Hobby helps Airman relieve stress

Airman 1st Class Jermiah Camacho, a 17th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst plays the ukulele during the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month luncheon, May 26, 2011. He learned how to play it in his native land of Guam almost six years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Michael Smith)

Airman 1st Class Jermiah Camacho, a 17th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst plays the ukulele during the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month luncheon, May 26, 2011. He learned how to play it in his native land of Guam almost six years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Michael Smith)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The audience watches in awe as the Airman skillfully strums a tune on a small, four-stringed instrument.

A first experience for many, the performance leaves them wondering what instrument that is. It looks like a guitar, but not quite.

It's a ukulele.

Airman 1st Class Jermiah Camacho, a 17th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, learned how to play the ukulele in his native land of Guam almost six years ago.

"I taught myself how to play," said Camacho. "It's very popular back home."

The ukulele is a string instrument that originated in Portugal in the second century B.C. With a small, guitar-shaped body that is fitted with four strings, it is considered a member of the chordophone family. Sound is produced through these instruments by plucking and strumming the strings. The strings in turn vibrate and are amplified by the resonating body. It is manufactured in a similar way as a full-sized guitar.

Commonly associated with music from Hawaii, ukuleles come in four sizes, soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Camacho plays the soprano and concert, which are the most common.

"I play almost every day," he said. "It helps me relieve stress and relax. I also sing, and play the guitar and trombone."

Camacho showcases his talent at the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month luncheons and office birthday breakfasts, and said he is willing to teach anyone who is interested in learning.

For more information, email jermiah.camacho@goodfellow.af.mil or call (210) 328-0327.