Local ukulele group strings music lovers along

Published: Sep. 28, 2017 at 9:20 PM CDT
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They come from all walks of life... rocket scientists, teachers, artists, even a falconer to name a few. But they share a passion: music, the universal language.

The Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews loves what they do.

“It’s just fun," said band member Bob Albers. "We just get together and have a good time. It’s pure joy when we play. Even when we practice it’s mostly joy.”

“You cannot frown and play ukulele," said Jan Bennicoff. "You cannot be unhappy and play ukulele. It just makes you smile.”

And on this particular day, you saw as many smiles as you did ukuleles.

“You suspend everything in the world that you might worry about, or whatever, and whatever else is on your mind, you just get into the music," said Albers.

Albers did not play an instrument before joining the group in 2014. And he encourages others to give it a shot, no strings attached.

“You fake till you make it. And even when you make it, you fake it sometimes,” said Albers laughing.

“It’s not a hard instrument to play," said Bennicoff. "The thing about it is you can do basic things, just strumming, or you can make it more challenging and start picking things.”

The group has about 80 to 100 members. Anywhere from 12 to 40 show up at any given time.

“[It] gives people an opportunity to come out and be together," said band member Jennifer Jones. "A lot of people in our group are retired. A lot of [them are] professionals who are still working and they make time to come out and participate.”

The non-profit group either charges a fee for their performance, or they ask for donations. The proceeds going toward music education in our schools.

“It’s just a way to give back that’s a lot of fun, and I think the people that participate get something from it,” said Jones.

They played for retired teachers on this particular day giving


a lesson on Plato who said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

The group has a festival coming up October 13th through the 15th at Saint Andrews Marina. For more information, we have a link attached to this story.