The Mid-Michigan Ukulele Group Strum meet in Mason in preparation for Mighty Uke Day

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By Graciella Oteto
Mason Times staff writer

The Mid-Michigan Ukulele Group Strum had its monthly meeting Saturday afternoon at Bestsellers Books and Coffee at 360 S. Jefferson St. in Mason, Mich.

The MMUGS members playing at Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. during their February monthly meeting

The MMUGS members playing at Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. during their February monthly meeting.

Terry Hill, group leader of the MMUGS has been leading the Ukulele group since 2012, with Saturday being the group’s third anniversary. The ukulele, a small 60cm instrument created in 1879, is a four-string guitar of Hawaiian origin.

The uke comes in soprano, concert, tenor and and baritone. The MMUGS use their own songbooks, they provide ukuleles if needed, plus there is no cost to join.“I don’t like sports, I play the ukulele,” said Hill.

The MMUGS, who have been at Bestsellers for a year now, according to Laura Hill, wife of Terry, recently began playing for retirees and seniors at Green Acres of Mason once a month. The MMUGS come together and play two- to- eight- chord songs that are beginner friendly and fun for the experienced. With a new theme each month, during the next meeting on March 22 at 10:30 a.m. The theme will be Elvis Presley and Friends.

The MMUGS have been assisted by Elderly Instruments, a music store and mail order service, that say it has the largest number of ukuleles in the state.

A mother-son duo at the MMUGS meeting

A mother-son duo at the MMUGS meeting.

The MMUGS sometimes get together with other Michigan groups including the Hudsonville group, the Kalamazoo group, the Lansing group, and the Tree Town Ukes of Ann Arbor.

“The Ukulele world in Michigan has really taken off in the last five years. There used to be one or two, but now there are 13 clubs around the state,” said Hilo Greg, a singer, songwriter, ukulele player and leader of the Tree Town Ukes of Ann Arbor.

Several Ukulele groups attend the annual Mighty Uke Day Festival, which takes place on May 9-10. Created in 2011 by musician and educator Ben Hassenger, Mighty Uke Day takes place in different locations in Old Town, Lansing. Funding raised at the festival goes to support music programs in Lansing schools and surrounding areas.

“Last year Mighty Uke Day started a ukulele program for fourth through sixth graders at Sheridan Road School in Lansing, and a seniors group in East Lansing and another Okemos, Mich., said Hassenger.

Hilo Greg a singer, songwriter, ukulele player and leader of the Tree Town Ukes of Ann Arbor playing his uke.

Hilo Greg a singer, songwriter, ukulele player and leader of the Tree Town Ukes of Ann Arbor playing his uke.

For more information on the MMUGS, contact Terry Hill or attend the next meeting located at Bestsellers Books and Coffee on March 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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