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The ukulele gets a serious feminine touch at 7th Annual Berkshire Uke Fest – Berkshire Eagle

Grace of Rosendale, N.Y., and McNair of Williamstown are both songwriters; the latter was once a member of the LAUO, too.

This year#8217;s festival will feature more women than men. Following morning workshops, The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra (LAUO) of Berkshire County, Madeleine Grace, Sarah McNair and Snapback will play.

#8220;Even though the ukulele itself is in this massive renaissance, the premier players are still kind of coming up through that,#8221; she said.

While the ukulele may help some people evade the physical blockades to performing certain types of music, the instrument must hurdle its own obstacle: the stereotypes surrounding its sound and, consequently, its players.

Lewis feels that many instruments#8217; physical size inhibits women and others from approaching them. #8220;Women and smaller people have trouble getting involved, and the ukulele has been a great entry-level situation and, for some people, even an end-goal situation,#8221; she said, noting that the instrument is more accessible for people with small hands than the guitar because it has fewer strings.

LAUO currently consists of Lewis, Dan Broad (upright bass) and Mariah Colorado Lewis, who is Lewis#8217; daughter and a senior at Miss Hall#8217;s School in Pittsfield. They will play a mix of covers and originals, according to Lewis. When the longtime guitarist and songwriter was invited to join the orchestra more than two decades ago, she hadn#8217;t played the ukulele before. She still accepted.

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