Alaska students raise the ukulele to orchestral proportions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The most prominent sign of the growing popularity of ukuleles among Anchorage students is East High’s orchestra dedicated to the short-necked relative of the guitar.
The Anchorage Daily News reported the Anchorage School District has seen a wave of aspiring student musicians who want to pluck the small, four-stringed instruments.
Officials say the number of students enrolled in a ukulele class at East High has eclipsed those in a guitar class, while the ukulele orchestra has nearly 20 players.
East High guitar and ukulele teacher Kiel Schweizer says reasons for the student attraction to ukuleles include affordability, portability and ease of play, as well as their popularity on YouTube.
The instrument is also embedded in the Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander culture of 15% of the school’s students.