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THE TULSA UKULELE SCENE
Ride The Wave Of Uke Popularity In Tulsa
If you think the ukulele was recently discovered by the same young, hipster crowd that made vinyl records and vintage clothes popular again, take a look at Roy Smeck, George Formby, Cliff Edwards and Eddie Kamae, professional ukulele players who all became known to a worldwide audience before 1950.
The tiny little instrument has been around for about 140 years, and it’s currently riding an incredible wave of popularity – even in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The town’s main ukulele club, the Tulsa Ukulele Club, as it’s aptly named, are a group of enthusiasts who love to play the uke. The club welcomes every level of player, from beginners to professionals, and even encourages players to bring their entire family to meetings, so you may want to bring your mother and brother along.
Into more than just Hawaiian music? The Tulsa Ukulele Club plays a variety of tunes as diverse as their members, strumming everything from old time standards to county, folk, blues and even some Gospel. While the group is first and foremost a uke club, they do welcome other instruments – like harmonicas, guitars, pianos and kazoos – too. Meetings are held at 6:30pm at the South Minster Presbyterian church, west of 35th and Peoria. Visitors should enter through the east entrance of the church on Thursdays of each month. The first Thursday is reserved for performance songs, the second is open mic, while the third and fourth are saved just for plain ‘ol jamming. But the best meetings are reserved for the fifth Thursdays of the month (if there is one), when members are required to wear crazy hats.
The club is operated by Ralph Kelley and Rex Powell, who wish to bring opportunity to those who want to play the ukulele. And while they usually gather to play, they sometimes venture out to perform. Their meetings aren’t instructional, however they welcome and will assist any skill level.
If you’d prefer to take lessons before joining a club, try out Tulsa’s Saied Music Company. The business offers beginning ukulele classes to those looking to dip their toes in the uke. Lessons take place on Saturdays at the store’s south Tulsa location from 10:00am until 11:00am. If you’re in Midtown, lessons run from 11:30am until 12:30pm. Have relatives that are interested the uke? Family deals cost around $50.
Come ride the wave of ukulele popularity in Tulsa.
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