Our Music in Your Life series continues with an incredible story about a famous ukulele. Our sincere thanks to Helen Overly, for sharing this story from The Daily News, Huntingdon, PA.
The Konter Ukulele may be the most valuable ukulele in the world. It was owned by Richard Konter, “Ukulele Dick,” who joined Admiral Richard Byrd’s famed expedition to the North Pole in 1926. During the expedition, he obtained signatures at every opportunity, including those of all 45 crew members of the Admiral Byrd expedition and the Admiral himself. It’s the only artifact that traveled to the North Pole because it was smuggled under the seat of the airplane. The ukulele also made a trip to the White House and was signed by President Calvin Coolidge, along with the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh and many, many more. The soprano ukulele contains more than 155 signatures. The replica includes all signatures, which have been carefully laser-etched into the beautiful koa wood. The soprano ukulele also features vintage style violin peg tuners and a replica of the original interior label.
“THE ORIGINAL KONTNER UKULELE”
As we continue our “Music In Your Life” series, the spotlight shines on Sir Paul McCartney. Paul’s dad played trumpet and piano and even had his own band, “The Jim Mac Jazz Band.” Jim had a upright piano in the home and encouraged Paul to take lessons, but young McCartney liked playing by ear.
On Paul’s 14th birthday, his dad gave him a nickel plated trumpet, but soon after, with rock and roll music becoming popular, he traded it on an acoustic guitar. Because he is left handed, it was hard to play, so he reversed the order of the strings. One other note from the early days, Paul wrote “When I’m Sixty Four” on his dad’s upright piano in the living room when he was about 16! John Lennon remembers the Beatles singing the song as part of an acoustic set, whenever their amplifiers broke down or the power would go out at the clubs in the early days of the band.
The Berkeley Springs High School Guitar Circle under the direction of Steve Grigsby meets every Monday after school at BlackCat Music Shop. The club also meets two times a month during sixth period at the school. The Guitar Circle is open to established student players and students wanting to learn how to play.
Steve shares his wealth of knowledge with the group and lets the guitarists choose songs to learn and share. BlackCat Music Cooperative is continuing to install new programs for our youth with generous support from the community, fundraisers, and provided grants.
Grammy Award Winner, Brad Paisley has been giving the guitar off his back to an audience member during his shows. Brad will pick a child out of the audience and present him or her with a just played Fender Paramount acoustic guitar. Paisley will make his message clear to the young recipient: “Take this guitar and learn how to play it!”
Paisley said he loves the idea of starting a kid down the right path just like his grandfather showed him. “He taught me that learning to play an instrument will greatly enhance your life”