For years, we have serviced Bend and all regional areas of Oregon State with our quality instruments and accessories.
Bend Oregon is a beautiful place, and the Pacific Northwest nature meets Old Western vibe creates the perfect setting to sit on a front porch strumming with the crickets. Or around a campfire just under a number of incredible snow capped mountains? Yes please. And odds are, you won’t be the only one playing. The Bend Ukulele Group has about 200 members and is only growing every year. It only started about 8 years ago! No surprise that the ukulele is so popular in this little town of outdoorsy, cheery Oregonians considering the ukulele is the perfect instrument to bring along on a kayaking session or a hike. Bend also happens to have the most microbreweries per capita than anywhere else in the state, and we think craft beer and a hand crafted Uke go hand in hand pretty damn nicely. Maybe you can get hosted at the beautiful landmark, The Tower Theatre, gladly remodeled to be reinstated as a entertainment venue just like it was in the 50’s. If not, they have a beautifully eclectic programme, something to your taste will surely be showing.
The main attraction for any ukulele player or fan (is there such thing as a ukulele fan who isn’t also a player?) is the annual Uke U, short for Ukulele University. He festival is hosted and directed by Bob Rasmussen and Karen O’Donnell who were charmed by the little instrument at a Christmas party in California. And if that’s not a warm beginning, we just don’t know what is. Uke U is a jam packed weekend of concerts, strum-alongs, open mics, and 50 workshops presented by some of the best ukulele musicians you’ve ever heard of. To get a feel for this oversized ukulele family reunion, catch their video recap of last year here. Some Oregon locals playing this year will be the ever popular Refreshments, pictured (below, left, wherever). How cute are they? “With their renditions of 50’s and 60’s pop classics, plus a wonderful blend of vocal harmonies, humor and fun, these ladies guarantee a lively finger snapping, toe-tapping, foot-stomping time” praises the Uke U website.
Another Bend local playing is Carl Ventis. He is probably one of the most passionate players on the lineup from Bend. He is the ukulele instructor at the Parks & Rec, teaches all over Bend, and volunteers his skills for the local veterans, believing in the uplifting power of the sunny little instrument. We love a musician with heart. Here’s his website.
If you can’t make it to Uke U, the Bend Ukulele Group meets Every Tuesday, jams at Kelly D's Sports Bar & Grill from 6:30 pm to about 9:00 pm. The founders of the festival also founded this group with Anne Howard. They apparently started in a living room and the infectious spirit of the ukulele attracted folk until they outgrew a brewery, then bottle shop, now landing them at Kelley D’s. Join this welcoming group of people to learn, play, and hangout. There has been as many as 60 people show up as of late! We also have heard Hawaiian shirts are the unofficial dress code.
If you find yourself strumming along while picking some wild blackberries on a hike in Bend, send us a photo! We love to see you enjoying the instrument we love the most!
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