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THE SACRAMENTO UKULELE SCENE
Island Vibes and Ukuleles for a Good Cause in Sacramento
It may not have sandy beaches, azure-coloured waters or plenty of palm trees like its sister cities Malibu and Long Beach, but Sacramento still has an island-life vibe thanks to the ukulele.
California’s state capital is embracing the little instrument’s current wave of popularity with plenty of uke clubs, lessons and shops. Its CCC Ukulele Fellowship meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Chinese Community Church in South Sacramento. Unlike other ukulele clubs in America, CCC Ukulele Fellowship not only teaches its members how to play the uke, it also allows the group to explore songs beyond current hits and classics: They also delve into a variety of Hawaiian, folk and Christian music. All skill levels and ages are welcome and meetings are free. All you have to do is bring your uke and a smile!
If you really want to get into the Hawaiian spirit, the CCC Ukulele Fellowship also teaches Hula dance. The instructor, Kanoelani, is the Artistic Director for Polynesian Dance at Sacramento City College and CSU-Sacramento and Kumu (master teacher) for the Dancers of the Pacific and the Hula Gals. Her 20 years of experience as a Polynesian Dance Instructor will ensure you get the best hula education possible. She teaches members how to tell a story with their heart, hands and body twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:00pm at the Chinese Community Church. The group performs with a live ukulele band (the CCC Ukulele Fellowship) and provides entertainment to the community on a regular basis.
Looking for a more intimate lesson on the basics of the ukulele? Sacramento’s Bill Trainor Music is where you should be. Trainor, a lifelong musician, has been teaching music since 2004 and offers various lesson times to all ages throughout the week. He calls the ukulele “probably his first instrument” and has been seen singing and playing the uke at Beatnik Studio’s Winter Crafts Fair. Those interested in taking lessons with him (He teaches beginners, advanced beginners, intermediate and advanced players) can find more information on his website.
If you’re interested in venturing out of downtown Sacramento, Roseville - a 25-minute drive away - is home to the River City Ukulele Orchestra. The community-based group is made up of like-minded individuals from Roseville, California and its surrounding areas who enjoy delving into the finer points of ukulele playing. Implemented in 2011, the River City Ukulele Orchestra’s goal is to raise funds for their non-profit program, Ukes for Schools, which brings the joy of music to elementary and middle school-aged children at no cost.
To fund the program, the orchestra performs at fairs, festivals and senior residence events several times throughout the year. Proceeds go directly to supplying ukuleles to the schools, supporting teachers through training and workshops, and creating opportunities for performances and rehearsals. And thanks to the fundraising efforts of River City Ukulele Orchestra, they have already provided hundreds of ukuleles throughout the area – including schools in Sacramento. Those interested in helping out can join the orchestra every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Saturday of the month at 10am at The Strum Shop in Roseville.
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