of the Oconomowoc Ukulele Club jam on a Monday night.
If Jesus played
a musical instrument, would it be a ukulele?
legitimate spiritual ponder for Eric Raskopf, an ordained Anglican
vicar. The 6-foot-3-inch Raskopf figures that The Man would probably
groove on such an instrument, especially since Christ was an upbeat
social sort wanting his message heard every way possible.
considers the above postulation as a fun theory; since for the past
decade heís also been an avid practitioner of that fabled Hawaiian
stringed instrument. Initially a confirmed guitar player, Raskopf
purchased a $20 ukulele for his son to encourage the youngsterís
musical talents. But when his offspring didnít play it much, dad
stepped in and hasnít stopped since. Raskopf taught himself to play
via the Web and long hours of practice, now owning five of these
"jumping fleas." Thatís the native Hawaiian term for the
instrument brought to the islands by Portuguese sailors generations
for 90 minutes or so, beginning around 7 p.m. on the second and fourth
Mondays of the month, Raskopf jams with like-minded music fans at
Books & Company in Oconomowoc. About six years ago store co-owner
Lisa Baudoin, also a "uke" aficionado, offered her place in
which to play, after a music store where the gang used to gather
shuttered its doors.
The 20 or so
members of the Oconomowoc
love casually assembling at her comfy bookshop/cultural
center/community hub to strum, hum, sing and simply get on down. Of
all ages, these retirees, working moms, business people, civil
servants and students also perform regularly at senior centers and
area festivals, even presenting a St. Patrickís Day program. (Clad
in green, of course.)
for any new people who drop by is to have them playing a two-chord
song by the time they leave," Raskopf says.
hat by day, Raskopf is a criminal defense attorney with the Schober,
Schober & Mitchell law firm in Oconomowoc. He does not wear his
clerical collar in the courtroom, but could be considered the
unofficial "chaplain" of the Waukesha County Bar
Association. Nor does he wear a Hawaiian shirt or carry a ukulele when
appearing before the bench.
But if he did,
would that make him the organizationís unofficial "court"
musician? Ah, another pondering to pluck.
Get Your Uke On
getting into the groove: It will be all things ukulele at the annual
Ukulele Festival on Oct. 20 at the Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove.
will lead a variety of workshops, so you can learn how to finger pick
and strum with the best. Or, pick up a new uke in the vendor area.
event culminates with a concert and post-Ukulele Festival party at the
Silver Spur, 13275 Watertown Plank Road, Elm Grove. For more
information, visit http://mufest.com.