What is the UUU?
There are many opportunities in the Newcastle area to play ukulele with others. The Sum of the Parts (music) occasionally has a contract with Newcastle Now! to welcome cruise ships – these are generally fairly joyous boots-n-all hum n strum affairs. There are also a number of groups around Newcastle who do fabulous work in retirement villages and nursing homes (the Stockton mob spring to mind as does the Side by Siders group out at Lake Macquarie.
The UUU is different.
The UUU – (Unleashed / Unique / Ultimate / Uber) Ukastle Ukestra – is a specific once a month rehearsal for those who would like to be a part of ‘key’ public performances by a larger, more ukestrated performance group. Mostly our performance opportunities are at festivals and the like. Rehearsals for the UUU are an hour and a half at the Wickham Croatian Sports on a weekend afternoon.
Of course this will evolve, as we see how it all works out.
What you need to do
At this stage you are all welcome to join in once a month. However there are some participation conditions.
- You’ll endeavour to learn the repertoire, and perform without a music stand. Memorise the songs (or have some other method that does not require a music stand).
- Be a current member of the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club (for public liability insurance purposes).
- You will have attended 1 performance rehearsal in the last 3 months and about 4 in the last 12 months.
- You will have attended three ukestra sessions in the last 2 months (so we can keep abreast of your skills). We reserve the right to make exceptions to this based on our knowledge of your experience.
- We require you to commit to three UUU performances in a year (in the Newcastle region). We presume some people will still want to do the far away trips as well.
Performance Rehearsals will have the following cost (or not!).
For regular participants of ukestras – run by The Sum of the Parts (music) – there is no cost. Regular means attending a ukestra session at least 2 times in a month.
If you attended a ukestra once in the previous month, the cost is $10.
- If you attend no times in a month then the cost is $15. This option may suit some people who have a high skill level and do not wish to attend a regular ukestra session, but would like to perform.
Benefits for you
As with anything, your skills expand at a rate comparable with how much time you dedicate to practising your skill! You will have the chance to learn:
How to be an effective leader in your ukestra or amongst your ukulele peers; and
- How to choose your part and be an expert in it.
You will be more guaranteed of being with other people who (like yourself) are more dedicated to developing their ukulele, singing and performing skills. You will also be a part of the team from whom we select lead singers and players.
What we’ll do for you
The rehearsal format involves:
Practising the selected well known performance repertoire.
Introducing new possibilities for ukestrated songs.
- Rehearsing and arranging new songs.
We will give you 2 weeks notice of the old songs that we plan to rehearse. We will chose about 3-4 songs that you need to have memorised. We will expect you to know your part although chords will probably be called out initially.
When we do new songs you can bring the music along and look at it. You do not have to memorise the new stuff for quite a while! We get representation from every group, from Cessnock, to the Bay to Paterson, and all in between.
The repertoire for the UUU primarily consists of ‘ukestrated’ songs – songs that lend themselves to being arranged for different ukulele parts and for choir-like voice arrangements. These are the songs that you will eventually need to know by heart (with a bit of prompting by Jane). Songs currently on our list include:
Catch My Disease
Somebody That I Used to Know
Sunshine of Your Love
All I Want is You
Bring me Sunshine
My Island Home
- Trains n Boats n Planes
Stay tuned. Literally. And metaphorically.
And if you want to know how we rate amongst the other Ukulele groups in Australia, watch this video of the Director of the 2011 Melbourne Ukulele Festival. Start at 3:30 (language warning too – Dean has a potty mouth).