Barry Jennings has been playing electric guitar for more than 50 years.
After playing for big name bands across the country, he’s decided on a change of tune.
“I hadn’t played for a little while and I wanted to get back into it but I didn’t know what I should do,” Barry said.
“My good friend Kathy Russell and my wife Jennifer suggested I should do some volunteering, so I thought I’d give it a bash.”
For the past year Barry has been visiting nursing homes around the Shoalhaven to play for the residents. Barry plays tunes from the 50s and 60s which he says brings the crowd to life.
“They love it, they’re singing, clapping their hands,” he said.
“When I wrap up they never want me to stop, they really enjoy it.”
While Barry has played lead guitar for bands like The Imperials, The Golden Turns and Driftwood, he doesn’t know how to read music.
“Not one note,” he said.
“But I can play just about anything, and very well at that.”
While Barry doesn’t really sing anymore, he’ll belt out the occasional song for his nursing home audience.
“They all sing along with me and I get a real buzz out of it,” he said.
“A lot of them don’t get a lot of visitors and this really puts a huge smile on their faces.”
Barry always wears a black cap with his name printed on the front of it whenever he performs, which he says helps the residents remember him.
“It helps them remember me each time I visit,” he said.
“I’ve been out on the street and some of the folks with a day pass came over and say hello, there are also a few of them that remember from the 70s.”
Barry performs at several nursing homes right across the region and said it had brought him a lot of joy over the past year. He encouraged other musicians from the Shoalhaven to do the same.
‘I’ve heard people say that music is the best medicine,” he said.
“The fun these people have when I come to visit is like nothing you’ve seen.
“What’s one or two hours in your week to go and play for people, it makes a real difference for them.”