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We're exploring the ways we find and bring joy into our lives. It’s about the things we do not because it’s a job or a necessity, but simply because we love to do them. Support for This Is My Thing comes from locally-owned Eckert Insurance. "Worry less. Live more."

This Is My Thing: Ukulele!

The Austin Ukuladies in a photo taken by Harry Newman, one of the 'Ukuladdies.'
Harry Newman, one of the 'Ukuladdies'
The Austin Ukuladies: Left to right, Mary Pat Bolton, Joan Saidel, Barbara Reiss, Linda Parrish, Nancy Leeper, & Sue Schaffer

This Is My Thing is continuing its mission to talk with people about the things they do just for themselves – not because it’s their job and not because it’s a responsibility, just because they love to do it. The stuff you do because it’s your thing.

On this episode of This Is My Thing, we have not one but two guests – Nancy Leeper and Linda Parrish. Nancy and Linda are two members of the Austin Ukuladies, a group of six friends who took up the ukulele in retirement. All six of the Ukuladies meet up every Wednesday afternoon to catch up, chat, and perhaps most importantly, play the ukulele together. Over the last few years, they’ve developed a large repertoire including some classic songs from the 1920s, some ‘60s hits, an Elvis song or two, and – grudgingly for Linda – "The Rainbow Connection."

We’ll talk about the origins of the band, the joy of buying musical gear and what it all means to Nancy and Linda. Also, just in case you’re not somebody who always reads photo credits, I want you to know that the group photo of the Ukuladies above was taken by Harry Newman, who, like all of the Ukuladies’ husbands, is known as a ‘Ukuladdie.’

On this page is the on-air version of This Is My Thing, but a longer version of the piece (including a full recording of the Ukuladies’ theme song) is available as part of the KUT News Now podcast feed.

We’ve talked to a lot of other people about their things, and those stories will be coming in future weeks. You’ll hear from a woman who loves sword fighting, a curler who hits the ice right here in Austin, a guy who found his creative spark by milling lumber in his Cedar Park driveway and a lot more. Stay tuned!

And we want to hear from you about the thing you do just because you love it! You’ll find an online form here where you can tell us about the thing that brings you joy or calms your mind or feeds your soul in some way.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces and hosts This Is My Thing and Arts Eclectic, and also produces Get Involved and the Sonic ID project. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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