Windsor·Video

Itching to play your ukulele? Join the Windsor Ukulele Circle

Founder Joe Mercer spent 7 years with a ukulele band in Vancouver called "Tiny Tim Overdrive."

Founder Joe Mercer spent 7 years with a ukulele band called "Tiny Tim Overdrive"

Joe Mercer is the founder of the Windsor Ukulele Circle. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

If you're in Windsor and have a hankering to play the ukulele, there's an event this weekend made especially for you.

This Sunday marks the very first meeting of the Windsor Ukulele Circle

"It's a gathering of ukulele players of all experiences and levels," explained founder Joe Mercer, who grew up in Windsor but left for Vancouver in the 1990s.

When he moved back to the city this past October, the experienced ukulele player — who spent seven years as member of a band called "Tiny Tim Overdrive" — realized there was no gathering of ukulele lovers in the city and decided to start a group.

Watch Mercer perform The Tragically Hip's Bobcaygeon on his ukulele:

Windsor Ukelele Circle

4 years ago
Duration 1:22
Windsorites of all ages and all levels came together for the first meeting of the Windsor Ukelele Circle.

Mercer said a typical gathering will run about two hours.

"We play a bunch of songs out of a songbook, people get to ... play their own song for a little bit, and then we finish out the rest of the circle playing [together]," he said, noting that in Vancouver, there were several ukulele circles, with some attracting hundreds of players.

Originally a drummer, Mercer first picked up the ukulele 11 years ago when he was asked to play a song on the instrument for a friend's wedding.

He hasn't put it down since.

"I definitely play more ukulele than drums," Mercer told Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre. "It's a lot easier to carry around — you don't [need] a van."

Mercer said the ukulele is becoming increasingly popular. A music store in Windsor told him that while they normally sell 20 to 30 ukuleles a month, that number skyrocketed to 350 during the holiday season.

"So, there's ukulele players out there," he said. "Hopefully when we do the Windsor Ukelele Circle this Sunday, they'll show up."

The first meeting of the Windsor Ukulele Circle is this Sunday, Jan. 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Chapter Two Brewing Company (2345 Edna St). All ages are welcome — Mercer said he'll be bringing his 10 year-old daughter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

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