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Lynchburg: A Taste Of The Tropics In Virginia
Virginia is a four-season state. Early spring is rainy, summer can be hot and humid, fall is crisp and cool, and winter – though more mild than most US states – is still long, cold and dry.
After a few months of chilly temperatures and cloudy skies, most Virginians are searching for the nearest Caribbean country to escape to. Fortunately, a taste of the tropics is just a short trip to Lynchburg.
Ukulele and warm weather enthusiasts are welcome to experience a little slice of Hawaii at Lunchurg’s ukulele strumming circle. The group, called Hill City Ukulele Circle, focuses on sharing love for the diminutive instrument with everyone: Each session allows every member in the circle the chance to select and share a favourite song. Lynchburg Parks and Recreation host the club, and they welcome levels on all ability – even those just starting out in the uke community.
Interested? Hill City Ukulele Circle says “aloha” to members on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Community Room 102 @ Miller Center from 7:00pm until 8:30pm.
Those looking for more opportunities for a kanikapila can head an hour southwest to Smith Mountain Lake, where ukulele and steel drum bands are plentiful.
If there’s one instrument that can compliment the tropical chunk-a-chunk sounds of the ukulele, it’s the steel drum, and both instruments have plenty of enthusiasts in the Smith Lake area. Richard Rudolph, director of Raonoke’s Quest Music Academy, who created the lake’s steel drum bands, has formed ukulele and marimba groups here in addition to a third steel strum band.
In 2015, classes were held throughout the summer in the former Westlake Lighting building at Westlake Towne Center. The 10-week series of classes cost just $75 per person, or $100 for couples and families. In the same year, Rudolph’s Roanoke-based ukulele and marimba bands performed at the Steel Drum Band event in Wirtz, a town in the Smith Lake area. All proceeds went to the SML Good Neighbors, a non-profit that develops “good neighbors” skills and values in children.
Now, every Father’s Day, SML Good Neighbors hosts an annual Father’s Day Steel Drum Concert where guest ukulele players and clubs can always be seen performing.
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