[caption id="attachment_17958" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/03\/theresa-1.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-17958" alt="David Smith, Ron Magruder, Theresa Winstead, Robin Spence, Phil Hairless, Claude Jones and Robin Skillern performing as the Greater Greenbrier Valley Association of Ukulele Optimists at Greenbrier Manor on the group\u2019s spring tour of area retirement homes." src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/03\/theresa-1-300x168.jpg" width="300" height="168" \/><\/a> David Smith, Ron Magruder, Theresa Winstead, Robin Spence, Phil Hairless, Claude Jones and Robin Skillern performing as the Greater Greenbrier Valley Association of Ukulele Optimists at Greenbrier Manor on the group\u2019s spring tour of area retirement homes.[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">By David Esteppe<\/span>\r\n\r\nAt the Rebel Heart concert in Washington, DC, this past September, Madonna whipped out a ukulele and sang \u201cTrue Blue,\u201d one of her early hits. The crowd loved it.\r\n\r\nLocal ukulele enthusiast Bob DuCharme says, \u201cUkuleles of the world unite!\u201d\r\n\r\nLast year DuCharme gathered a few friends and started the Greater Greenbrier Valley Association of Ukulele Optimists (GGVAUO). He formed the group to get beginners, even if they do not own an instrument, together with advanced players for the fun of learning, playing and performing.\r\n\r\nDuCharme says, \u201cThe ukulele is having a huge resurgence today, and back in the 1920s, it was one of the most popular instruments in the world for people to play.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhen Hawaiian musician Kama Kawi Woole did a cover of \u201cSomewhere Over The Rainbow,\u201d the song was a hit on 2004\u2019s Billboard charts. Since then, the ukulele\u2019s popularity caught on and continues to spread.\r\n\r\nDuCharme says the beauty of the instrument is how easy it is to participate. He explains that you do not have to own a ukulele, and you do not have to have any musical experience at all to join the group. Do not worry if you can\u2019t read music: the group doesn\u2019t read music, they just play it. \u201cWe accept musicians, but our focus is to recruit musician wannabes, hence; \u2018optimists,\u2019\u201d says DuCharme.\r\n\r\nDuCharme mentions how many of us get a musical rejection early in life, and then are afraid to get into musical performing at all because of that. Maybe, for instance, you tried out for band in high school and didn\u2019t make the cut. DuCharme wants you to give yourself the opportunity to enjoy being musical. It is in you, and he can help you start enjoying the playing of this instrument almost immediately.\r\n\r\nDuCharme is confident that the group can help anyone begin playing and enjoying the ukulele. He invites any adults to join GGVAUO at Carnegie Hall. where they meet once a week. There are no obligations, no fees and no commitments. You are welcome to come to a couple of meetings to see if there is a match between the program and your interests.\r\n\r\nGGVAUO are currently doing a spring tour of area retirement homes. A small, fluctuating group of GGVAUO players are performing for four different locations once a month for about an hour.\r\n\r\nLewisburg Rotarian Ron Magruder is having a great time playing with the group. He was thrilled to share the experience of playing at one of the retirement homes recently and having a lady over 100 years of age show her appreciation for the performance. Turns out, the lady is a legendary retired music teacher loved by too many people to count. She used to teach a music class by radio at a certain hour of the day, and all of the schools would turn on the radio station and have music class right along with her.\r\n\r\nThe moral of the story is - call Bob DuCharme at 804-357-5884 for more information about coming to some of the ukulele meetings. You may also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a ukulele lesson. You\u2019ll be glad you did.