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      Learn to play the ukulele and get that tropical feeling

      Macomb maybe the most tropical place in the Tri-States this weekend and it's not because of the weather. Ukulele Macomb is holding its annual Ukulele University workshop Saturday, teaching music enthusiast how to play the exotic instrument.

      The local strumming group has been together for almost three years and was started by Western Illinois University professors.

      "We played around for a little bit and did a couple of classes and workshops that sort of thing," Ukulele Macomb founder Mike McGowan said. "And Ukulele Macomb kind of came together around those classes and that group of professors."

      Each year since the group formed, its continued to grow in size, skill and popularity.

      "We're actually going to have a ukulele festival here in Macomb and we're going to be inviting talent in, people from the region to come and have classes seminars for advanced players and novice players," McGowan said.

      But it's not all about the music for these musicians.

      "It's the community aspect of it," McGowan said. "The community comes together in this group. I've met people that I never would have interacted with and that's one of the great things about the group is it's a real community builder."

      "We're all friends because we play together and we care about each other and we enjoy each others company but then there's a service aspect, too," Ukulele Macomb member Judy Sadler said.

      A lot of the group's performances are held at local community based organizations.

      "It's an opportunity for service," Sadler said. "We do play at nursing homes and assisted living facilities and a lot of events in town."

      Any money Ukulele Macomb makes from performances, is donated to the Western Illinois Museum where they practice every Tuesday and Saturday.