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Denver Ukulele Fest draws 1,200

May 20, 2012 at 9:55 PM   |   Comments

DENVER, May 20 (UPI) -- The Fifth Annual Denver Ukulele Festival drew an estimated 1,200 enthusiasts, from seasoned strummers to novice dabblers, organizers said.

The festival, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, featured workshops for all skill levels, as well as concerts, jam fests and strum-alongs. For any curious newcomer without a tiny guitar, The Denver Post reported there were loaners on hand.

"You can't be unhappy playing the ukulele," said Jennifer Masteller, who first attended three years ago. "It's the most cheerful sound."

Michael Schenkelberg, director of Swallow Hill Music School, started the festival in 2008, with little more than a mild interest. He had never even taken a lesson.

"If someone walks into a room and sees a guitar, they're usually interested but won't play it if you hand it to them," he said. "For some reason people don't feel as intimidated with this instrument."

The workshops use familiar analogies to teach people the instrument, and attendees generally get the hang of the ukulele rather quickly.

Attendee William Dewey started learning a few months ago from his wife Jennifer, who had attended the festival three times before.

"It's nice being in a room full of ukes," Dewey said.

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