by NANCY ANGEL / The Journal


Twenty-five local seniors picked up their ukuleles and strummed their hearts out to a series of songs at the CareMore Event Center in Turlock on Thursday.  The Sunshine Strummers, a group of musicians made up of all ages, gather together for two hours every Thursday morning for a ukulele jam session.

“Playing in these impromptu jam sessions is not only fun and exciting, but it’s also free. This session can be therapeutic for anyone who joins,” said leader of the Sunshine Strummers, Kathy Murray.

Kathy and her husband Dan Murray, like many other senior students, suffer from arthritis but find that playing the ukulele helps with their symptoms.

“The benefits are substantial.  It increases endorphins, mobility, social awareness, and participation,” said Kathy Murray.  “Our mission is to create an environment where there is happiness and learning combined with lasting friendships through music.”

The Sunshine Strummers have come a long way since it was first formed back in January.  The Murrays were able to increase membership in the group with the help of the Stanislaus Senior Foundation, which granted the group $500 to purchase instruments and tools for new members.

“We initially started the group with four members and practiced from someone else’s home.  Throughout the months, people’s interest in the group increased, and as a result, we found ourselves practicing in bigger venues.  We are extremely grateful that the CareMore Event Center has opened their facilities to us every week,” said Kathy Murray.

Sunshine student Lisa Swedberg has been strumming with the group for a month and said she feels like family when she gathers with the group every week.

“There’s a wholesome feeling when you step foot at the CareMore Event Center.  The group is very welcoming and they make each member feel like they are a part of a family.  I enjoy coming here every week,” said Swedberg.

If you want to catch The Sunshine Strummers at their next jam, they will be performing at the Carnegie Arts Center at 10:30 a.m. today.