By Erica Schroeder
Every Thursday night for the past 22 years, song and laughter has rung out from the Fletcher Cove Community Center.
On a recent night a group gathered with songbooks in hand singing along to Ed Siegel's piano playing. In between songs the group joked and shared stories.
Some members attend weekly while others just come for special events, including holiday-themed and July Fourth sing-alongs.
"A lot of people have been coming for close to twenty years," Peggy Martin said.
More than 20 people attended this special anniversary night, Aug. 27, where they sang a few Irish songs in remembrance of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died two days before. The program continued with no particular order, mixing in show tunes, popular songs and Disney themes.
Siegel, a Solana Beach resident, started the weekly sing-along 22 years ago to make Solana Beach feel more like home to him. Hailing from Pensacola, Fla., he brought a love of song and the idea for a community sing-along to the City Council in 1987.
"It really hasn't done what I thought it would do," Siegel said.
"I thought the whole community would start coming - of all ages." The sing-alongs generally draw a mature crowd and a few young children - but not many in between.
"Music is totally nondenominational, intergenerational and interracial," Siegel said.
He hopes this weekly sing-along group will bring the community closer together. These weekly gatherings are now the longest ongoing event in Solana Beach.