Seniors enjoy virtual Zoom Ukulele group

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Carmelita Tiongson

Members of Da’ Hawaii Seniors Club of Cerritos (DHSC) have not been able to meet in person since March of 2020, but they still keep socially in touch virtually through Zoom meetings. Approximately 20 to 30 members join the weekly meetings of their Zoom Ukulele Group to play their ukuleles and sing a variety of songs. The songs are led by different members of the group and, occasionally, a few members will demonstrate hand motions for songs with hula music. It is the love of music that keeps this group together and builds fellowship and closer friendships with members of the group

The Friday Zoom Ukulele Group virtual meetings started as the Covid-19 virus curtailed all in- person meetings in March of 2020. It began with the club’s Co-President, Carmelita Tiongson, assuming the role of Host for the virtual meetings. Carmelita joined DHSC in 2018, became Co-President in 2019 with Donald Izumihara and in 2020. She is currently in her second term as Co-President with Donald in 2021. Carmelita is still actively working as a licensed realtor with Keller Williams Realty, and is also a licensed Life Insurance and Annuity Agent with Freedom Equity Group. Since she also helps to look after grandchildren who are at home studying because of the pandemic, she asked for help in planning for and hosting the virtual meetings.

Two people offered to help with hosting and providing audio-visual help, Carol Roxas and Donald Izumihara’s son, Kyle Izumihara. Carol joined DHSC in 2014 and served as Co-Refreshment Chair. She then became Co-2nd VP for Membership, and then Co-President with Liberty Santiago in 2018-19. Carol worked for MARS, Inc., the candy maker, and retired over 10 years ago. While at MARS, Inc., she worked with computers and managed software support and development. She volunteered to use her computer skills to help Carmelita enhance the video presentations that are shown at the club’s virtual Zoom meetings.

Donald Izumihara was born in Hawaii and joined the Second All Hawaii Battalion of United States Army in 1956 after the Korean War. Luckily, he said that he did not see combat in Korea. After his service in the Army ended, he moved to Los Angelesj. He worked as an accountant in L.A. doing payroll, and later IBM Machine Accounting, Data Processing, and Computerized Printing. He also worked at the L.A. Times using the Main Frame and the Telecom System. He bought his home in Cerritos with his late wife in 1969 and raised two girls, who are “lifers” in the U.S. Army, and his son, Kyle. Don joined DHSC 12 years ago, in 2008 or 2009, and joined different committees before becoming President for two years. He later became Co-President for two years with Carmelita Tiongson. He attends the club’s Friday Ukulele Group meetings on Zoom and listens to the music.

Kyle Izumihara cannot officially join DHSC because he is too young. However, he helped the club whenever help was need, especially when his father was president. Kyle said that he enjoys helping people and is interested in working with computers, apps and programs. He also likes doing things with his hands, such as arts and crafts and Japanese origami. Kyle volunteers as Co-Host for the club’s Zoom Ukulele Group every Friday. He contacts members by e-mail for their song selections and arranges the order of songs that will be sung each week.

Carmelita, Carol, and Kyle are a wonderful team that works well together preparing for each weekly virtual Zoom Ukulele Friday meeting. Carmelita has been creative in planning for different themes for songs each week. She surprises and challenges members with new games and even presents awards for special contests that she devises. Carol adds Power Point Presentations or even shows photos of members as leaders sing the songs or sing “Happy Birthday’ to members each month.

Carmelita believes there is Magic in Music that promotes well- being in people as they find joy in singing, playing the ukulele, or just listening to music. She has a dream of starting a project called “Music Expressed,” which she hopes to introduce in Senior Care Facilities someday. If anyone is interested in helping Carmelita realize her dream, contact Carmelita at 562-305-7995.

Seniors enjoy virtual Zoom Ukulele group