It worked a treat! A two hall one night festival, where each of our ukestras and choir performed in the church, and smaller off-shoot groups entertained in a night-club cabaret style setup. In between the two venues a sumptuous feast was laid out, catered for by everyone!
Here be the videos from that night.
The Tomaree Peninsula is a little piece of Whitsunday paradise an hour north of Newcastle (without the nasty stingers). The folk up there hardly ever venture to Newcastle, so we were chuffed when the Tomaree Ukestra agreed to make the trek to Newcastle for the 2023 Showcase. Each Monday morning 20-25 ukulele enthusiasts gather at a local club, hone their skills and enjoy each other’s company. They have done so for 13+ years. Paul Mahony opens the Showcase with Boz Scaggs’ ‘Fly Like a Bird’, with a feature from Susie Hall-Thompson on concertina. Brad Jelfs does great justice to Patsy Cline (again with a lead ukulele solo from the superb Susie), and Diane Wither successfully negotiates not butchering Nancy Sinatra. All up it was a very entertaining and professional performance.
Monday Night Ukestra
There is little question that, these days, Monday Night is the technical top dog of all the ukestras at The Sum of the Parts. No wonder there was an air of expectation at the 2023 Showcase. The instrumental, Malagueña, was a bold opener. Amity follows with a heartfelt piece by Corin Raymond – I Wish I Was in Love. Carol and Nigel lead an old blues song, Deep Ellem Blues. Finally, Caroline, recently returned from a triumphant performance at the World Choir Games in South Korea with the Newcastle Chamber Choir graces us with her voice on the Black Keys’ Gold on the Ceiling.
LakeMac Ukestra performs Riders on the Storm, Waimanalo Blues and Wicked Game. John Wallace leads this ukestra and has recently completely taken responsibility for it. LakeMac Ukestra was started in February 2010 by The Sum of the Parts, and is still at the Teralba Bowling Club on a Tuesday afternoon. After a short dig/homage to the ‘John transition’ during Riders on the Storm, Mark gives a brief acknowledgement and thank-you to LakeMac Ukestra.
Churches, literally, were built as acoustic spaces for singing. Ukestral Voices does this genesis proud with both Wednesday Night and Friday afternoon choirs combining to deliver a really beautiful, heart felt and voiceful performance in the wonderful Adamstown Uniting Church.
We open with a song by Maggie Rigby (The Maes – look ’em up) – Hey Mr Moon which features Isobel Hubbard and Michael Smith doing some short lead vocal work.
Joe Geia’s iconic first people’s song Yil Lul is a beloved standard in our choir, and is followed by Tongo, a fisher’s song from the Solomon Islands is one with which we have more recently come to grips. White Winter Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes finishes the set recorded here.
Wednesday Night Ukestra
The most recent of ukestras established, this small bunch is still finding its identity, and ‘Pastor Jeff’ don’t help none with that; don’t believe a word he says. Jeff and Patsie lead off the charge with John Prine’s In Spite of Ourselves. Folsom Prison Blues is such a great standard, and Heather does a great job, although the sound guy did not, as she wasn’t plugged in! Rob also adds his fantastic blues harp to this song. Deirdre rounds off a generally irreverent performance with a great song about being a good neighbour.
Thursday Night Ukestra
There was an unfortunate filming error that occurred during this performance, so it is two parts.
This one, Part One, opens with the winning song from the 2023 Ukovision Contest held at Thursday night just prior to the Showcase – Last Day on Earth by Kate Miller Heidke. Clare Thomas features with her incredible vocal range, accompanied by the dulcet harmonies of Paula Machin.
Canadian folkie icon Gordon Lightfoot died in mid 2023, and here we pay homage to his original version, and the 90s disco version. Peter Oliver and Caroline Kennedy complete the vocal duties with aplomb for this distinctly bifurcated version
And then the camera broke. See Thursday night Part 2 for the next few songs.
Saturday Morning Ukestra is a long standing coffee morning at the Carrington Bowlo. Three fairly contemporary songs feature, with three lovely singers. The aussie classic, Under the Milky Way (by The Church) is lead by Trish Collins (from the Clyde Street Band). Virginia Slatter does the most lovely reserved version of Harvest Moon (a 1989 song by Neil Young). And finally, the Tina Turner song, River Deep Mountain High is well acquitted with the big vocals of Jules Pavlou-Kirri.
In various incarnations, Sunday Ukestra has been happening for 5 or so years. Representation here is from some old guard, and some new folk (including Bennet, age 9) who have only been coming for 6 months or so. Bennet takes the lead on Rhiannon after we heard that he performed it to his school class. This is a big step up for the young lad! Elizabeth is another first time public singer (straight out of the shower/car singing position she previously held), and what a voice! She does such justice to her teenager memory of Jewel’s classic, You Were Meant for Me. Finally Sonja and Michelle do an eerily incanny homage to Abba’s Waterloo. Join us 10am Sundays where we welcome newbies in particular. Apologies for the bass player who stuffs it up at the beginning of Waterloo.
This performance, lead by Ukestral Voices, features Inxs’s Never Tear Us Apart and Crowded House’s Weather With You, and ukestrans were encouraged to join in from the audience. Never Tear Us Apart was dedicated to a recently departed and dearly beloved ukestran and voices member – Anne Robinson.