The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz
The ukulele scene in Santa Cruz has really grown since the founding of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz in January of 2002. Before that, the only ukulele events in town were the once a year springtime party in Peter and Donna Thomas’ living room, or the small crowd gathered around Ukulele Dick as he performed for First Night. Today things are different. Besides the original, and world famous, third Thursday Ukulele Club meetings, there are gatherings of ukulele players almost every day of the week, as well as annual and semi-annual events.
The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz maintains a Facebook page that you can like.
Where to Play and Listen
Sons of the Beach
Every Saturday 10am-12pm. Sing and play along. On the sand at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor near the Crow’s Nest.
Capitola Ukulele Player’s Acoustic String Ensemble
Every Sunday, 10-11:30 am. Sing and play along. At the Bandstand in Capitola’s Esplanade Park.
Third Wednesday Club Meeting
Third Wednesday of the month
5ish – 7:45ish depending on month
A new leader and new surprises every month.
Greater Purpose Brewery
21517 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz
Ukulele Club First Thursday Sing and Strum Along
First Thursday of the month 5:45-7:15ish. Jug Band Music sing along
Pono Hawaiian Grill Downtown
120 Union street, Santa Cruz
Cork & Fork Ukulele Night
Second Thursday of the month, 6-8pm. Open mics and Sing Alongs
Cork and Fork
312-B Capitola Ave. Capitola
Even More Places to Play and Listen
Smoldering Uke 2023 at Hidden Valley Music Center will run from March 9th to the 12th. For more info and registration, see Hidden Valley’s webpage.
Making Music With Our Friends
One Saturday in June and August, dates to be announced
Eat, Sing Dance and be Merry. Potluck, dance band, and a sing along.
Highland Park: Fridays 11-12
Scotts Valley Senior Center: Tuesday 9-10
Group lessons at the Santa Cruz Art League 5 nights a week.
Michelle Kiba’s website
Private lessons or small group lessons.
Private and small group lessons on uke, guitar, bass, and percussion
About The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz
A short review by Stanley Sokolow
In January of 2002, when Andy Andrews and Peter Thomas first invited folks to meet at Peter’s house in Santa Cruz, California, to start a ukulele club, they expected only a handful to appear, but to their surprise and delight, 20 to 30 showed up. Thus the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz was born. Named with an acronym matching that of the local university, they claimed the club was the “UCSC where you could get a real (ukulele) education,” the first monthly Third Thursday meetings consisted of everyone playing a few songs together following the chord and lyrics on song sheets they handed out, entertainment by accomplished ukulele musicians, a little ukulele education, and of course good company, while eating and drinking at the pub where they held the meetings.
And from those humble beginnings the club has grown over the years to claim hundreds, maybe even thousands, of fun-loving ukulele players in its ranks, meeting on various days, for various reasons, in various venues all over Santa Cruz County. And there is always room for more: if you want to get more involved, start up a new ukulele band, a new weekly sing along, or just host a party, go for it! We will help you let everyone know about your ideas and plans.
The first rule of Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz is, “there are no rules,” and that rule has served the club well. There’s no formality, no dues, no by-laws, no roster, you just show up with your ukulele at any of the places ukulele players gather in Santa Cruz, join in the fun, and you are a member. (That said you can signup for email notifications using contact form, or check join the face book groups). Beginners need not feel unworthy – the volume of the many ukuleles strumming along will mask any little mistakes you make. Peter Thomas said to me the other day, “The club has lasted much longer than Andy or I ever imagined in our wildest dreams.” It’s still going strong, like a big family with lots of siblings, there are more ukulele things happening in Santa Cruz than anywhere in the world (at least per capita.) So if you’re anywhere nearby, or even far away but yearning for the fun, come to Santa Cruz, to one of the events listed on this web site, and join in the fun.
PS. After the 20 year anniversary we decided it was time to change up the format for the Third Thursday Club Meeting. Moving forward each meeting will have a different leader, and what happens at the meeting will be up to that leader, so we have some fun to look forward to. If you want to lead a meeting let us know by sending a message using the form below. The only requirement is that you set up a sound system so everyone can hear you and anyone you invite to do anything at the meeting.