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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homegrown Tomatoes

Green Pond United Methodist Church, established in 1866, is tucked away in the corner of a rural county. The Yesterukes found their way to the country church in time for supper before the program. They were delighted to learn that the church is famous for their tomato sandwiches...made the classic way--nothing but sliced ripe tomato, white bread, mayo, salt and pepper. Just imagine several platters of these wonderful sandwiches and enough other home cooked food and desserts to fill three tables. And people wonder why the Yesterukes like to play so many places!

But we had come to make music. And make music we did. After dinner, folks young and old, and every age in between, gathered in the sanctuary. A dozen Yesterukes, dressed in their blue shirts, sang for about 40 minutes. Little kids bounced in rhythm to the songs. Adults sang along, heads bobbing, fingertips tapping out the beat on the pews. Each age group heard songs they knew and loved. A couple of the oldest listeners told us afterwards that they were so glad they had come. We were honored that some, not in the best of health, made such great effort to attend.

When the music was over, the Yesterukes got to visit with the Green Pond UMC members. Getting to know people all over the upstate of South Carolina has been fun for us. Then it was time to go home. The Yesterukes had just the kind of evening they enjoy---wonderful food, good music and a great audience. What more could we want?

And, yes, our blog title, as always is a song title. It's a popular song from songwriter Guy Clark. A couple of lines from the chorus tell us...
"There's just two things that money can't buy,
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes."

Homegrown Tomatoes, by Guy Clark, 1983

Friday, August 28, 2009

In The Summertime

On a day that was hotter and more humid than predicted, the Yesterukes began arriving at Lake Greenwood. Several took the "scenic route" as they tried to find the cabin by the lake. The road where we met does not exist--according to GPS and MapQuest! The best seats in the house were the ones on the porch under the fans. Take a look at our day. If you are on Facebook, become a fan of the Yesterukes (just search for "Yesterukes") and see the entire photo album.

In The Summertime, by Mungo Jerry, 1970

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tiny Bubbles

Tiny bubbles. Not the song--real bubbles. Tiny bubbles, large bubbles, too many bubbles, not enough bubbles.

We often end our programs with our version of the song that ended the Lawrence Welk TV shows many years ago--"Goodbye, Ladies." (We changed "goodnight" to "goodbye" since most of our programs are in the daytime.) Everyone remembers that song.

Always wanting to make people smile, we thought bubbles would be the perfect touch for this song. And it has been...most of the time. The first time, there weren't enough bubbles. Do you know how much air it takes to blow lots and lots of bubbles? Someone suggested a kids bubble machine. Great idea! But the machine overflowed, leaving a very slick floor in a nursing home. The bubble machine was banished.

Since then we've tried assorted bubble wands. Single hole. Multiple holes. Today it was a giant wand, which didn't want to cooperate. The audience wondered why the gentleman in the back was standing behind us, waving his arms about while we sang. Then, at last, lovely large bubbles appeared. They floated up and out over the band. And the crowd cheered and burst into applause!

Those bubbles did make a glorious ending to our program today -- a huge gathering from the Foothills Presbytery. Think they would have loved us, with or without the bubbles.

"Tiny Bubbles", by Don Ho, 1967.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

100 degrees! The weatherman just proclaimed today the hottest day of the year. No argument from any of us. But the temperature was just fine inside.

Almost 70 seniors gathered for good food, fellowship and music. As people were coming into the fellowship hall, they heard music playing over the church sound system. It was our CD! Even some of our own band members came in, listened, tilted their head as they listened harder, and then asked, "Is that us? We sound pretty good!"

We had a great time sharing and singing, remembering things as we went. Like when houses had one television, three channels and more good TV shows than we could count. And now a home is likely to have three or four TV sets, 300 channels, and nothing to watch! Our TV tribute song today was the theme from Rawhide. Just think, a ukulele version of Rawhide, complete with whips (well, the whip sound) and shouting. All we lacked were the cows.

The YesterUkes sang many songs. And because no one was in a hurry to go out in the heat, we sang some more. We had lots of fun meeting the people of Calvary Baptist Church and their friends.

"Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight", by Metz & Hayden, 1896

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again

Today's program at Christ Church Episcopal ended with enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation. The first performance after time off is always a little unnerving, but these folks were so into the music that we couldn't help but do well.

We had some teens in the audience who were here visiting and had come to hear Granddad sing. We commented that maybe they hadn't heard these old songs we love so much. After the program a lady rushed to the front to tell us that the first song we sang, "Ain't We Got Fun"(1914), was on TV last night. It was dance music for a finalist couple on "So You Think You Can Dance." So maybe they have heard these songs--and just not known how old they were! Good music is good music. And will come back again and again.

Another lady, just beaming, came to tell us how much fun she'd had. She said, "I knew the words to every song...until you got to that one from 1949. That was the year after I finished school and I don't know any songs after that!" But she liked listening to the "new" songs from the 1950s & 60s.

So, we left with a standing ovation, good CD sales, and a return date booked. Not bad for the first day back.

"Everything Old Is New Again" by Peter Allen, featured in "All That Jazz"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where Did We Go Right?

Everywhere we play, someone wants to know, "How did the YesterUkes get started?" For those who have asked, here is how it began... The original five members were part of a ukulele class taught at Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center in Laurens, SC. We didn't start out to be a band. It was just fun being together. In fact it was so much fun, that the first five members invited friends to join us. And we quickly grew to ten.

After we played a couple of programs, the ball started rolling. Word of the "ukulele people" began to spread. A huge article in a Sunday edition of the Greenville News last summer brought a flood of requests for programs---and brought us Susan who read about us and called to ask about joining. Chandler drove his wife to weekly practices, and always sat in the back, reading a book. But he decided that we were having entirely too much fun! He learned to play ukulele and is now in the band.

Bruce, a baritone uke player, heard us perform at his church and asked if he could join. (And we quickly said "Yes!) After retiring, Dick told a friend he would like to play with us. And the word was passed along to us and he soon belonged. A YesterUkes business card given to a stranger was passed along to his ukulele-playing friend Jim, who called to ask if he could come visit a practice. He did. And he stayed.

The last person to join had heard about the YesterUkes and simply kept asking around until he found where we practiced. And then Ralph showed up, ukulele in hand. There are now 17 members who come from seven towns in three counties in upstate South Carolina.

Thanks to YouTube, you can be a part of our group, too...if only for a few minutes. Join us at a recent practice as you listen:

Where Did We Go Right, by Johnny Cash, 1958