Ukulele Club bonds students through music


Maya Kornyeyeva

Shane Maxine Largo, a junior, and Riley Baum, a sophomore, practice playing a chord on the ukulele.

As the first meeting of the year commenced, the Ukulele Club welcomed its new and returning members with open arms.

Students of all grades gathered at the front of the room with ukuleles in hand, ready to introduce themselves and learn their first couple of chords.

Throughout its existence, the Ukulele Club has been an essential cultural aspect at Carlmont High School, performing at the annual Heritage Fair year after year. Although the leadership and advisers have continued to change frequently, the club’s purpose remains constant: to bring people together through music.

“When I was asked to take over for the previous adviser, I was all for it. I always enjoyed watching the Ukulele Club: they were such a welcoming crowd to jam with,” said Greg Schaal, the current club adviser.

However, member attendance has been declining. The club’s co-president Lauren Wang, a senior and 4-year member of the Ukulele Club, talks about the drop in popularity.

“When I was a freshman, the Ukulele Club used to be one of the most popular clubs at Carlmont. This year, we want to bring the hype back in,” Wang said.

Nevertheless, the first general meeting of the year exceeded expectations for member outcomes. Several freshmen were present among the new members, many without any experience playing the ukulele, but all eager to learn.

“I wanted to join the Ukulele Club because I like to sing, and I want to learn how to play. My brother plays a lot at home, and I have played maybe twice before. I don’t have a lot of experience, but I hope to learn some new skills,” said Nina Chutczer, a freshman.

The Ukulele Club has already begun preparing for the Heritage Fair in February and focused a part of their meeting towards possible song suggestions.

As a result, the club decided to focus on a more traditional but unique style of music, bringing ukuleles back to their core with a possible Hawaiian composition.

“I like performing at Heritage Fair, especially because the vibe last year was so good when everybody brought out their flashlights. The atmosphere was very inclusive,” said Riley Baum, a sophomore.

Whether to eat lunch in a safe space or strum some tunes with a couple of friends, the Ukulele Club prizes it’s member experience above all else, making sure nobody feels out of place.

“I felt this sort of joyous, welcoming atmosphere where I could do whatever I want and be supported no matter what,” said Chutczer.