Informal juggling club provides laughs and dexterity for Whidbey Island

Amid the instruments and musicians practicing, another group of people were at an Oak Harbor music store doing something a bit different.

Dave Thompson juggles Wednesday night at Click Music. He is a member of the Whidbey Island Jugglers

Amid the instruments and musicians practicing, another group of people were at an Oak Harbor music store doing something a bit different.

About six people were in a large room at Click Music honing their juggling skills and having a lot of fun doing it.

The informal group of jugglers, known as the Whidbey Island Jugglers, spend their Wednesday evenings at the popular music store tossing clubs and balls to each other and off the walls to improve their dexterity.

“There’s nobody in charge,” said Joy Thompson, an Oak Harbor resident. “We just come and practice together.” She added that members come together to teach others, improve their juggling abilities, laugh and have fun.

The group has been meeting every Wednesday night for about a month. Currently about a dozen or so jugglers stop by to practice. Thompson spent part of the session tossing plastic clubs to her husband, Dave, while others were busy tossing small, four-ounce balls around.

Thompson said she started juggling before ukulele lessons.

Fellow juggler Glena Kelso, who started the hobby several months ago, also uses it as a break from her piano lessons.

“It uses a different part of my brain,” Kelso, who also spent time tandem juggling with her husband, Duncan, said. “It relaxes me.”

Oak Harbor resident Julie Wilson, who is also a quilter, produced several balls that the group uses. The fabric balls were filled with plastic beads or aquarium gravel.

“You can’t stay worried while you’re doing this. You’re laughing too hard,” Wilson said while showing off several of the balls she produced.

The group has been meeting at Click Music, which is located on NE Seventh Avenue in Oak Harbor. Thompson said the high ceilings in the room the jugglers use are a help. While a half dozen or so group members were busy juggling, bands and musicians were busy rehearsing in performance rooms contained in the building.

Thompson cited Bellingham residents Amiel Martin — of the Flying Karamazovs and the Juggling Jollies — along with his wife, Hallie, as mentors to the group.

It will cost an eager juggler $3 to participate in the session. Equipment is provided. The money raised pays for the room and development of a website.

The Whidbey Island Jugglers meet Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, simply show up or email WhidbeyIslandJugglers@whidbey.net.

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