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A music therapist demonstrates the ukulele to a child in the hospital

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Encore Apparel Company Strike Chord with Pediatric Patients Through Ukulele Kids Club RockStar Program

Gift of 50 ukuleles to Cleveland Clinic Children’s keeps beat going during Covid-19

Press Release

CLEVELAND, OH (August 18, 2020) – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Encore Apparel Company, and Ukulele Kids Club are giving back to the community and teaming up to provide 50 ukuleles to Cleveland Clinic Children’s patients to keep them smiling during those quick and not-so-quick hospital visits.

Finding a way to keep the beat going during Covid-19, the ukulele donations include a virtual tutorial by ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. Check out Shimabukuro’s video created to inspire the children, in which he shares his love and enthusiasm for the ukulele, teaches basic chords, and performs one of his favorite songs, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” by Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee George Harrison.



Jake Shimabukuro Ukulele Demonstration

Watch ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro play "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Jake Shimabukuro Ukulele Demonstration

Watch ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro play "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

“This gift has the potential to impact these patients’ lives far beyond their hospitalization,” said Christine Bomberger, music therapist at Cleveland Clinic. “When children learn to play the ukulele during their admission, it becomes a new skill they can use to get through difficult times and express themselves. Then, when they are able to take these ukuleles home, those skills become a part of their daily life.”

Cleveland Clinic Children’s was one of the first recipients of the Ukulele Kids Club, which has donated close to 10,000 ukuleles to 200 hospitals worldwide and teaches patients to use music to express emotions and aid the healing process. Both the Ukulele Kids Club and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have a longstanding relationship with the hospital and with Encore Apparel Company are amplifying the impact locally.

Greg Harris, President & CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, said: ““Music is a powerful force. The ukuleles offer a new and exciting experience for children who may never have had the chance to play an instrument before, while at the same time being very beneficial.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which provides music therapy, education programs and resources to hundreds of thousands each year, offers free online resources at Rock Hall EDU, including Shimabukuro’s new tutorial, ways to incorporate stringed instruments into lessons, and a Rock N’ Learn: The Letter U activity sheet. The Ukulele Kids Club also offers free monthly ukulele lessons from leading ukulele players through their UKC Academy events and a free online UKC Resource Portal with easy to play lead sheets using the color-coded string system.

Casey Paton, Co-Founder, Encore Apparel Company, said: “Through our brand we've been committed to helping provide a better experience for kids – no matter what personal challenge they may be facing. Since launching Encore six years ago we've tried to use our creative business to make a positive impact in the world - namely with a focus on young people and music. We are beyond excited to launch this donation with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in support of the incredible mission of Ukulele Kids Club and their commitment to sharing the gift of music therapy."

A passion for music is the major thread running through Encore Apparel Company and the overall inspiration behind the brand. Their Play It Loud: 50 Makes 1 program was launched to provide the gift of music to kids at local hospitals. For every fifty items the company sells, one free ukulele is donated. The expansion of the company's 50 Makes 1 program to include support for the Ukulele Kids Club’s RockStar program and music therapy at Cleveland Clinic will be promoted via Encore's newly released line of 216 hats and t-shirts that are now part of their broader LOCAL collection.

"It would be hard to think of an institution more closely aligned with our priorities than the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," said Stephanie Epstein, President of Ukulele Kids Club and Board Certified Music Therapist. "We recognize the absolute power of music to enhance lives and seek every opportunity to bring this magic to kids in need. We are thrilled and honored to be brought together with this great global institution, to help Cleveland Clinic Children’s, and to continue our work with hospitalized kids."


About the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 

Rock Connects Us. Our mission is clear: To engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock & roll. We share stories of the people, events and songs that shape our world through digital content, innovative exhibits, live music, and engaging programs. Join the millions who love it as much as you do. Experience us live or online – Visit or follow the Rock Hall on Facebook (@rockandrollhalloffame), Twitter (@rockhall), Instagram (@rockhall) and YouTube ( Long Live Rock! 


About Encore Apparel Company 

The entrepreneurial spirit behind Encore Apparel Company is captured in the saying “Life is Short. Play It Loud.” Taking influence from rock & roll’s rebellious, but inspiring roots, Encore was built to embody a simple style, an inspiring life message, and a commitment to corporate social responsibility. The company's Play It Loud: 50 Makes 1 program works to provide free ukuleles to kids undergoing treatments at various local hospitals. To check out Encore’s entire line of premium graphic t-shirts and other apparel items visit or follow @EncoreApparelCo on Instagram for updates on new releases and company news.


About the Ukulele Kids Club, Inc.

The Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) is an international, nonprofit organization based in Lakeland, Florida. The UKC was founded in 2013 by Corey and Edda Bergman as a tribute to Corey’s son Jared Bergman. Since its founding, the UKC has directly supported the health care of nearly 10,000 children through music, music therapy and donations of its signature instrument. The UKC works with more than 200 hospital-based music therapy programs in the U.S. and internationally, including Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the United Kingdom. The UKC is a platinum-level GuideStar participant; learn more at

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