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VIDEO: Watch East High’s ukulele students put their own spin on pop songs

  • Author: Marc Lester
  • Updated: November 23, 2019
  • Published November 23, 2019
East High School's advanced ukulele class rehearses pop music arranged for the instrument in Nov. 2019. (Marc Lester / ADN)

What started as a ukulele club at Anchorage’s East High School has now grown into a series of beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for 70 aspiring teenage musicians interested in playing the short-necked, four-stringed instruments.

Recently, advanced students in a ukulele class taught by Kiel Schweizer were rehearsing songs by artists like Black Eyed Peas, Toto, Portugal. The Man and Lil Nas X.

In ukulele class, East High guitar and ukulele teacher Kiel Schweizer said, he sees pop music as a strong, common link among his students.

“It’s the great equalizer,” he said. “Some of these kids come from households where they only speak Hmong, or only speak Hawaiian … but they all know Justin Bieber.”