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Strumming the uke in the 209
Ukulele club offers free jam sessions
ukulele club pic
Turlock Uke Jamz offers free group jam sessions for ukulele players of all ages and skill levels. - photo by Photo Submitted

Community Contributor

Ukuleles have hit the Valley by storm.

The ukulele is one of the most popular musical instruments being sold today and is the main reason why almost a hundred people show up each month at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock to play the string instrument.

The second Saturday of each month, ukulele players from all over the Central Valley come to the Turlock Uke Jamz — and have a whole lot of fun jamming with each other.

The ukulele is “the people's instrument,” that is growing in popularity at an unprecedented rate.  It is easy to learn, and there is no “screechy” sound should someone play the wrong notes.  It is a very forgiving instrument, and all the notes are soothing.

You can learn from YouTube videos and/or take lessons over the Internet.  You can take a class at the local junior college and most music stores offer lessons as well.  But one of the most popular ways to learn is to join a ukulele club or group.

Unlike many musical instruments, you don’t have to read music or have a trained voice, although, it doesn’t hurt to have these skills. If you like to just strum or sing along with others, you are with the right instrument, and in the right place. Someone will show you how to play a few simple chords and you can strum away.

The Turlock group hosts a large number of people from grandpa age to school age kids, all jamming together with their ukuleles

Dan Murray, founder of “The Jamz”, and his partners Joe Persons, John Bishop, and Angie Morales, lead the uke'ers strumming and singing to the songs found on the Turlock Uke Jamz website.

Kathy Murray is one of the key people involved with bringing people together with the ukulele.  She has written several grants on behalf of seniors to establish a “loaner uke” program.   Having ukuleles to loan allows seniors to see if this wonderful activity is for them before they spend money on something they may not pursue.

The jam session is free, but donations are accepted to help defray the cost of the meeting place.

Turlock jam sessions are held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the second Saturday of each month at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N. Broadway.

For more information, visit