He'd spent much of his life preserving sea shanties and other antique songs, but then he had a stroke and was forced to retire. "I used to know 800 songs," Toelken says. "I had this stroke, and I had none of these songs left in my head. None of them were left."

"This group doesn't use any musical instruments, because I can't play the guitar since the stroke hit me," Toelken says. "And they did that as a sign of respect, I think. But they've all said how much they've learned about the songs since they quit using the guitar because instead of concentrating on steel coil hand moving, they have to concentrate on the words."

But, Toelken says, he soon discovered that, with a little positive reinforcement, he could remember some of the forgotten music after all. "A little bit at a time, I realized I still had the songs in my head," he says. "So now I meet with this group of friends once a week a week, and we sing.