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Never to Die
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AC/DC got it right when they sang, “Rock n’ roll ain’t noise pollution, rock n’ roll will never die! Rock n’ roll ain’t noise pollution. Rock n’ roll will survive!”

Why does AC/DC pop into my head sometimes instead of the Beatles, who of course are my first loves. I don’t know for sure. There’s something cool and rebellious about them that I absolutely love.

Also, when I think of the Rock n’ roll will never die” lyrics, I also think of all music. Music will never die. Live music may have been suppressed during the pandemic that never seems to end, but it never dies. It stays alive in our lives and in our hearts. And we can’t help but still sing the songs and play our instruments — for me it’s the ukulele. Then some of us got on the Zoom train and began to lead Zoom virtual ukulele jams. In a way, they’ve been wonderful because from all over can join us — Some are on the east coast or even in other countries such as Canada and Australia. I love that our sense of community has grown wider.

But one thing has been missing. Playing music with others in a live setting. Zoom virtual jams cannot replace the live music. At least for me, they can’t. Lately, I’ve missed the live ukulele jams so much, interacting with my friends and playing music together. I signed up for Tunes in the Dunes Ukulele Festival here in Oregon in September (which is live this year!) and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve read about groups meeting live again, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, on Facebook, but nothing seems to be happening that I know of here in Eugene, Oregon. Portland has some stuff happening, but Zoom and live I think. But that’s over two hours away.

Then, I happened to read a post on Facebook that this Italian ukulele player I knew, “Ukulollo,” was doing a show in Eugene, Oregon as a duet with another guy who sang and played the U-bass. I couldn’t believe it. Wow, a ukulele live event right here in Eugene, Oregon? Do you mean, I don’t have to drive anywhere to see a ukulele show?

Rock n’ roll and ukulele music will never die! You can play anything on the uke, even AC/DC! Trust me, we’ve done it! And it’s fun. Last night, feeling just a little nervous because I haven’t been to public events lately, I parked my car and walked into this giant tent where Ukulollo and his friend played. While he played, I could hear lots of people talking and even yelling to be heard. Typical environment for a setting like this where they sold beer and wine as well as food and drink. It was an all-ages event though because there were some kids there. Everyone seemed to have fun. I was there for one reason. For Ukulollo and the music. I wore my special ukulele t-shirt which says, “Everything is gonna be okay, the ukulele player is here!” Some older people sitting at a table noticed my t-shirt and said they loved it. My ukulele hung over my shoulder as I waved at Ukulollo after he finished his song and he waved back.

I sat down and got my ukulele out, looking around. I had a mask on, one of my cool tie-dye KN95 masks. should I leave it on or take it off? We’re kind of outdoors, but there are quite a few people here. I can’t believe I felt so nervous about the whole thing. me who was always comfortable in social situations in the past. I decided to pull it down but leave it on sot hat I could use it if I had to. I didn’t sit close to anyone, found a table of my own, and got my ukulele out. I was the only one there with a ukulele, which sort of surprised me. At ukulele shows in the SF Bay Area, performers almost always did at least a couple of community songs where everyone played. And then, of course, they performed. That was always the lay of the land.

I listened to Ukulollo play and sing a wonderful original song, and then their round screen began to show the music and chords karaoke-style to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful Life.” A lady who had been dancing to most songs said, “You’re brave,” to me as if bringing a ukulele was scary. I smiled and played along and sang my heart out. No one saw the tears that formed in my eyes because I missed this so much. It was beautiful.

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