West Seattle Ukulele Players Strike a Chord of Joy in Community

by Madonna

SEATTLE — Amidst the bustling city life of Seattle, a group of music enthusiasts, known as the West Seattle Ukulele Players (WSUP!), is spreading joy and creating a harmonious atmosphere with the cheerful strumming of ukuleles. Led by dedicated individuals like Michael Fox and Janet Hornbecker, this diverse group welcomes musicians of all skill levels and even those who simply want to enjoy the uplifting melodies.

The magic happens every week as WSUP! congregates for an hour or two, filling the air with the delightful sounds of ukuleles. According to Michael Fox, one of the group’s leaders, participation is not limited to playing instruments; anyone can join to sing along or just savor a cup of coffee while enjoying the musical vibes.


The repertoire of WSUP! spans a wide range, from old rock and roll to Hawaiian tunes and classic melodies. The group’s founders, including Janet Hornbecker, have cultivated a vibrant musical community over the past six years, emphasizing inclusivity and the sheer joy of making music together.


Anecdotes of the group’s impact on individuals highlight the heartwarming nature of their gatherings. Michael Fox recalls a special moment when they played the Addams Family theme for a birthday celebration, illustrating the personalized and community-oriented spirit of WSUP!


A remarkable testament to the ukulele’s ability to bring joy and keep spirits young is Cecil Beatty, a centenarian member of the group. At almost 100 years old, Beatty graces the weekly gatherings with his harmonica solo on his theme song, “Okie from Muskogee,” showcasing the timeless and ageless appeal of music.

While the West Seattle Ukulele Players humbly acknowledge they may not be professionals, their commitment to having a good time is unrivaled. Their gatherings, typically held on Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. at C & P Coffee Company, 5612 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136, serve as a testament to the power of music in fostering community, spreading joy, and transcending skill levels for the sheer love of playing together.


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