In Episode 11 of Arts Roll Call, our host, Robin Miner-Swartz interviews Ukulele Ambassador Ben Hassenger. They talk about the history of the ukulele, why it has played such a huge role in Ben's life and why it has so much power to bring people together! Plus learn about Music is the Foundation and the upcoming Mighty Uke Day festival.
Ben Hassenger is known as the "Ukulele Ambassador of Michigan" for good reason. After a 2009 visit to Hawaii, he was hooked on the ukulele and over the past eleven years has founded the Lansing Area Ukulele Group (LAUGH), the Mighty Uke Day festival, Midwest Uke & Harmonica Camp, Uketoberfest at Interlochen, and Hiawatha Music Co-op's Yooper Uke Week.
Ukulele education is a priority for Ben; and in 2014, he established Music is the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports ukulele music programs in Michigan classrooms and communities. He performs and teaches at a variety of uke events across the US and Canada, spreading the joy and camaraderie the "jumping flea" brings to people. Ben played guitar for years with the world-beat band Mystic Shake and now performs with The Ukulele Kings trio. A songwriter and a big fan of baseball, he has two songs about the Detroit Tigers enshrined in the archives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
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