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Huntsville: Spearheading Alabama’s Ukulele Movement
Huntsville, Alabama – sometimes better known as “rocket city” – is known for the early development of the manned space program that was headed by Dr. Wernher Von Braun, and is one of the few places in the USA that has an air and space museum. It may not sound exactly like a tropical ukulele paradise, but beneath its ____ exterior is one of America’s finest ukulele scenes.
The city’s Tennessee Valley Ukulele Club exists to foster and promote ukulele love and the spirit of Aloha. The group meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month to participate in group strum at Calhoun College from 6:00 to 8:00pm. If you’d prefer to indulge in the ukulele during the day, the club’s daytime group meets at Huntsville Senior Center on the 1st and 3rd Wendesday of every month too. All skill levels and ages are welcome.
The club is even setting up Huntsville’s first ever ukulele festival – talk about spearheading a movement!
The Rocket City Ukulele Festival, with its first annual event to be held on Saturday, May 5 2018 on the grounds of the National Speleological Society (NSS) in Huntsville, will be organized and conducted by the Tennessee Valley Ukulele Club. Like the group, the festival’s goal is to promote interest in and enjoyment of the ukulele in and around the Tennessee Valley area. The event will feature various beginner and advanced sessions and classes, and those not participating can gather in small groups to share music in expertise. Open-mic sessions and performances will be held on the festival’s main stage, with opportunities for club performances and group participation strum-along too. Visitors can expect plenty more ukulele and Hawaiian-related activities throughout the day. The free event will start at 8:00am and is set to last until 8:00pm. The NSS is located at 6001 Pulaski Pike in Huntsville, and if all goes well, residents of the area (and travellers) can expect a second festival next year. The news will most likely be posted on Ukulele Gatherings of North Alabama’s Facebook page, where any and all ukulele gatherings in the area are discussed.
However, if you really want to be a part of something different, head five hours south to Mobile. For years, certain cruise lines – particularly those going to Hawaii – have included beginner ukulele classes as part of their featured activities. With the rising popularity of the little instrument, there have been more and more ukulele classes on board, and some enterprising travel agents – like Montecito Village Travel’s Chris Merkel, who created the ukulele cruise that Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel participated in, are creating special packages to attract, educate and entertain those hooked on the uke.
These uke-themed cruises are now taking off all over the States, and Alabama is taking part. Lead by Kentucky’s ukulele groups the Lexingtones and Lexington KY, the 5 night ukulele cruise with Carnival will leave on November 26th 2018 and return December 1st. For $400, uke enthusiasts will have a room to play in and the chance to perform. Like all cruises, food and entertainment onboard is included. The group plans to jam one to two hours a day and reserve the rest of their time for Carnival fun. Who could say no to that? It sure looks (and sounds) like Alabama is doing the ukulele right.
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