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Little Town with a Big Heart for the Ukulele
The humble ukulele has soared in popularity in recent years, becoming the go-to instrument for both beginner and professional musicians around the world. And it’s not hard to see why: Ukuleles are an unbelievable bargain for such a serious musical instrument. You can buy your own uke for as little as $100, and once you have it, it doesn’t take long to become great at it. All you need to play nearly every song in rock ’n’ roll is just three chords: C, F and G7. Some take just two.
The ukulele proves that musical imagination isn’t a thing of the past. Young people, old people, women, men and children are all making videos and performing and new and interesting ways that prove we’ve still got it. The current ukulele boom is taking over America for good reason, and Colorado Springs is a reflection of the small instrument’s growing popularity.
The city’s 4 Strings Attached Ukulele Group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the Manitou Art Center to share songs, techniques and inspiration. The group is open to all ages and skill levels.
If you’re thinking of going pro, the Rocky Mountain Ukulele Orchestra in Denver is just a one-hour drive away. The group – the largest of their kind in the area – is currently on a mission to gather ukulele players who want to take their playing to the next level and holds open invitation rehearsals at 6pm every Monday at the Green Mountain United Methodist. Not confident in your skills yet? The orchestra will teach any ukulele enthusiast – regardless of their skill – what they need to know. Members will learn how to survive a large orchestra, how to play with smaller groups and even how to become a legendary soloist. The group promises to nurture beginner uke players, composers, advanced performers and teachers. They also arrange a diverse rehearsed music repertoire for both solo and ensemble performance, so everyone is welcome.
Those with UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome, or, the insatiable need to own “just one more” ukulele) will be disappointed to know that the town of Colorado Springs does not hold an annual ukulele festival, however, Denver does.
Whether you’re new to the uke or an advanced player, Denver’s annual Ukulele Festival – which celebrates new and seasoned players around May of each year – has something for everyone. The three-day festival brings in crowds of over 1,00 each year and showcases all things ukulele: Workshops, master classes with performing artists, concerts featuring top ukulele players and community events. “The happiest music festival in Denver,” as it’s sometimes better known, presents many first time Denver Ukefest performers as well as established artists like Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, Christopher Davis-Shannon, and Waikiki’s high-energy uke supernova Taimane. This is one event that any ukulele player would be crazy to miss.
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