Well looking back at last Christmas when you opened your presents and perhaps received a Noah ukulele, who would have imagined we would be in the position we are in now? All major ukulele festivals have been cancelled. Gigs are not going ahead. Full and part time musicians and teachers are facing the prospect of months of no work.
For many of you, the ukulele club that you attend every week has likely been put on hold until further notice. Whilst we will all feel the bite of this, some of us who are social media savvy won’t feel it quite as much as those who are now facing at least 12 weeks in social isolation from what might be their one regular weekly social event and the outside world as a whole.
Such a prospect can bring with it the real potential for mental health issues. For some it means no break whatsoever from their full time, 24/7 carer role they have. Let’s not underestimate the importance of playing music with others. For some it is the loss of a total lifeline.
There will be a terrible dilemma for people at risk between following the advice to self isolate and the fact that for many, isolation carries a huge amount of risk in itself. Now we have all received the guidance from our respective governments. Those most at risk should know by now how to protect themselves best. If you know someone who is vulnerable and is not aware, then I would suggest there is a responsibility to help that family member or friend come to understand it.
In light of this, it is probably worth putting some context to the loss of a ukulele group getting together. What it is is a loss of getting together each week to play music. What it isn’t and what it certainly shouldn’t be is a loss of community. If the friendship and community that surrounds the ukulele crumbles because they can no longer play the ukulele, then it is not a group worth belonging to. If a group of people can’t see the value of the people that make up the club outside of these stunning little inanimate objects, then it’s time to find another club or start your own (when all this is over).
My suggestion is that, whilst the group may not itself meet, it does not mean that you can’t support each other. Community doesn’t stop with ukuleles. That means either online or delivering shopping or a telephone call.
Wash your hands. Socially distance yourself. Self isolate where recommended. But do not be an island. Most importantly do not let others become islands. Check up on each other.
I assure you, when this is all over, the joy of meeting as a group will be enhanced 100 fold by the fact that you all were there for each other through the worst. Music can feel even more powerful when played after reflection of the realisation of having lost and found something.
Take care of yourselves.