CALDWELL, Idaho — Caldwell Fine Arts is working to teach kids about music and they're doing it with ukuleles.
One of the programs they’ve donated ukuleles to is the Caldwell Salvation Army where every Sunday, Majors Robyn and Stephanie Bridgeo teach a group of kids how to play the ukulele, all thanks to instruments Caldwell Fine Arts donated.
“I felt like kids had been through so much this year and music is always one of the ways that I cope with stress and a lot of people find to really help them through hard times,” Alison Moulton, Executive Director of Caldwell Fine Arts said.
Caldwell Fine Arts promotes fine arts throughout the treasure valley by putting on performances and through outreach programs.
“Lots of programs in the schools, in nursing homes, here at the salvation army,” Moulton said.
When you think of kids learning an instrument you might think of recorders in music class at school, or piano lessons, but Moulton and Stephanie Bridgero agree, ukuleles are more interesting.
“Who wants to go to a party where everyone is playing a recorder—no one. But if you bring out a ukulele, everyone thinks that’s amazing," Stephanie Bridgero said.
The program at Caldwell Fine Arts that led to the donated ukuleles, is called Three Chords and the Truth.
"It's kind of a riff on an old country quote saying, "all you need are three chords and the truth to write a country song." But for us the three chords means that the ukulele is an easy instrument. It's something that almost anybody could pick up and within a couple weeks, a couple days even they can play a song," Moultan said. "The truth part is that so many families, especially in our area, they are not going to be able to go out and buy a $15,000 piano and buy piano lessons for their children. They're not going to be able to buy an $8,000 cello."
The Ukulele, Moultan said, is more affordable.
"When you can get a ukulele for $50-100, a cute little ukulele, they get all those benefits of music without having to invest thousands and thousands of dollars in that," she said.
The program isn't just donating ukuleles to the Salvation Army.
"We have a classroom set that's going to be circulating through classrooms that the music teachers can use to do a ukulele unit. And then we're also targeting certain groups. For example, we donated some to the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Corrections Center," Moultan said.
At the salvation army, the ukuleles are a hit.
“There’s one particular student who is just beyond herself that she is doing this. She’s seven and she begged for a guitar for Christmas. She got a pink guitar—can’t play it—but then we started ukulele and she is just enamored," Stephanie Bridgero said.
The program at the salvation army is already out of ukuleles. If you’d like to donate to Caldwell Fine Arts for the program at the Salvation Army and others, click here.