Why Ukulele Player Les Baca Gave Her Mammogram Tech a Private Concert

Les Baca pledged to play ukulele for as many people as possible in 2016.
Les Baca pledged to play ukulele for as many people as possible in 2016. Tony White
Last January, Les Baca told herself she'd play her ukulele for others as many days as possible in 2016. By year's end, she estimates she had played for 6,000 people, including her mail carrier, her plumber, heer dentist, her doctor and her mammogram tech, as well as at over 250 open mics.

"This was just a way of connecting with people," Baca says.

And it worked.

"I got told over and over again, usually several times a week, by different people that I inspired them, and to me, that really kept me going," she explains.

Playing every day wasn't exactly a stretch. Baca normally performs at about three open mics a week and practices her music every day. But actually performing for people made her a better player, she says.

This year, Baca — who is admittedly new to this resolution thing — has vowed to be creative as often as possible. When she was invited to a dinner party this week, she made a floral arrangement for the host. She restrung a broken necklace she would have otherwise taken to a jeweler, and wants to experiment more in her cooking. She admits it's a less-ambitious resolution than last year's, but she's looking for something more low-key.

"Last year was a leap year, so there’s an extra day in there," she says.
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Ana Campbell has been Westword's managing editor since 2016. She has worked at magazines and newspapers around the country, picking up a few awards along the way for her writing and editing. She grew up in south Texas.
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