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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!