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A labor of love

Music allows students to express their feelings and raise others moods through the sound of instruments. 

Recognizing the importance of music, Henderson Elementary music teacher, Mr. Walker had 21 ukuleles donated last fall through a Donors Choose campaign and a fundraiser that he ran on his personal Facebook page. He’s hoping to receive a few more so that he can have a full class set. 

The ukulele is a very fun and versatile instrument. Since it only has four strings, simple songs can be learned fairly quickly. This instrument helps reinforce concepts such as melody, rhythm, chords, singing skills, and much more while inspiring students to go further and learn more complex songs. 

Due to COVID protocols, the ukuleles at Henderson are not currently used in the classroom, but a virtual ukulele club called the Hawkuleles was started to encourage students to explore the instrument. 

After receiving these ukuleles, Mr. Walker knew that they needed a special place to be stored and kept safe. This is where Mark Saiz came into the picture.

Mark Saiz, owner of Nazareth Guitars, donated over 40 hours of his time to build students at Henderson Elementary a ukulele rack.

After Saiz agreed to build the rack, Mr. Walker sent him a photo of the design, and that is what he went off of with no plans or dimensions. Every hour Saiz and his wife put into the rack was a labor of love. 

Although he doesn’t play an instrument, Saiz loves the sound of guitars in music. “I am retired so I took two classes in Germany to learn how to build electric guitars. Building this ukulele stand seemed like a natural thing to do. I would encourage all children to learn to play an instrument and maybe this ukulele stand will prompt those that have a talent to learn and play with all they have within them.”

When students first saw the new ukulele rack, they were very excited and look forward to being able to play the ukuleles next school year. They made comments such as, “Ten out of ten stars” and “I love the design!”

The ukulele rack means a lot to Mr. Walker and his students. “This is truly a work of art and helps complement the visuals in the music room. The donation of the instruments and the rack mean our students will have even more hands-on opportunities to expand their musical knowledge and skills.”