Solana Beach singalong draws a crowd

By Claire Harlin

Staff Writer

The weekly Solana Beach community singalong started by local psychiatrist Ed Siegel in 1987 brought together one of the largest crowds last week since its inception — and strong turnout comes only a week before the sing-along celebrates its 25th anniversary.

In addition to the usual 20-30 singers, the event garnered the participation of about 35 medical students visiting from Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

“Even being from all over the world, they knew most of the songs. We sang everything from Beatles songs to ‘New York, New York’ to ‘Country Roads,” said Siegel, who has lived in Solana Beach since 1977. He had lectured the students at the University of California, San Diego earlier that day, and during the course of talk, he invited them to his sing-along.

“They all showed up,” he said. “They just had a ball. The music brings us all together.”

Over the years, the singalong has served as common ground for music lovers of all ages. Siegel said a couple singers loyally attended until they reached the age of 100, and several people have brought their babies to instill the value of music.

Since March, the group has been meeting on Tuesdays at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church at 120 Stevens Ave., but it has traditionally met on Thursdays at the Fletcher Cove Community Center, which is in the last phases of a major renovation.

“It’s going to be beautiful; it just needs a floor,” he said.

Although Siegel said the church offers a 9-foot concert grand piano — the biggest he has ever played on — he said he can’t wait for the completion of the community center.

“We can’t wait to have our home back,” he said.