Originally from Hawaii, the ukulele has made quite a splash at the Chilliwack Public Library. Beginning last fall as part of the Fraser Valley Regional Library’s (FVRL) Uke ‘n Play collection, the Chilliwack Library’s Uke Club is still going strong.
“We get all sorts of people visit,” says Rod Swanson, who leads the Uke Club. “From kids to seniors. We even had a mom come in with her five-year-old.”
The Uke Club, which runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month until June, provides free, hands-on training of one of the easiest, most accessible musical instruments available: the ukulele.
Shaped like a mini-guitar, the Polynesian instrument only has four strings, which makes a big difference in the learning curve. And with chords similar to those played on a guitar, playing the ukulele is a transferable skill.
The Uke Club, which is the combined effort of the FVRL and the Chilliwack Academy of Music, operates on a drop-in, first come, first served basis. But Swanson says that’s all a person needs.
“Drop ins off the street can start playing and singing the easy songs just like that,” says Swanson.
“It’s just such fun music,” says Pam Goodvin, from the Chilliwack Academy of Music. Learning music later in life can be a challenge, adds Goodvin, but the ukulele is incredibly accessible. “It’s fun, easy. There are no barriers.”
However, the best part about the Uke Club is you don’t even need to own a ukulele. As part of the Uke ‘n Play collection, FVRL cardholders are able to check out the instruments, free of charge, for either two- or three weeks, just like library books. Each uke comes with a soft case, digital tuner, and a beginner ukulele book: everything one needs to become an aficionado in no time.
For more information on the Uke Club, or any other program offered by the Chilliwack Library, please visit www.fvrl.ca.