Mellow Friends, a group of karaoke enthusiasts, visited 11 senior centers and assisted living facilities starting in 2011. Melvin Watarai, the founder of this volunteer ensemble, had the karaoke equipment and a format for the singers to perform solo songs, duets and group sing-alongs with the seniors. Three years ago, Gary Shimabukuro took the helm, adding more equipment and four more locations, increasing their total number of monthly visits to 15.
One of the locations that Mellow Friends visits is Manoa Cottage Kaimuki. Executive Director and Administrator Calvin Hara says, “The music of Mellow Friends provides comfort and local style to our residents. The songs of yesteryear reach into the residents’ memories as they reminisce and enjoy social stimulation with others.”
Mellow Friends volunteers are multi-talented seniors who dance hula and sing a variety of songs in different languages. Seniors look forward to their monthly visits to sing along loud and proud.
For the last four years at the annual Generations Senior Karaoke Contest at the Mayor’s Craft & Country Fair, Simon Sanidad and Al Sakihara have provided Gary valuable assistance.
Gary Shimabukuro | firstname.lastname@example.org