Shawn Loucopoulos: Ukulele Boy

Shawn Loucopoulos: Ukulele Boy

By Mateo Acosta, Staff Writer

When walking through the halls of West, you may hear a faint sound of strings playing, and walk even closer, it seems to be a ukulele playing. No, you are not hallucinating, that is junior Shawn Loucopoulos.

Loucopoulos has always found music to be therapeutic. As a kid, singing and dancing were always forms of expression for him. This has translated into him creating a love for music, and as time went on, he immersed himself more and more into the world of music. Currently, he is learning how to play the upright bass, the piano, the ukulele, and trying to teach himself how to play the drums and guitar all at the same time.

“I started liking the instrument [ukulele] because of the diversity in genres you are able to play with it,” said Loucopoulos. “I also just loved the general happiness that I see on people’s faces when they hear it. I think the positive feeling people get when they hear it is more of the therapy.”

When he first began walking through the halls with his ukulele, you could tell he was unique. A strong-willed and confident young man. While his other classmates were more occupied about fitting in, Loucopoulos was the oddball out; the one that didn’t need to be accepted socially to 100% of his classmates, he was going to do what he wanted and if you didn’t like it, that’s all good. He started to bring his ukulele because it brought him joy, whether that made people think of him as an oddball didn’t matter, he did it because he wanted to. He is one of the few students who do what they want despite their image, and that’s what makes him unique.

Director of orchestras, Thomas Chester, recalls his first time meeting Loucopoulos, and he just remembers he walked into the room with his ukulele. No questions asked. “Is there a bad unique? Unique is unique. I’d rather you be unique than not stand out so that immediately got my attention. ” said Chester.  He knows Loucopoulos always has his ukulele on him, whether he has it out or not, he knows he has it. and he is perfectly okay with that.

“I like wearing hats, and that’s his hat. It’s just how it is. There could be a lot worse things. So that’s just a cool hobby to have,” said Chester.

With him always having it on him and him playing it, he gets noticed. A lot. Teachers, security guards, and some students are usually supportive of it, and when he plays in the halls, no one seems to bat an eye. “I’ve had teachers talk to me about him having the ukulele. Most of the time they’re fine with it as long as it is not being used in class” said special education instructor, Sean DeFelice.

Along with music and the ukulele, he plays sports like ice hockey and soccer, but music really seems to be what he was born to do. When he grows up and graduates, he says he’d love to give back and helps kids the same way he found his own form of therapy. With music being such a big part of his life, helping him get through bad days whether that be by playing his ukulele or just knowing it is by his side, he says that is not the reason he still brings it today. “The reason I still bring it today is to know that at least one person will hear it and their day will be better,” said Loucopoulos, “I just like making people happy.”