A delicate hum crescendos in the halls of L-S
The rising ukulele phenomenon among teen musicians at Lampeter-Strasburg High School naturally gives reason to the sweet, gentle tones heard ringing through the hallways by passing students. As they marvel at its joyful sound, the ukulele continues to grow in its appeal to a new generation.
Features in pop songs such as "House of Gold" by the emerging band Twenty One Pilots and "Riptide" by artist Vance Joy offer insight into the recent attraction towards ukuleles. This trending folk instrument has a certain charm that fascinates its listeners, including junior Joey Shiffer. Often found strumming along between classes, he delights in sharing the magic of the ukulele with his peers.
|Joey Shiffer is among the growing population|
of L-S students who wield a ukulele
seemingly wherever they go
While it seems like a matter of popularity, Shiffer claims that his purchasing a “uke” was a unique decision, an idea that he had been saving for a long time. A collection of gift cards to Guitar Center he had received around Christmas presented him with the means to fulfill his dream.
Shiffer’s fascination with the ukulele stems from an enthusiasm to challenge himself as a musician. Talented with the guitar and piano already, the singer-songwriter destined to expand his abilities further by branching out and picking up yet another instrument. At some point, perhaps over the summer, he hopes to construct one on his own.
Though his true motivation for learning how to play the ukulele was for a Vocal Repertoire assignment, Shiffer enjoys playing it on his own, writing music for it, and simply spreading cheer during the school day by exhibiting its loveliness. He professes that the ukulele’s fun nature makes it the perfect way to bring people together, whether they be close friends or complete strangers.
"I met someone in the lunch line one day when he asked me if I was the guy who carried a ukulele around," Shiffer recalls.
An opportunity for social connection also motivates freshman Becca Herr, who also can frequently be found with the instrument.
"I get to meet new people and talk about each other's interests, and the teachers get to know me all because of a simple instrument," she says.
Shiffer describes the ukulele as an honest, inviting instrument. Its warm, sunny timbre produces an aura of bliss wherever it goes, creating a welcoming environment that draws in bystanders. The purpose in playing it seems not to be for showing off, but rather to let the harmonious notes of his music brighten a neighbor’s day.
The tiny, delicate member of the guitar family is gradually gaining a hefty amount of recognition in the Lampeter-Strasburg community. Its delicate hum will likely remain in the halls for months to come.
--Jacky Kirchner, LSNews.org Features Editor