I had the honor of meeting the Uke Crew of Shelburne Middle School. These fun and talented kids have formed a ukulele playing group. The self-taught crew is composed of nine seventh-graders and one eighth-grader. They get together every Wednesday in the band room at Shelburne for about an hour and a half to practice and hang out; however if they have an upcoming performance, they practice three times a week and even sometimes before school.
The crew came about at the beginning of this year. Some of the members got ukuleles for Christmas and decided to bring them to a New Year’s Eve party to see if they could play. Seventh-grader Nellie Garrison shares that they all “were having a really fun time,” so they decided to start a club. They have been playing and bonding since then.
From school board meetings at City Hall to Shenandoah Pizza in downtown Staunton, the Uke Crew has played at a couple different venues for many different types of audiences. Sarah Becker, who is also a seventh-grade crew member, admits that performing at school board meeting “was really scary because it was [their] first time playing,” but she, as well as the rest of the crew, have a great time playing with each other and are excited to play at more places.
Their next performance will be at Shelburne on Friday for the middle school talent show. They never fail to wow the crowd with their ukuleles and voices.
The group’s favorite types of music to play are the more popular and recent songs that are on the radio. They enjoy being able to hear those songs and turn it acoustic, but what the Uke Crew enjoys most is spending time together. Garrison agrees by saying she likes “to play with other people, not just by [her]self because it makes it a lot more fun.” They all have a really strong bond and friendship with each other, which was easy to see by interviewing them and by the way they played together.
The song they chose to play at the rehearsal was such a perfect pick for the group, I thought. It was Bruno Mars’ Count on Me, a song based on friendship. Doing something you love is definitely better when you can do it with people you love to be around. I hope to see this group continue playing and growing together. They will do great things. I had a blast talking to them and hearing them play. Come see what they are all about at the talent show on Friday.