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THE COLUMBUS UKULELE SCENE
Youths, Camping and Plenty Of Ukes In Columbus
Along with trendy celebrities like Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift, the city of Columbus is helping to lead the way for a younger generation of ukulele enthusiasts.
While many uke clubs in the United States tend to lean toward a demographic of aging adults, Ohio State University is showing the under 25’s the benefits of uke-ing. The Ukulele Club at Ohio State University is showing off their youthful spirit with everyone’s favourite four-string, fretted instrument. The group meets regularly, using social media to organize get togethers and take part in fairs.
In the spring, the club holds a concert to say goodbye to their graduating senior members. In 2018, the event was held in the US Bank Conference Theater and included a performance from children in the Windermere Ukulele Orchestra.
Interested in joining, or just want to listen? Their Facebook page keeps members and fans of the Uke Club at Ohio State up to speed on what the club is up to and where they will be performing next.
If you happen to be over 25 and not in university, the Buckeye Ukulele Society is an easy-going and fun-loving group of uke enthusiasts from around the Central Ohio area. All skill levels (and ages) are welcome – especially beginners!
The group has jam sessions twice monthly, and while the dates don’t always fall regularly (one week the group may meet on a Monday, and the next a Friday), the time is always consistent: 7:00pm. Like most ukulele clubs, The Buckeye Uke Society usually play from The Daily Ukulele and The Daily Ukulele Leap Year Edition. Both books are available at local music stores and from amazon in paper and electronic forms. Those interested in dropping in on a meeting can visit the club’s Meetup page here.
And while the city of Columbus itself doesn’t seem to play host to any ukulele festivals, Loudonville – just a one and a half hour drive from Columbus – does. The Ohio Ukulele Campout (OUC) is held during the last full weekend of September every year. In 2016, the event attracted over 100 enthusiastic ukers from throughout the upper Midwest and beyond. Having grown significantly over the years, OUC now completely overruns the uppermost camping area at the Mohican Adventures Campground in Loudonville.
Fred Sipe, one of the chief instigators of the camp out, told Ukulele Mag: “We started OUC based on Ukulele World Congress with the methodology and ideology employed by UWC founder Mike Hater (aka Mainland Mike). The idea was the event would be for UWC tribe members in Ohio wanting a similar outdoor ukulele experience to the UWC camp out held each June in Needmore, Indiana. But, of course, we all have friends from out of state and people started showing up—and this year we had people from 12 different states.”
If you’re looking for an all-in-one state that centers on ukulele fun and passion, Ohio is where you should be.
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