Ukes in the Classroom expands to Fleetwood elementary schools

The district's elementary schools will get 90 stringed instruments.

WRITTEN BY MICHELLE N. LYNCH

 

FLEETWOOD, PA — 

The Ukes in the Classroom program will expand to the Fleetwood School District for the upcoming school year.

 

The in-school music program puts ukuleles in the hands of students.

 

“Fleetwood’s program will be the most aggressive number of ukes we’ve helped fund and place into a school district,” Dave Kline, a bluegrass musician and executive director of Reading Eagle Company’s Pretzel City Productions, said in a statement.

 

The 90 stringed instruments destined for the district’s elementary schools are funded in part by Berks Country Fest, a month-long music festival presented by Pretzel City Productions and now in progress.

 

A collaboration of Pretzel City Productions, the Reading Musical Foundation and Meadowood Music, Maidencreek Township, the program helps schools by sharing the cost of the instruments and providing free instruction to the schools’ teachers.

 

The program rolled out in 2017 when 40 Makala MK-S ukuleles were delivered to Exeter School District’s Owatin Elementary. It expanded last year to Exeter’s Lorane Elementary and Reiffton Middle schools and the Reading School District, where 70 ukes were placed in the hands of students at Northwest Middle School.

 

Northwest students will perform with their ukes at the Berks Country Fest Concert on June 29 at Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center.

 

“By introducing ukuleles in the elementary school, Fleetwood will be preparing students to succeed in the guitar program already in place in the middle school,” Mike Andrews of Meadowood Music said in a statement.

Mike Andrews of Meadowood Music inspects one of the ninety ukuleles slated for Fleetwood Schools.

Andrews said students in schools with guitar programs perform better academically, have fewer disciplinary issues and a higher graduation rate. Two Fleetwood music teachers, Scott Troxell and Nadine Hoffman, will begin training with Meadowood’s Donna Lang this month.

 

In addition, the six teachers providing ukulele instruction in the Exeter district will receive advanced training from Meadowood this summer.

 

Fleetwood Teachers.JPG

Fleetwood music teachers Scott Troxell (R) and Nadine Hoffman (C) in the Ukes in the Classroom with Meadowood's Donna Lang on

June 14, 2019.