PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews recently celebrated 10 years of exciting performances and supporting the arts in Bay County.
With seventy-two active members, half of them played and sang their hearts out at Little Village Sunday morning.
“Well, we are a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization. And our funding comes from playing performances as well as cash donations that come into our donations. And our mission is not only to have fun but to support music and arts education in Bay County,” said Public Relations Chair Mary Jo Howard.
The orchestra has donated over 40,000 dollars since its founding to fund schools and organizations in need of musical instruments.
“Now we’re learning so much. Everybody in this orchestra is supportive of everyone else. Somebody new comes in, we sit beside them and make sure that they are getting whatever they don’t understand,” said orchestra member Pat Nease.
The Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews welcomes schools of Bay County to submit a grant request if they require assistance with musical or theatrical needs.
“I was invited to join the orchestra to play. I didn’t know anybody when we moved here. And not only did I join a group that’s musical, I also have built-in friends. Now built-in families. We support each other. Yes, we do. In sickness and in health,” Howard said.
The group is accepting members of all ages and skill sets.
“We are so thankful to the seniors that allow us Wednesday night to rehearse in their facility. We’re very grateful for that,” said Howard.
It’s not all ukuleles, some of the members consist of drummers, guitar players, and a sound technician.
“Time flies when you’re having fun. Yeah,” said Howard.
From Chuck Barry to Bruno Mars, the song catalog from the Ukuleles of St. Andrews has something for everyone.