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My View: All are invited to join ukulele group at library

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Discover your inspiration, near and far, in the moments and the people, now


Descubre su inspiración, cerca y lejos, en los momentos y las personas, ahora.

(Discover your inspiration, near and far, in the moments and the people, now)

Whether you call Woodburn your temporary residence or your permanent home — maybe it's your past or your future, possibly your commute or your community — I hope you are as inspired as I am by Woodburn. The beginning of the year is the right time to get inspired, shake things up and see things differently. I, myself, am seeing things differently these days.

Invited by the sign in front of the Woodburn Public Library, I started attending the ukulele group. Late in the summer, I bought a toy ukulele at Goodwill, bought strings in Keizer, and I brushed up on the most basic chords. Ukuleles have four strings; I have four fingers. How hard can it be?

I was happy to find all generations in attendance: folks from Hawaii and Mexico, singers, strummers, toe-tappers … and the music can't be stopped.

Ukulele groups have started in many communities, Salem included. Our school children enjoy music in school, so why shouldn't we have music in our community?

Cuando toca la guitarra, las migajas de nuestras vidas no nos preocupan. Baila el aire, tumba mi corazón.

(When you play guitar, everyday worries drift away. The air dances as my heart beats.)

In my travels, music has been an excellent instrument upon which my life has played many a happy tune. I played my first ukulele in college, hoping to serenade or jam along with friends. Again, I played ukulele after college till my energetic strumming took out two strings in one strum! In preparation for my trip to Guatemala, I started playing four-string guitar with a Spanish Mass. I simply removed two strings from a regular guitar and played happily for a whole year. Adding those strings later wasn't too bad. Music can grow on you, but getting started is the key.

Like a ukulele, music needs more than one string. We need the library's activity room for the space. They have been so generous and welcoming at the Woodburn Public Library that we now have two get-togethers every month: the first Thursday and the third Thursday!

You need a little bit of leadership. Folks from Ukulele Friends of Oregon (UFO) have gotten Woodburn's music up and running. Several talented musicians visit and energize our rhythm. Youtube.com and "Daily Ukulele," a published collection of 365 songs, help build our repertoire. The last two things we need are a bit more abstract. To really make it with any kind of music, you need some self-forgiveness, a laid-back willingness to go with the flow. Finally, I think it's particularly important to have an openness that gives Hawaiian music, Spanish music and, soon, Russian and Somali music a chance. Music can transcend language, but language can infuse music with meaning and identity. Another type of openness, guitars and other instruments are welcome as well at this get-together.

Para aprender la guitarra y el ukulele, gratis, visítanos en la biblioteca pública cada primer jueves o tercer jueves cada mes. Arriba, en el salón de actividades a las 5-6pm. Instrumentos disponibles de prestar por la biblioteca. Canciones de muchos lenguajes. ¡Hasta la música!

(As above, come learn guitar and ukulele free. Visit us at the public library every first and third Thursday each month on the second floor from 5-6 p.m. The library loans instruments. Songs in many languages. See you for some music!)

David LaDuca lives in Woodburn. He works at Chemeketa Community College and volunteers at the Woodburn School District. He attends a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Tigard, where he helps lead the string band and writes the summer and winter pageants. He is the proud father of two Woodburn Independent delivery boys.