Until yesterday I was not aware that the ukulele instrument was such an integral component of Buffalo’s music scene. This realization unfolded in a couple of ways. First off, I was clued in to the presence of the Buffalo Ukulele Club, which hosts a series of Community Ukulele Jams. Coming up on Saturday, January 25, Jam#4 will be held at Ashker’s Juice Bar on Elmwood Avenue. These musical get-togethers are fascinating, because they draw large groups of players together to play a few songs… all at once!
It was while researching the Buffalo Ukulele Club that a friend of mine sent me a text with a photo of her son playing the ukulele – how bizarre is that? The photo was taken at an audition for America’s Got Talent. I asked her if her son, Teddy Hibbard, had played at the most recent Buffalo Ukulele Club Jam#3, and it turns out that he did. “What the heck is going on with ukuleles and Buffalo?” I thought to myself. Following is a short interview with Teddy:
How did you get interested in the ukulele?
I got interested in the ukulele when they did a short lesson during music class. I loved the instrument and began teaching myself more songs that I would look up on the internet.
When did you learn about the Buffalo Ukulele Club?
I learned about the Buffalo Ukulele Club when I went to the Ukulele jam they held at Ashker’s. I saw the sign for the event at Ashker’s and had to come out and play with them. They were super nice and very supportive regardless of the level of talent.
What was the event like?
The Ashker’s Ukulele Jam was fantastic! It was great to see so many ukulele enthusiasts in one place and the music was really good. The Ukulele Jam really put everyone in the Christmas spirit!
So you’re hooked on the ukulele?
I play the ukulele all the time and started writing my own songs two years ago when I was 11. I’m 13 now and an 8th grader at Nichols Middle School.
What do you like most about the instrument?
My favorite thing about the ukulele is that it’s a happy sound and you can bring it anywhere because it’s not too big an instrument. It really makes people smile when they hear it.
Tell us about your audition for America’s Got Talent?
I made it to the finals of Buffalo’s Got Talent last year and had a blast! I’ve always wanted to try out for America’s Got Talent and my music teacher Mrs. Morrow encouraged me to audition. My Mom took me to the Detroit auditions yesterday and It was a really fun day with a lot of talented people. I hope I make it to the next round, and can jam again with the Buffalo Ukulele Club.
“If you know how to play the ukulele, come play the ukulele with us. This Ukulele Jam is for all skill levels including no skill level at all. Come to sing, come to play, or just come to have fun. Hope to see you at Ashker’s on Elmwood, this Saturday, January 25, from 11am to 12:30pm.” – John Radice & the Buffalo Ukulele Club
Ashker’s | 1002 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14222