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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment August 1, 2014


7/16/2013 12:57:00 PM
Ukulele players launch in Sisters
Peggy Tehan, left, leads ukulele players in song. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
+ click to enlarge
Peggy Tehan, left, leads ukulele players in song. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee


Central Oregon has been hit with a ukulele boom.

Peggy Tehan has been teaching a ukulele class at Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) for a year.

"It's really made a comeback," said Tehan. "I played the guitar for 40 years and then picked up my first ukulele in Hawaii over six years ago. The ukulele is user-friendly without much work, and the size is convenient to travel with."

When Tehan's six-week spring SPRD ukulele class ended, some of the students wanted to continue to play.

So Tehan set up a jam session every other Sunday.

"It was amazing how many people wanted to play at the jam session after my class was over," Tehan said.

A few of the students participate with the Bend Ukulele Group on Tuesdays, but live here in Sisters. So it's convenient for them to play here on Sundays.

"Jim Prichard, like many of my students, talked about a need for a Sisters ukulele group," says Tehan.

Prichard, a Sisters resident, had been going to the Bend group on Tuesdays for quite a while. Now when Prichard goes to the Bend Ukulele Group he announces that the Sisters ukulele jam is every other Sunday.

"It's really fun to play and sing together, especially when we can mix harmonies. Playing the ukulele is fairly simple, so great progress can be made in a short amount of time," Prichard said.

"We've been meeting at Bronco Billy's on the outside covered deck. It's a great place to play during the summer," Tehan said.

This past Sunday the outside deck at Bronco Billy's came alive as 16 adult students jammed with their ukuleles.

"I played the ukulele in high school, it was always great fun. The jam session is such a kick and we are playing all the songs that my friends and I used to play in school," said uke-player Bonnie Malone.

For the other regular folk sitting on the deck, they got to hear laughter, singing and merrymaking.

"Everyone is having fun. It's a delightful atmosphere to be around," said Gregg Simonson, while he enjoyed a cool drink on the deck. "The group even played a request for me."

The group strummed and sang classics from the '60s like "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, then played old theme songs like "Rawhide" or the theme from "The Addams Family."

"I played the ukulele only once before," said Sisters resident Susan Mitchell. "I was just a drop-in to this jam session. I came out for the first time because my friend Rick Judy told me about the group. He had taken Peggy's class and had an extra ukulele that I could use. I didn't feel self-conscious at all in the group as we played. It's great fun and easy to follow along."

Last week, Anne Heath, executive director for SPRD, received an email from Mark Jackson from Newcastle, Australia. Jackson and Jane Jelbart are ukulele instructors who do worldwide "Ukestration" workshops. The instructors thought they were adding a new Newcastle person to their mailing list, but they had inadvertently left out the .au on the email address. One conversation led to another and it turned out that the wrong email address that landed in Heath's email became a happy accident, since Heath manages the SPRD ukulele program.

"We heard that Central Oregon had a very active local ukulele group in our explorations and networking for touring from Vancouver to San Francisco. Bend came up on our radar and now Sisters was added to our list!" said Jackson in his press release.

Jackson and Jelbart will be teaching an Ukestration workshop on Tuesday, July 30 at SPRD from 6 to 8 p.m. To register visit www.SistersRecreation.com.

They will also be holding a concert with possible student participation at Bronco Billy's in Sisters on Thursday, August 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.





Sisters Country Weddings




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