Small Instrument, Big Impact
By Brie Burge
I’m currently working on producing our next Sounds of the Re:Union podcast, about the Milwaukee Ukulele Club. Yes, that’s right – a ukulele club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin… not a tropical island in the Pacific.
There’s a group of about 55 people in Milwaukee that are learning how to play the small instrument. The club’s fearless leader, Lil Rev, talks about the ukulele with such adoration that you would think he was speaking about his child. He describes it as an instrument “you cradle in your arms like you would a baby,” its “sweet, gentle quality” and how playing music on it can “lift your spirits and blow your mind at the same time.”
Lil Rev is passionate about the ukulele and his club. The group gets together on a monthly basis and plays everything from Elvis to Credence Clearwater Revival.
But surprisingly, the club serves people in so many different ways than just playing music. Lil Rev discusses how it can transcend the music and provide a meaningful, positive social outlet. It’s filled a tremendous void in a lot of people who needed some sense of community in their lives. Everyone from retirees to college students comes together and they’ve become like a second family. They feel a sense of fulfillment playing for their community, everywhere from local senior centers to children’s groups and a theater’s fish fry.
Look for Sounds of the Re:Union’s story about the Milwaukee Ukulele Club, set to be released in the next few weeks. Happy strumming!