The ones before the Annual Newsletter – an archive
1 September 2013
Welcome to Spring – a busy time for festivals!
Here you can find out about:
- Next Beginners Workshops – Vote 1 Ukulele in Cessnock and Wickham
- Planet Dungog – get your $10 tickets by registering with us now.
- Brisbane Uke Festival – did you get an email?
- Do Riders CD imminent
- Ukestra Gala Afternoon – 17 November
- Uni Ukulele Workshop this Wednesday
- U U U rehearsal 14 September
- Riverwood Downs Ukulele Jamboree Campout- 8-10 November
- NZ Ukulele Festival
- Ukulele Central – free book – Danielle’s new site
- Hawaii Ukulele Festival 2014?
- Review of Central Coast Ukulele Festival
- Individual Ukestra Blogs – contribute!
- What are these things called blogs?
Next Beginners Workshops – Vote 1 Ukulele in Cessnock and Wickham
On Election Day – 7 September – Mark is running a Beginners Ukulele Workshop in Cessnock at the East Cessnock Bowling Club, whilst Jane is busy doing the same thing at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club.
Both workshops run from 1-3pm and cost $24 for the two hours. If you know people who would like to do these workshops, get them to get in touch. We need to know how many ukes to bring along.
After this beginners, keep your ears peeled for the next Ukulele Entree course.
Planet Dungog – U U U and Ukestral Voices
You must read this if you want almost free tickets ($10) to this festival. Anyone performing in the U U U or Ukestral Voices at Planet Dungog MUST register by email with us and say that they are coming. We will have the final say in who is allocated a $10 ticket for this festival. Normal ticket prices are here (about $100 for the weekend).
Planet Dungog (the inaugural music festival being held on the weekend of October 11-13 is promising to be a pearler and big busy one for us. The U U U is performing at 4:45pm on Saturday 12 October in the RSL. Ukestral Voices are on Sunday 3:45pm at the Uniting Church. We also have a Ukestration workshop, SQ3, the Paterson Pluckestra and The Do Riders.
Brisbane Ukulele Festival – SPRUKE
You going? Didn’t get an email just now? You mustn’t be on the list. Better contact us!
Do Riders CD
The Do Riders, the blurgrass band that Mark and Jane are in with Mick and Nikki (from Myall River Ukestra), plan to have their debut CD out in time for Planet Dungog. Whoa!
We have recorded it, and are currently organising graphics for it.
Ukestra Gala Afternoon – 17 November
The Newcastle & Hunter Valley Folk Club has decided that the uke community in Newcastle needs its own afternoon showcase afternoon. So we are pleased to say we are working with them to bring you the Ukestra Gala Afternoon. More to come, but keep Sunday afternoon 17 November free for the Gallipoli Legion Club. It’s already in the Ukestra calendar on our website.
University Ukulele Workshop – this Wednesday
Got friends / family at uni? We have been engaged to run a ukulele gig / workshop from 12-1pm this Wednesday in the Shortland Hub. Jane, Leigh and Julia are doin’ it together. All welcome to join in if you feel so inclined.
Next UUU – 14 September
Saturday 14 September is when the next U U U rehearsal is on, from 1:30-3pm at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club. For Brisbane we are adding I was made for loving you and Busy Line. So we’ll have a crack at these, as well as picking from the other standards – Sunshine of your love, Catch My Disease, My Island Home, Price Tag, Somebody that I used to know, Message to My Girl.
Riverwood Downs Ukulele Jamboree
Don’t forget the Blue MUGS (Blue Mountains Ukulele Group) are hosting a weekend ukulele campout up near Dungog on the weekend of 8-10 November. This is a weekend of informal uke jamming. Should be a hoot!
New Zealand Ukulele Festival
As has been previously mentioned, Mark, Jane and 7-8 children are performing at the NZ Uke Festival on 30 November. We have heard some rumours that some adults might be plannng on coming to join the 2,500 or so children in the stadium in West Auckland. If that is you, please give us a yell so we can give you more details.
Danielle’s book and website
Danielle has a new ukulele website – Ukulele Central. A few people are already attending individual lessons with Danielle at Jack’s Music in New Lambton. If you go to the Ukulele Central site you will see that she has also just recently brought out a pretty nifty little e-book with ukulele hints.
Hawaii Ukulele Festival 2014
It’s a very strange world when people ask us (as part of our job), ‘so! when are we going to Hawaii next year!?’. Oh boy. People are already asking this question, wanting to start their planning. We are uncertain about next year, but we are mulling it over. There are a few options for us, which may / probably involve Hawaii. But we have to see.
I would expect the Hawaii Ukulele Festival to be on 20 July next year, though I do not have those dates confirmed via a website. If you are interested, please send us an email (even if you have already spoken to us).
Reflection on Central Coast Ukulele Festival
We were really proud of the Ukestrans who stepped up to the U U U challenge and performed WITHOUT music stands at the Central Coast Ukulele Festival last weekend. It made for so much a better performance, no shuffling of, or tripping over, music stands, and most importantly, not staring at them! Admittedly, a lot of people had little memory cards of the music, blutacced to something like a ukulele tuner. The important thing to remember is that we don’t want people READING! Prompting your memory is fine, but that then allows you to get on with the task of making music and performing, which requires more than reading. It requires feeling, dancing, looking, intreacting with your fellow musicians. So well done!
The other comment that we need to make is about the sound. Our philosophy is to get across the most collective sound possible. A bunch of ukestrated ukuleles playing well together DOES sound really good. Rotating the lead singing roles as much as possible also helps a lot. Yes we do put the stronger players, singers and performers closer to the front and to the microphones, but we do NOT plug ukes in to make them electric.
Generally our experience of ‘plugging in’ is that the electric ukes swamp and dominate the gentler sound of the general ukes being played.
But word has it, in outdoor situations, our sound gets lost. At times this is due to mixing engineers having more of a ‘rock’ ear than an ‘acoustic’ ear, but it is also a function of being at an outdoor venue. If you listen to our Melbourne Ukulele Festival debut, you’ll hear that in that enclosed venue, the sound was pretty good. C’est la vie en ukulele.
Individual Ukestra Blogs
Please send in your contributions for your individual ukestra blog – see the Tomaree Ukestra Blog for the most active one.
What are the different ‘blogs’?
Sorry if there is a bit of confusion about the ‘blogs’. We are sorting out this one, and have now settled on it being like this:
1. This ‘blog’ is the regular newsletter -which replaces us sending you emails every few days. It is more factual and to the point and provides information for you and your families about uke things that are coming up.
2. Blogs for each ukestra – anyone is welcome to post their review of their ukestra experience in any particular week. Just send them to Mark (mark at ukestra.com) and he’ll edit and publish.
3. Must Wash Trumpet is Mark’s more creative endeavour, where he explores the different facets of life as a ‘community musician’. There aren’t too many people who write about this sort of topic, so he hopes that it is contributing to publicising the benefits of people making more music in their lives.
His most recent Must Wash Trumpet reflected on the passing of Ted Campbell. You can go right back to stuff written in 2010 (and see a little of the evolution of The Sum of the Parts (music) – but the more recent stuff is about the recent tour in the United States.
End of 1 September Newsletter / Blog
15 August 2013
We are back home, with a hefty ukulele workload to address!
In this episode you’ll find the following:
- UUU rehearsal this SUNDAY
- Central Coast Ukulele Festival (Sunday August 25 – 2:30 we perform)
- The next Beginners Workshop – 7 September (Election Day)
- The next Ukulele Entree Course – starts Tuesday 20 August
- Advanced classes – ReadMe Ukulele
- Current children’s classes
- Brisbane rehearsals
- Mark’s travel blogs link. (click here to go straight there).
1. UU – Ukulele Urgent: UUU rehearsal is SUNDAY, not Saturday.
Our apologies to some (maybe a lot of) people to whom we have given the wrong date / time to for the next UUU rehearsal.
It is on this SUNDAY 18th August from 1:00pm-2:30pm at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club. Our focus will be the performance for the Central Coast Ukulele Festival on the following weekend (see the blog for details).
The songs we are performing at Central Coast Uke Festival are:
- The Middle
- My Island Home
- Sunshine of your Love
- My Girl
- Catch My Disease
- Price Tag
- (Possibly Do You Know the Way to San Jose)
2. Central Coast Ukulele Festival
The Ukastle Ukestra performs at the Central Coast Ukulele Festival on Sunday 25th August at 2:30pm on the Sails Stage at The Entrance. The set list is as above (to be refined at the UUU rehearsal on this Sunday). If you are interested, Mark, Jane and Danielle are performing (as SQ3) at midday in the same area.
3. The next Beginners Workshop – Vote 1 – Ukulele.
Election Day 7 September is the next Beginners Ukulele Workshop – 1-3pm at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club. Drown your broken election promises in a ukulele promise. Vote 1. Ukulele.
4. Ukulele Entree Course – starts next Tuesday 20 August
Get up to speed or scrub up! We have a new Ukulele Entree 1 starting on Tuesday 20 August with Danielle – see our Ukulele Entree page for more info.
5. ReadMe Ukulele Classes (formerly ‘Advanced Class’)
Back in May Mark conducted a series of Advanced Classes based upon James Hill’s Ukulele in the Classroom series. This will now be continuing from where we left off. But we need a title with some … how should we say it … with….um….sex appeal. Hence ReadMe Ukulele.
Players who are mildly familiar with reading music for the ukulele are invited to express interest with Mark (use the contact form or email mark(at)ukestra.com). At this point we’ll try for a Wednesday afternoon, but if there is sufficient interest for an evening one, we’ll try for that (either Wednesday or Thursday). We’ll do another short term (5 weeks commitment) at a cost of $90. I will need a minimum of 7 people.
ReadMe Ukulele will assume that you already have sufficient note-reading skills to get you to page 10 of Ukulele in the Classroom, Book 1. Have a chat with Mark if you are not sure (0430434291).
The May class ‘graduates’ ended those classes at that point, and I know there are others out there who already had those skills.
Also please get in touch if you are interested in starting to ReadMe Ukulele from the very beginning. If there is sufficient interest for this we’ll start a new one all over again!
I do hope to hear from you ….
6. Current Children’s Classes and the New Zealand Ukulele Festival
Mark, Jane and Julia (Rutten) are teaching ukulele to three different after-school groups (all on Wednesday afternoons). Charlestown Uniting Church and Waratah Public School are the venues.
But the really fantastic news is that one parent (Una Rey) successfully applied for Federal Government funding to assist the senior Jukestra children with airfares to attend and perform at the New Zealand Ukulele Festival in late November. Wooohooo!!!! It’s all happening and the senior kids are sounding very professional!
We are really keen to get more kids playing ukulele in the Lower Hunter (and everywhere!), so please spread the word to your children and grandchildren. We have some work to do to consolidate our timetable, venues and teaching staff, but we are getting there. Introducing more kids to the ukulele will allow us to develop their skills in age appropriate groups. More information on our children’s programs are here.
7. Spruke – Brisbane Ukulele Festival
We have 12 of us who have said they are going to perform at SPRUKE on the weekend of 22 September – (Dorothy P., Martin B., Judy S., Penny W., Susan and Dave G., David T., Gail W., Pam B., Greg Somebody, Jane/Mark). If your name is inadvertently there, get in touch. If it isn’t there and you want it to be, get in touch!!! We’ll have a chat at the UUU on this Sunday and will do a rehearsal after the Beginners Workshop on 7 September.
8. Mark and Jane return from the USA – Mark writes about it.
Jane and Mark had a wonderful time in the USA and Canada. The Ukastle Ukestra performed at the Hawaii Ukulele Festival (photos here, but some video footage coming soon), then we headed to Vancouver for some quality James Hill Ukulele Initiative time, then driving for two weeks down to San Francisco. Mark likes to burble on about such things when he gets the chance, and you can read about it here.