NOW BOOKING FOR LATE WINTER and SPRING 2018!

Contact the Yesterukes by email or phone for available dates.



yesterukes@gmail.com (Preferred)
864-682-8089




Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Third Impossible Thing


The first impossible thing was cutting a CD within six months of becoming a band. A real CD with shrink wrap, liner notes, and everything. The second impossible thing was having a news article in The Greenville News that was on the front page of the Sunday Lifestyle edition, nearly a full page, headline above the fold. That came after they had difficulty getting even a mention in a smaller paper. The third impossible thing happened on Friday when the YesterUkes played a holiday mini-concert at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

Each one of these accomplishments happened after a band member said "Wouldn't it be great if ... ?" And everyone would laugh and exclaim, "Well, that will never happen!" But each time a seed was planted. And this is a determined group of people. They worked hard to push their performance skills to a higher level. Each one became a better musician. They have learned what audiences enjoy. They learned about public relations and press kits and such. They have delighted audiences across the upstate. And in one calendar year, they managed to do each "impossible thing" they talked about.

That is how they came to perform at the Grove Park Inn, a world class resort and spa located in the mountains of North Carolina. This was their first out-of-state appearance. On Friday the Great Hall was busy as holiday guests arrived for a winter vacation. But the bustling about stopped for a moment when the YesterUkes started their music. Children danced. Adults smiled. Everyone enjoyed singing Christmas favorites as the band led their largest sing-along yet. Even hotel staff stopped to listen and enjoy the music. The YesterUkes will now take some time off to enjoy Christmas with their families and most likely they will enjoy telling stories about all they have done in 2008!

To see more photos from their latest adventure click on http://www.flickr.com/photos/yesterukes/show/

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Travlin' Along, Singing A Song, Side By Side


The elusive "Elvis" has finally been captured in a photo! The YesterUkes entertained once again at Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center, singing holiday songs from different decades and different parts of the world. But "Elvis" singing "Blue Christmas" always seems to steal the show! Wonder if he will return after the holidays?

Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center was the birthplace of the YesterUkes. The band was an off-shoot of a ukulele class that was offered to Martha Franks residents. The band grew from the small group who completed the class and expanded to include people from across the Upstate. Band members come from six different towns and cities. They have performed in five different counties for hundreds of delighted listeners.

Their music always comes from the heart. Most songs are upbeat, toe-tapping selections. The audience is always encouraged to sing along with these old favorites. Making music together is what it's all about!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

There's A Song In The Air


The YesterUkes continue to spread Christmas cheer as the holiday rapidly approaches. Two programs in one week kept them quite busy. They led a songfest for the seniors of First Baptist Church in Greenville early in the week. This program was filled with unexpected surprises. First was a visit from Santa who arrived to the strains of "Here Comes Santa Claus." After his quick visit, the YesterUkes continued with their program. Then, as if on cue, just as the YesterUkes began to sing "Sleigh Ride", a sleigh-shaped buggy filled with toddlers from the nursery across the hall was wheeled in to let the children listen to the music. Those little ones stayed long enough to hear a couple of songs, including the perennial favorite, "Jingle Bells." Then the ukulele players joined church members for lunch and enjoyed some of the best chicken pie ever.

Red sweaters, red shirts, red vests....folks in holiday attire filled all 100 seats at the Ray Hopkins Senior Center. Their annual Christmas dinner was held on Friday. After lunch, the YesterUkes sang and played for one of their largest audiences ever. Everyone enjoyed singing Christmas favorites. And the ladies loved it when"Elvis" appeared to sing his version of "Blue Christmas!" Several couples danced to the lively music as the band played. It was quite a party. After the program had ended you could hear people humming and whistling as they gathered their coats to leave. Happy sounds, happy faces...in one of the most happy places!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We Need A Little Christmas Now




Playing twice in one morning was a new challenge for the YesterUkes. At a Christmas brunch for the Greenville Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the YesterUkes provided holiday music as a backdrop to a buffet for the many volunteers that serve the hospital community. Folks enjoyed the food and visiting with each other and then began to settle in at tables in front of the band to listen to the music. The brunch was held in a room that was open to the three floors above. People on the upper floors watched from their windows as the YesterUkes offered up their bouncy rendition of Christmas tunes. Curtains were pulled aside and faces pressed against the windows to see "Elvis" sing his heart out on the old standard "Blue Christmas." In a quick "costume change", the YesterUkes donned Santa hats, elf ears, and blinking reindeer antlers when they sang and played some favorite children's Christmas songs.

Then the group quickly moved to the lobby/atrium for second mini-concert. People passing by would stop for a few minutes to listen and then continue about their business....but with a smile on their faces. One man, who was connected to an array of medical machinery, was being wheeled to another location in the hospital. About the only thing not hooked up to something was his foot. The orderly stopped long enough for him to listen for a bit, and his untethered foot happily tapped out the beat along with the band. The YesterUkes love it when they can bring a little pleasure to those who find it in short supply.

The following words were copied from a wall plaque some time ago. It could have been written about the YesterUkes.

If you planted hope today in any hopeless heart,
If someone's burden was lighter because you did your part,
If you caused a laugh that chased a tear away,
If tonight your name is mentioned when someone kneels to pray,
Then your day was well spent


That makes it all worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On The First Day Of Christmas...

Don't you just love a season where you get to use words like "mirth" and "glee"? Yes, the Christmas season is upon us and the YesterUkes began their December schedule at Laurens First United Methodist Church. The YesterUkes provided the after dinner entertainment, singing many holiday favorites for the Women's and the Men's Clubs, who met together for this evening. There was even a surprise visit by...(no, not Santa Claus--he was busy)...Elvis, who stopped by to serenade the crowd with his famous version of "Blue Christmas."

Six of the fifteen YesterUkes are members of this church, so it felt like we had a "home court advantage." It is so much fun to play and sing for people we know--and for people who know our story. They were one of the first audiences the YesterUkes played for in the beginning. It was nice to go back, knowing we have grown both in size and musically.

The YesterUkes will be playing twice at Greenville Memorial Hospital lobby on Thursday of this week. The 10:30 AM performance will be in the lobby and is open to everyone. Maybe we'll see you there!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Cold outside, but warm inside...inside the Family Life Center at Shiloh United Methodist Church, where the YesterUkes sported their new long-sleeve shirts. When the YesterUkes formed as a band, they never thought about lasting long enough to need to buy a second shirt. But here they are, 14 months later, still playing and still in great demand! And now dressed for winter.

The senior members at Shiloh UMC warmly welcomed the YesterUkes, who provided a pre-Thanksgiving program of golden oldies. Audience members sang along with the band, enjoying songs that were their favorites in years past. Toes tapping, fingers drumming a rhythm on the table top, and heads nodding were a sign that folks were having fun.

As they played, the scent of Methodist incense (actually, the aroma of home-cooked food) enticed everyone--and the Methodists did not disappoint. After the music, tables were laden with platters, bowls, and dishes of delectable food there for sampling...and maybe sampling again. There was plenty for "seconds." Could we call this a training session for the Thanksgiving meal? When we say our band is growing, we hope it's only means that we've gained a new member or two---not that we've increased in girth! It's a constant hazard...all these wonderful dinners. Yum!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's A YesterUke?


I just called the screen printer to see if our new long-sleeved T-shirts were ready. I told the young lady who answered the phone that I was checking on an order for the YesterUkes. She said "Just a minute", then turned and said to someone beside her "I don't know what she said. I thought she said YesterUkes but I KNOW that can't be right!" He chuckled and took the phone. Well, the shirts are ready and none too soon as the weather is turning cooler quickly.

We are occasionally asked what "YesterUkes" means. It's quite simple, really. We all play ukuleles and we play songs from days past--yesterday, yesteryear, etc. The dictionary defines "yester" as pertaining to yesterday. "Yesterday" may be a stretch if you take it literally, but even if the songs are 50 years old, it probably seems just like yesterday to some of us!

So we chose the name for that reason. That---and the fact that the name is so unique that when you put it into Google, we are all that comes up! So if you've wondered, now you know.

Look for us soon as we begin our holiday season. Two scheduled performances are open to the public---the lobby of Greenville Hospital and the Great Hall at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. Check the schedule on the right for dates.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And A Good Time Was Had By All






Years ago small town newspapers used to end every article about a social gathering with the phrase, "and a good time was had by all." A very overused phrase back then but there is not a better way to describe our day at the lake. The air was cool and crisp. Traffic on the lake consisted of a flotilla of ducks that passed by occasionally.

The YesterUkes had a "day away" to do some concentrated work on their ukulele skills. While some were busy in the kitchen putting together lunch, others were on the porch jamming and swapping music ideas. "Hey! How'd you do that?" The sound of music and laughter drifted across the water.

Before the practice session, a few members entertained the group with their own songs. There was even a "new" one, "Slide By Slide"--a take-off on the old standard "Side By Side" but with new lyrics about the current stock market condition!

Earlier in the day, before heading to the lake, the YesterUkes entertained residents of Magnolia Manor. Wheelchairs were lining up as we unpacked and tuned instruments and residents waited to see what a ukulele concert could possibly be. Everyone sang along to old favorites. Eyes lit up when Ron and Betty began to waltz as we played and sang the Irvin Berlin classic, "Always". Afterward one sweet lady said that was her wedding song. At the end, several residents declared "This was the best program we've ever had!" Wherever the YesterUkes play, they leave people smiling and remembering good times past.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's Beginning To Sound A Little Like Christmas


Take a walk through any of your local stores and you'll begin to get a holiday buzz. Yes, we know...Halloween hasn't arrived yet, but the merchants are getting ready to make merry. The YesterUkes have begun their preparations also. There were no performances this past week, so we took advantage and began work on our Christmas music. We certainly don't want to mix a "fa" with a "la" when we "Deck The Halls" in December!

The YesterUkes were very new last Christmas. This year, with more than 30 performances to their credit, the YesterUkes plan to make their music sparkle this holiday season. The group has more than doubled. The song list continues to grow as we add more of your holiday favorites.

Last year some people wondered if we knew what we were doing when we started this venture. Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right." We thought we could! If you get to hear the YesterUkes play during the holidays, you're guaranteed to smile.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's A Small, Small World


In a dramatic change of pace, we entertained a very young audience of homeschoolers this week. The YesterUkes typically serenade the silver-haired set, but this time the listeners were mostly four and five-year-olds. The excited chatter of young voices filled the room as they gathered and found a seat on the floor----a place from which our usual audience would never get up! Wiggly bodies quickly settled down and the room grew quiet as the music started.

These kindergartners are learning about musical instruments and the YesterUkes were special visitors for the morning. We played and sang and told about the ukulele--a perfect instrument for children. Its small size is well matched to little hands.


While this group did not get to play, they learned about the four sizes of ukes and heard the sounds of different ukuleles. A few brave youngsters did ask to hold a ukulele after the program. We hope this short introduction to the ukulele might spark some interest and plant seeds for a new generation of ukulele players.


The following day we were back playing songs from yesteryear for the V.I.P. group at First Baptist in Clinton. The kids were cute but it was good to be back doing what we do best--singing songs that cause folks to say, "Ah, I remember when....."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Turn Your Radio On And Listen To The Music In The Air


We've heard those old lyrics for years but never thought the music playing might be ours! On Saturday, the YesterUkes CD was featured on WDRF (1510 AM) during the Rex Skinner Show. It's two hours of "oldies"---songs from the 50s and 60s. The show probably had to stretch a little to include some of our REALLY old songs. It was fun to turn on the car radio and hear our ukulele music. It's just not everyday that you hear ukulele music on the radio----much less ours.

All of this happened because the deejay for that program happened to be in the audience when we played for the Golden Age group a few days earlier. That morning began with one of the best covered dish dinners we have had. Someone has suggested that we start collecting recipes from the many dinners we get to attend and then put together a cookbook. It's a thought....

When we decided months ago to play a few songs for seniors in retirement communities, no one had a clue what an adventure we had embarked upon. Radio airplay, huge newspaper coverage, festival invitations, pub and restaurant venues.... We must be doing something right. We plan to stay focused on sharing music and memories with older audiences but we'll also enjoy the adventure!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Every Morning, Every Evening, Ain't We Got Fun?

There probably is a law against having so much fun! Sixty-five seniors rocked out to the rhythms of the YesterUkes when they played Thursday after lunch at the Mauldin Senior Center. For about forty-five minutes, the band entertained the group with tunes from the 40s and 50s. It was the first time that people got up and danced to the music! Can we say we're a dance band now? It would be difficult to say who enjoyed it more---players or listeners.

The afternoon ended with a standing ovation from one of the liveliest senior groups in the upstate. As we were packing up, the activity director confessed that it was hard work to get her members to come that day...there were some very skeptical people when they heard a ukulele band was the entertainment. But comments after the program were mostly of the "best program ever" variety. She was one relieved activity director!


On Saturday night, the YesterUkes played to a full house at the Village Cup. Twinkling lights in the windows and flickering candlelight inside invited folks into this cozy coffee house to sit back, relax with a frozen mocha and enjoy the music. In addition to the big band standards, the YesterUkes played and sang songs from the 50s and 60s. Patrons sang along as the band played familiar tunes. Bob wowed listeners with his rendition of a couple of 50s favorites. All musicians love a good audience and this one ranked right up there with the best.

Why do the YesterUkes work so hard to bring this music to their listeners? One story from Saturday night may explain it best: A lady from out-of-town said she had come to visit her elderly father-in-law. She brought him to the Village Cup for supper and was surprised to find a ukulele band playing that night. She said her father-in-law didn't find much to enjoy these days but much to her surprise, he sang every song we played! She was delighted and very grateful that he was so happy for that evening. These small ukuleles can be powerful instruments for good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here A Baptist, There A Baptist, Everywhere A Baptist...

As the sun was sparkling on the water at Lake Greenwood, folks scrambled to set up more tables and chairs just before the annual senior picnic, sponsored by the Laurens Baptist Association, was scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM. The attendance was expected to be about 100 people but it quickly grew to a record 161! (Could it be they came to hear the YesterUkes?) Folks were squeezed into every corner of the building.
In short order things were underway and the YesterUkes led their largest sing-along to date. For about 45 minutes the large audience sang along with tunes from the Big Band to the Doo Wop era. It was so much fun to hear that many voices join together.

After the music folks enjoyed the largest covered dish lunch many had ever seen. Good ol' Southern cooking at its best. The desserts alone covered several tables. And while we ate, we visited with many friends.

We are beginning to get some feedback on the YesterUkes CD. Just in from Virginia: "Loved your CD! Loved hearing those Southern accents." The CDs will be available at the Village Cup in Laurens on September 27 for $10. Or you can contact a YesterUke member or email yesterukes@gmail.com for ordering information.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rockin' At The Red Barn




Outside a light rain provided relief from the heat and inside diners were greeted with the aroma of sizzling steaks and shrimp and grits. They also were treated to the upbeat songs of the YesterUkes who entertained for over an hour. Songs from the 1920s kicked off the evening and then moved on through the decades to the mid-1960s. There was even a ukulele version of the 60s surfing hit,"Wipe Out"!

Diners joined in, singing along with the band, while they waited for food to arrive at their tables. Smiling faces and tapping feet were evidence that everyone was having have fun. The low chatter of voices and the clinking of dinnerware made a pleasant mix with the music. This was a most excellent evening at the Red Barn Restaurant in Gray Court.

If you missed the YesterUkes this week, they'll be back at the Red Barn in the future. In the meantime, enjoy a fine meal there. You'll find the menu and driving directions at their web site, http://www.redbarnsc.com/

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dr. Uke!


The YesterUkes want to send a Happy Birthday wish to Dr. Jim Rosokoff-- better known to us as Dr. Uke. Our entire ukulele adventure began with a single visit to http://www.doctoruke.com/ when Dianne was searching for a way to learn to play the ukulele she bought in Hawaii. A "thank you" email from her to Dr. Uke and a quick response from him began a camaraderie that has grown for the past year. Dr. Uke, who resides in Connecticut, has tirelessly explained, educated and encouraged this fledgling band in South Carolina.

Following his example and using his material, so generously provided on his web site, the YesterUkes began to grow as a band and develop a following of their own. The YesterUkes went from six players who gave the first performance in September 2007 to a merry band of 16 musicians from across the upstate of South Carolina in August, 2008, with performances scheduled into 2009.
It is with much gratitude that a HUGE birthday greeting and good wishes are sent all the way from the sunny South to our mentor in New England. "Happy Birthday, Dr. Uke!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Start The Day With A Song



Starting the morning with a song is almost guarantees a good day. Residents of Pendleton Manor, along with friends and family, gathered to join the YesterUkes in a song fest today. For nearly an hour everyone took a trip back in time, singing songs that were once favorites. These folks sang right along as a dozen YesterUkes strummed their hearts out. Smiling, they sang out, tapped and clapped along.....and the YesterUkes even got one loud "Amen!"
Maybe this "ukulele crazy" group will visit again and bring another musical memory trip to this lovely place.
The next performance of the YesterUkes will be on Friday, September 5, 6:30 PM at the Red Barn in Gray Court. This restaurant is located just off Hwy 14 near Laurens. The food is always delicious. Steaks are just one specialty. Call 682-2771 for dinner reservations.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I've Got Rhythm...



It's as simple as walking and chewing gum at the same time....or at least it should be. The YesterUkes spent the afternoon with Kiya Heartwood, half of the duo "Wishing Chair", learning about rhythm. Our group is basically an all-ukulele band but a little percussion puts pizazz in our songs.
We worked on rhythm patterns while strumming our ukes. The hardest is getting muted sound at the right time. (First we worked so hard to make the chords sound right and now we only want a little thump sound......geez.) Then we learned about different rhythm instruments. No drum kits here....we need instruments that will fit in a tote bag. Kiya had members shaking, tapping and thumping. Spoons, egg shakers, tamborines, a paddle drum (not all at the same time) rattled, jingled, tapped and boomed. It looked pretty easy until it your turn to try. Learning to make "remedial" spoons might help us add that soft-shoe rhythm that we want.
Like everything else, it's mostly a matter of practice. So if you see someone counting "1-2-3-4" over and over while tapping on their steering wheel or if your neighbor is on the back porch pounding out tribal rhythms, it could be one of the YesterUkes working on songs for their next show.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Greetings to the YesterUkes from Hawaii

Every day is an adventure. Today we received a message from Hawaii. Here is an excerpt:

"Aloha YesterUkes,
One of our ukulele instructors, David Heakulani, sent us a wonderful news article about the wonderful work you're doing! Congratulations and Mahalo (thank you) for being an inspiration to us here in Hilo!" ---East Hawaii Cultural Center

It's amazing that news of the YesterUkes has reached around the globe. Wonder what's next?

Here is one for the memory books. Do you remember the first time you saw these young men? Did your parents approve(or was their hair too long to be respectable)? Enjoy this video from 1994 as they sing a favorite song of the YesterUkes. Sometimes "Keeping it simple" is as good as it gets.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Christmas in August

It's too hot to be outdoors. Which makes it a perfect time to stay inside, strum a little uke and think about Christmas songs. If thinking about December doesn'trick you into feeling a little cooler, at least you will have a head start on your holiday music. Here is a good place to start building your own Christmas music collection:

http://www.tusc.co.uk/songbook.html
Look for The Christmas Ukulele Songbook. It contains over 20 songs with chords.

The YesterUkes will begin working on their holiday music shortly. People have started booking Christmas events already. If you would like the YesterUkes to play for your holiday happening, contact them soon.
(think cool...think cool...think cool...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summertime surprise

It has hovered close to 100 degrees for the last few days. When it is this hot, wishing for an island escape begins. The YesterUkes had the next best thing yesterday when we played at Rabon Creek Baptist Church. What a surprise to walk in, all loaded down with instruments and equipment, and discover that we had arrived at their "tropical island." The fellowship hall was filled with tropical flowers, tiki torches, leis and tablecloths in every shade of blue.....then it got even better. Their members began arriving, each one in island attire.

The food was wonderful. Southern cooks are the best! It wasn't easy to sing and play after all that delicious food but we weren't about to skip lunch. Then the YesterUkes invited the senior members to sing along as we took a trip down memory lane. And after the program, the YesterUkes enjoyed hearing stories about the songs we sang---"That was our favorite song when we were dating" and "I loved to hear my mother sing that one." We hope we get to come back and enjoy this gracious hospitality.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Well, this is easier than I would have thought. I have added our schedule to this blog. We get many requests for information about our performances. This will be a convenient way to let everyone know where we will be.


To get to this blog, go to yesterukes.blogspot.com. Add this to your "Favorites" or bookmark it so that you can get back here easily. Let your friends and family know about this blog. It's great new part of the YesterUkes.


Thanks, Katie for making this happen! It's nice to know nice people.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Learning to blog....

This is a first for me--I'm new to the blog-o-sphere, if that's even what you call it. As soon as I learn what I'm doing I will post a schedule of upcoming dates for the YesterUkes.

There are several for churches, retirement communities and senior groups but we also have a few at local restaurants. Just think, an evening of good food and ukulele music! It's actually quite a good time.

Check back soon for the dates and locations.

Dianne
Stay tuned for tour dates and other updates from the YesterUkes. In the meantime, enjoy this video: