Lake Tahoe ukulele group grows to 400 in just four years (video)
Inside the American Legion, over 70 ukulele players are strumming and belting out “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Every Wednesday the South Shore Ukulelians group meets up for two hours of jamming — and in just four years, the group has grown from 12 members to a mailing list of almost 400 from around the region.
“If you look around this room, almost everyone in here never thought they would play an instrument in their lifetime,” said Diane Fannan, whose husband Bob and friends Karen and Jeff Miner started the group back in 2013.
Bob participated in a ukulele meet up in San Diego and knew he had to recreate it back in Lake Tahoe.
“They have these things everywhere. Whether you’re in a small town or a big city, you’ll find people drinking beer and having a good time playing the ukulele,” said Bob. He and Diane have played in ukulele meet ups in San Francisco, Paris, England and Hawaii.
“In a group this big you can dare to be a beginner and just play, whereas if you’re in a small group or playing by yourself you hear those mistakes and you might give up. Here, nobody cares. Just play it out,” added Karen.
The free event kicks off with lessons from experienced players starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by group play from 6 – 8 p.m.
“I can teach you three chords in a few minutes, and you’d be able to play along,” said Jeff.
In the packed room at the American Legion, the group plays another Creedence song, “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” before moving into a Duke Ellington tune, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” then — oddly enough — an Adam Sandler original from “The Wedding Singer” movie, “Grow Old With You.”
“If you’re a beginner and just want to play C, that’s cool,” says Bob from the stage where he plays with three other advanced players and guides the group.
The group, smiling all around, launches into a lively rendition of “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys.