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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

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 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!