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Ukulele For Everyone In Berkshire County
Nearly 140 years after it first hit Hawaiian shores, the humble little ukulele is finally getting the attention it deserves on the mainland.
Music stores that once only sold a couple of ukuleles now sell hundreds. Famous musicians are incorporating the mighty uke into their best-selling albums. Tuxedoed ukulele orchestras are selling out concert halls, and virtuosos are garnering millions of views on YouTube.
If you’re a seasoned ukulele player, you’ll already understand the appeal: The baby of the string family is portable, easy to learn, and fun to play. Master just three chords and you can play dozens of songs. But the best thing about the ukulele? Anyone can play it. That’s why hundreds of ukulele clubs are popping up all over the United States.
In Berkshire County, Massachusetts, the tiny instrument is making a big impact, helping residents to find their voices, hone in on their musical talents, and make friends in a like-minded community.
The Berkshire Ukulele Band is a weekly program offered at the Community Center free of charge for anyone wanting to participate. Residents from the entirety of Berkshire County – from Pittsfield to North Adams to Great Barrington – are welcome to join. The only requirement for new members is to have an interest in playing the ukulele – everything else, from how to read chord charts to instrument technique and chord progressions, will be taught by the club.
Rob Sanzone, the program’s instructor, has been a teacher of music since 2000. He is currently the Instrumental Music Instructor at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield and teaches private and group music lessons at Berkshire Music School, his home studio Mass Music Lab, as well as at Berkshire South. So your ukulele-learning is without a doubt in good hands.
And if you’re interested in performing, the band is often called upon to perform at local events. During 2014 alone, the Berkshire Ukulele Band performed at Apple Squeeze, Summerfest, the CHP/WIC Blueberry Festival, the BUW event at Magic Fluke in Sheffield and at South Egremont Schoolhouse, among others.
The band meets Tuesdays from 6:30 until 8:00pm at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Beginners are encouraged to join, and reading music is not required. Music and chord charts will be provided and if you need a loaner ukulele, a limited number of instruments are available for participants to use. Drop-ins are welcome.
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