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Aloha Spirit Alive And Well In Meridian
Think of the ukulele and you’ll probably conjure up thoughts of tropical shores, tide winds, mai tais, and women wearing leis. The diminutive instrument is best paired with the shores of Hawaii, sat with a backdrop of towering palm trees and turquoise waves lapping at the sand. But mainland America is proving you don’t need to venture across the Pacific Ocean to hear the soothing sounds of the ukulele. Instead, you can hear them right here in Meridian, Idaho.
This Boise suburb has been the fastest-growing city in Idaho for over 20 years, and it seems to have the fastest-growing ukulele community in the area as well.
Meridian’s Boise Ukulele Group (BUG) invites uke enthusiasts to come and join the local ukulele community. The group meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month, but they encourage members to have at least some degree of skill before joining as instruction is not part of the regular jams. Instead, BUG just makes music.
Jams on the second Monday of every month are held at Elkhom Assisted Living center, while sessions on the fourth Monday are in the main lodge chapel. BUG sends out reminder emails two to three days before each jam to let members know which space they will be using. Meetings begin at 6:17pm, a time chosen because, as the group states on its website: “We want to actually start by 6:30 while there are still some MLV residents listening. If we say ‘starting at 6:30’, then many people drag in around 7-ish and that often disrupts the flow of the jam.” At 8:00pm, the group goes into an open mic session for the meeting’s last half hour.
If a month happens to have a fifth Friday or Monday, BUG makes it a habit not to meet if they can help it. As a group, BUG says they need a break once in a while – even from something as fun as the ukulele.
On days where they do meet, the group plays from their own “Nifty Fifty” songbook, a core group of roughly 50 songs that gets updated once a year in early January. Song sheets can be downloaded from the group’s “Music” page on their website.
If you don’t happen to have any skill on the ukulele yet, BUG still welcomes you to play, sing, or listen at whatever level you can. All meetings, events and jams are free. All BUG asks is that you bring your enthusiasm for the ukulele and an aloha spirit with you.
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