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Berkshire Ukelele Band spring concert at Berkshire South

This Friday, June 7, at Berkshire South Community Center the Berkshire Ukulele Band offers an evening of musical delight for the whole family with its BUBs Spring Concert.

Great Barrington — When Sandy French was a young girl, her father gave her a ukulele, and ignited what would be for her a lifelong passion — music.

“I started playing when I was six or seven,” she said, “and I certainly wasn’t aware of what chords I played. I just played along with my father and his friends as best I could when they were together Saturday nights. So I learned to play by ear.”

Claudia Ziobro of the Berkshire Ukelele Band

Today, French is grateful she learned to play by ear. Her vision is failing to the degree that she requires that familiar skill to continue to play her instrument of choice every Tuesday evening as part of the Berkshire Ukulele Band (BUB) at Berkshire South Regional Community Center.

This Friday, June 7, at 7pm the Berkshire Ukulele Band offers an evening of musical delight for the whole family with its BUB Spring Concert. French will join Rob Sanzone, inaugural instructor and 8-year BUB veteran, along with about 35 other ukulele players for the community program. The concert is a BUB fundraiser, and money raised will support the continuation of the free weekly class.

Sanzone said, “Friday’s performance will include some Beatles tunes, some Hank Williams and some Elton John. There will be a few surprises, too!”

Though French has been a musician for her 70 plus years, not everyone who attends BUB started with a musical background. “The new person comes in really nervous and by the time they leave they are all excited and can’t wait to go home and practice,” said Sanzone. “It is infectious.”

Rob Sanzone leads the Berkshire Ukelele Band.

BUB has been an inspiration for its members, as many have formed their own ensembles, and one in particular, Sherry Steiner, is currently at work on an entire musical for the ukulele.

Steiner, French and Sanzone all agree that the truest beauty of the group lies in the players themselves.

“We all find time to be there to play, to be with one another,” said Sanzone. “The wonderful group of people keeps you coming back. Sometimes my schedule is so full of family and work and I am really tired on Tuesdays. But then I get there, and I am so glad to be there again.”

“Music is a common ground,” Sanzone explained. “The song becomes the intermediary.”

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