Last Thursday, the newly formed Ukulele Club sat in a giant circle singing song after song, from Hamilton’s “Dear Theodosia” to Toto’s “Africa,” melding them all together through a simple chord progression: C, G, A minor and F.
Junior Ted Van Alstyne created the Ukulele Club as an easy, stress-free way to enjoy music. Part of his inspiration was “Marshall Mondays,” an activity junior Marshall Elkin began his freshman year where students came together in the Solberg lobby and played ukulele and guitar.
At the time that the ukulele group came together for their second meeting, there were a number of freshmen singing and participating that neither President Van Alstyne or Vice President Jonas Kulzer knew. When asked, most of the freshmen who came either said they joined because of their friends or heard about the club at the activities fair.
This was exactly what Van Alstyne had hoped to accomplish by creating this club. Inspired by his positive experience with Marshall Mondays, he asked himself, “how cool would it be to make a club where freshmen who are shy can get involved in music making that is not so serious?”
While they named it Ukulele Club, they strongly encourage people who have different musical interests to join, even if it’s just a person’s voice. They chose the ukulele as the centripetal instrument because the ukulele is an easy to learn, versatile instrument.
“The nice thing is that once you learn a few chords and you learn the one main strum pattern, you’ve got just about every song already,” Kulzer said.
They believe the club holds many possibilities for growth, whether that’s teaching music lessons at local schools or performing charity concerts. Kulzer said their club’s overall goal is to create a space for people to hang out and jam.
“[It’s a] huge opportunity to just have a place for music on campus and then spread that out into the community,” Kulzer said.
The club runs for an hour Thursday nights, but they hope as the club grows to have different theme nights or workshops during the other weekdays. They will provide snacks and a couple extra instruments for people who don’t have any.
Kulzer’s favorite part of leading the club is “getting people excited about music in a way that’s tangible.”
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