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THE ST. LOUIS UKULELE SCENE
Ukulele – St Louis, Missouri
Several iconic sights hit you head on when strolling through the streets of St Louis, Missouri. The ever-imposing Gateway Arch, a unique structure that welcomes you to the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle is a marvel in itself. As soon as you manage to tear your eyes away from it, the sound of cheering crowds emanating from Busch Stadium as the Cardinals chase yet another MLB victory to the delight of their dedicated fans. On the street corners among skyscrapers you’ll be enticed by the Gerber and St. Paul sandwiches and the famous St. Louis-style pizza.
So, is it even possible that you’ll find a single trace of anything ukulele-related here? The answer is simple. Yes.
In true big city style, the Ukulele Fight Club (yes, you read that right) gathers monthly, not in a dingy or dark basement as the name might indicate but at a place called Schnucks Market on Manchester Road. There are two founding members. Stephen Andsagar is a twenty-year veteran on the ukulele and Ashley Ernst picked the instrument up four years ago and hasn’t let go of it since, even in between cooking and her daily routine. Classes of various ranges are offered and the chance to join the ensemble in any performances they may have coming up. These ukulele warriors can be found through their Facebook Page listed below.
The St. Louis Ukulele Meetup is a group that consists of players of different levels and is organized by Dr Rebecca G (according to her Meetup.com handle). Events are posted well in advance and themes for each event is laid out on the site notice board. This gathering does not include lesson classes and is more aimed at the sharing of knowledge between players of various ability. This St Louis group can be found at the link posted below.
The Collingwood Ukulele Players, or CPLUG, is a gathering of players of different levels that met up at the library on the corners of St. Marie and Simcoe streets. The bad news – unfortunately this group has been rendered dormant, for now, but the organizers are hopeful that with enough renewed interest and some good old word of mouth the band can reclaim its former spot and continue doing what they love most - Strumming along to some smooth tunes on their Sopranos, Tenors or Baritones. If you feel up to the challenge of helping CPLUG regain their hunting grounds you can contact the phone number listed below. In the meantime, their resources in the forms of songbooks and other related material is still available on the Vintage Uke Music website.
If you’re a St Louis local or just passing through with your Bondi ukulele on your back, the “Gateway City” as it is fondly known offers ample opportunity to practice, engage with local talent or improve your own picking skills. One thing is for sure, this vibrant city, like many others across the United States, doesn’t stand back for anything in their quest to develop the ukulele scene that we have all come to know and love.
Keep strumming, all!
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