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John King

John King

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July 03, 2015
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July 03, 2015
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April 27, 2009
John King's contribution to ukulele and classical guitar cannot be measured. As a musician and an historian, his insights and abilities have inspired many.

On April 3, 2009, at the young age of fifty-five, John King passed away.

John taught classical guitar at the Eckerd College for thirty years. I can't imagine how many people he has influenced musically from that alone, but he also taught ukulele players in workshops at various events in far-flung places.

John had many friends in the world of ukulele. He performed at Ukulele Noir with Craig Robertson and he played with James Hill and countless others never trying to upstage anyone, yet towering above many.

I never had a chance to meet John face-to-face, but I know his work and many of his friends. I have viewed just about every video that I could find online and read his articles on ukulele history.

John King was a vast reservoir of knowledge of all things ukulele. He eagerly shared that knowledge and from what we know of the man, he never had an elitist attitude or put on a front, he didn't have to pretend.

If you spend some time watching John's videos on YouTube you will be amazed at his ability and his powers of concentration. He mastered classical guitar at a young age and he mastered ukulele. There is no doubt that he will be remembered as one of the all-time great players of ukulele.

Music sooths the soul, so it is said, and it stirs the soul as well. What is there for someone who has left loved ones behind. What solace is there... what comfort can one find?

When great musicians and composers leave this world, they leave behing a trail of notes, a river of musical expression. If you play those notes, perhaps for a time, you can share that journey, you can remember that artist and the path he walked.

The feet are gone, and we cannot fill his shoes, but we can follow his footsteps and still can feel his influence.

John King did have a big influence on many students, family members, and friends. He even had an influence on people that never knew him personally.

John King may no longer be with us, but we are with him. We still enjoy his music and his articles. We benefit from the things that he left us.

For those close to him, there is little comfort at this time, but later, perhaps, his music will give them something to remember and bring a smile to their faces.

My wife lost her mother very early last year. There are still some tearful moments when words don't come easy. It is those times when we try to remember all of the wonderful things we can and think of the time we shared.

John King spent a lifetime sharing music and knowledge with many. Let us never forget him and his contributions to the music world, not just ukulele but classical guitar, too. And let's not forget that many people can say that they called him friend. For John's friends and family, may all your memories be happy ones.

--- published in Ukulele Player
In Memory of John King
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