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Bix bands: Quad City Ukulele Club ready to jam on the Quad-City Times Bix 7 course
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Bix bands: Quad City Ukulele Club ready to jam on the Quad-City Times Bix 7 course

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When one thinks of ukulele music, Tiny Tim and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole playing "Tiptoe through the Tulips" or "Over the Rainbow" probably come to mind. But that won't be what runners hear as they pass the Quad City Ukulele Club at the Quad-City Times Bix 7.

The group, which has played on the Bix course since its founding in 2012, will instead play the hits of Jimmy Buffett, the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival from their spot on Kirkwood Boulevard and Iowa Street. 

"We stay away from the prototypical ukulele music," original QC Ukulele Club member Phil Vernon said. 

Quad-City Times Bix 7

The Quad Cities Ukulele Club entertains along Kirkwood Blvd. during the Quad-City Times Bix 7 Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Davenport.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled events and closed off popular venues for the club, like retirement homes, they were playing around 80 performances a year. They had also been expanding their practices to around six a month. 

"The door suddenly got slammed," Vernon said.

Performances are generally attended by 13-15 group members, and practices are attended by anyone who has the time. The club started with around seven members, and now numbers fluctuate, as there's no formal membership. Anyone is welcome, Vernon said.

Events have come back this summer, and the club has been able to perform at a few outdoor venues.

Vernon said the past year was hard on the whole group, and they're excited to get back into playing for a crowd. They recently played in Bettendorf's Independence Parade on July 3.

While the QC Ukulele Club caters its repertoire of songs to the event they're attending, they generally stick with classic rock and folk music. Vernon said he just introduced Buffett's "Margaritaville" to the club and was hopeful they'd have it ready for the Bix. 

For the Elvis impersonators who participate in the run, the group has a few of the King's hits ready to go.

"We try to keep it pretty lively and rocking for the Bix," Vernon said.


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