Just another meeting of the Ukulele Club

Just another meeting of the Ukulele Club

ukeleleclub-webLiz Wissman and Jeremy Muhr play their ukeleles at a meeting of the Ukelele Club of Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken.

Photo by Alan M. Dumoff, more photos ccdphotolibrary.smugmug.com

PENNSAUKEN – At 2:45 in the afternoon every other Thursday, you can find them in Room 103.

A couple of students will be joking and laughing with the teacher, as they all quietly strum. In the corner, you will see three students jamming together on their instruments, in synch, in rhythm with each other and oblivious to what is around them. Off to the side of the classroom, near a window, there will be the lone student, siting in a chair, listening attentively as his iPad plays Derek and the Dominoes’ “Layla,” or The Beatles’ “All My Lovin.'”
Just another meeting of the Ukulele Club at Bishop Eustace Prep School here.

In its second year of existence, the Ukulele Club began when David Moffat, a teacher of freshman world history and macroeconomics at the school, played his favorite instrument at a school function. Impressed students later approached him, asking him to help them start up a club.

“The students are really enthusiastic; they bring ideas to me,” said Moffat, who is now moderator of the Ukulele Club.

The ukulele is “a really interesting instrument,” said Christopher Ober, a sophomore at the school who has been in the club since its inception.

Like the rest of the club members, Ober bought the ukulele on his own, and spends time at home and after school learning to play such songs as “Over the Rainbow,” from The Wizard of Oz.

Jack McCrossin, a junior, found the ukulele easier to learn than his guitar. He has learned to play songs from contemporary artists, such as Jack Johnson.

The expertise of the students has attracted the attention of the rest of the school. The Ukulele Club played “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at last year’s Baseball Day and, more recently, at their Christmas Fair at a local Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

Later this month, they will play The National Anthem before the school’s Ultimate Frisbee game against Camden Catholic.

Slowly, but surely, the ukulele is getting its due amidst the guitars and other “sexier” instruments.

“Some people think the ukulele is childish,” said junior Patrick Vanbernum, as he strums his Les Paul Epiphone, Electric Ukulele, playing Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” “But when someone’s really good at it, it can have a nice, beautiful sound.”

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