Freshman hopes to start ukulele club on campus


Source: Peter Hartman

Jonah Dylan, Assistant Campus Editor

There’s no “I” in ukulele.

McCormick freshman Peter Hartman knows that as well as anybody. When he was a freshman in high school, Hartman said he started a small ukulele club, which grew to more than 50 members by the time he graduated.

“I made some really great friends through it,” Hartman said. “It’s just really great to play ukulele with a group of people.”

Four years later, Hartman is back at it again. Along with some friends from Northwestern University Marching Band, he’s hoping to start a similar club at NU.

Hartman said the club would aim to attract beginners, even if they don’t own a ukulele.

“I was thinking of buying a few ukuleles that we could use as a club entity,” he said. “That way, if someone just wants to come to the club and test out a ukulele, they could use a communal one.”

Hartman, who began playing the ukulele when he was in sixth grade, said he already completed the necessary paperwork for club approval and submitted it to the University.

McCormick freshman Connor Moen, who doesn’t play the ukulele but is friends with Hartman and hopes to join the club, said he expects there will be no problems getting the club approved.

“They’re going to accept it as a club because there’s no reason they wouldn’t,” he said.

The club would likely be a mix of experienced ukulele players and students who have no experience whatsoever, Hartman said.

He said he has many goals he hopes the club will accomplish. He would like to start a program the week of Valentine’s Day allowing students to pay to have their friends serenaded by a team of ukulele players, he said. The club would then donate the money to charity.

Hartman said he also hopes to have performances on the street or around campus, possibly on the Lakefill.

Weinberg freshman Kasia Przybyl lives in the same residence hall as Hartman and said she frequently heard him playing with his roommate last quarter. She sat in on some of their jam sessions and said they eventually convinced her to get her own ukulele, which she received for Christmas.

“It will be nice to be able to play with many other people,” Przybyl said. “People can play using different rhythms and different harmonies. It will make the overall experience better.”

Przybyl said she wants to practice as much as she can, but has had trouble finding time to play with others. She hopes the club will give her a chance to practice consistently, she said.

She added that she hopes the club will create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

“(Ukuleles are) easy to pick up,” Przybyl said, “and I feel like it’ll be easier for beginners if they’re around more advanced players because they can kind of mentor them throughout the whole process.”

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