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Hamilton students bring ukulele joy to retirement homes

A group of Grade 5 students stopped by a retirement home in Hamilton bearing special gifts: their colourful ukuleles.

McMaster health sciences students launch initiative to partner students with seniors

Hamilton students bring ukulele joy to retirement homes

8 years ago
Duration 1:06
A group of Grade 5 students stopped by a retirement home in Hamilton bearing special gifts: their colourful ukuleles.

A group of pint-sized visitors showed up at Hamilton's Abington Court Retirement Residence Tuesday bearing a special gift.

The visitors, 25 Grade 5 students from the nearby W.H. Ballard Elementary School, brought their colourful ukuleles to perform for the senior residents.

The Grade 5 students took a break from performing and recreated the iconic Abbey Road album cover. (Sunnie Huang/CBC)

The ensemble is part of an initiative spearheaded by a group of McMaster University students to connect schools with retirement homes in the same neighbourhood.

Originally started as a class assignment to improve the community, the initiative is aimed at bridging the intergenerational gap, said organizer Chelsea Mackinnon, a recent graduate of McMaster's health sciences program.

"Because of the aging population, this is something we have to face," she said.

In addition to the grand finale, the project also includes interactive workshops and games that teach students how to show respect to seniors and communicate with them.

Song requests

On Tuesday, the students started their set with The Banana Boat Song and Rock Around The Clock, and finished off with Can't Help Falling In Love.

The classics popularized long before the students were born were requested by the seniors.

"Research shows that in order for the older individuals to be engaged, it needs to be familiar songs to them," Mackinnon said. 

Although she has completed school, Mackinnon said her team plans to continue the initiative and expand it to other schools.

So far, the team has started two partnerships, with the other one being Cootes Paradise Elementary School and Shalom Village nursing home. 

Take a look at the students' performance in the media player above. 

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