Page 4 September 1, 2011 Berthoud Weekly Surveyor

What goes around ... Do you ukulele? I
t looks like a small guitar and is sometimes mistaken for a mandolin, but the ukulele is an instrument all its own. In the late 1800s, the Portuguese arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, introducing what developed into Surveyor the instrument Columnist now known as the ukulele. The Hawaiian people fell in love with the instrument and called it the ukulele, which roughly translates to “jumping flea,” probably a Heidi reference to Kerr-Schlaefer how quickly the player’s fingers jump from string to string. Hawaiian royalty also loved the instrument and King Kalakaua, Queen Emma and Queen Lili’uokalani all played the ukulele. Of course, the royalty’s infatuation with this stringed instrument only added to its popularity among the commoners of the island. With the rise in popularity of Hawaii, once the word got out about the tropical paradise and travel to the islands became more prevalent, the ukulele’s popularity outside of Hawaii began to grow. In the early 1900s, a Hawaiian music craze hit California, specifically San Francisco. Suddenly from California to London, everyone was playing the easily portable, four-stringed instrument. Sales of the ukulele, also known as a uke, went out the roof. Major guitar manufactures began producing ukuleles, including Gibson, Harmony, Regal, National, Dobro, and even Martin. Vaudeville performers like Roy Smeck and Cliff “Ukulele” Edwards performed with the instrument. Ragtime, which eventually became jazz and was the popular music of the day, was a nice complement to the sounds of the ukulele. The tremendous popularity of the ukulele couldn’t last. Some attribute its demise to Tiny Tim, who some think was responsible for making a mockery of the ukulele. The downfall was more likely the electric guitar, which became all the rage during the 1960s. Sales of ukuleles plummeted and, by the 1970s, there was only one manufacturer of the instrument left. Stuffed in attics, or soaking up mothball stench in closets, from the 1960s to the late 1990s, the ukulele was all but lost. But then an interesting thing began to happen. The best way to learn about the recent renaissance of this instrument is to watch the documentary, “The Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog.” This documentary features modern day ukulele players who are changing the way people look at this instrument. From a high school music teacher in Canada, who is making the ukulele cool again, to ukulele clubs from Tokoyo to New York, to ukulele festivals, this tiny instrument is making a whole lot of noise again. The ukulele is a true “What Goes Around” success story.

National Grandparents Day
Special to the Surveyor Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, has been recognized nationally by the United States Senate — in particular by Senators Jennings Randolph, Robert Byrd, and by President Jimmy Carter, as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the country about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime. In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a resolution to the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. West Virginia’s Governor Arch Moore had proclaimed an annual Grandparents Day for the state, at the urging of Marian McQuade. When Senator Randolph’s resolution in the U.S. Senate died in committee, Marian McQuade organized supporters and began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states. She urged each state to proclaim their own Grandparents Day. Within three years, she had received Grandparents Day proclamations from forty-three states. She sent copies of the proclamations to Senator Randolph.

In February, 1977, Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of many other senators, introduced a Joint Resolution to the Senate requesting the President to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as National Grandparents Day. Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day and, on Aug. 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day’s purpose as: “ ... to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.” Some people claim the origin of the holiday resides with the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna of North Syracuse, New York, recognizing seniors and their importance as early as 1961. On Feb. 21, 1990, New York Congressman James T. Walsh recognized the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, thanking her “for her important role in the establishment of Grandparents Day.”

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