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Friday, April 30, 2010

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!

The voice on the answering machine said, "We're excited to have you at the Strawberry Festival! You have a slot at 12:15. Call if you have any questions." But there was no more information--no date, no town, no phone number. And we didn't have this on our schedule. A total mystery!

Googling "strawberry festival" showed one next week in eastern North Carolina. There was another one in Florida. But those aren't anywhere near us. Completely puzzled, we posted a message on the Yesterukes' Facebook page, asking if anyone knew anything about this.

Then, we rode to nearby Stewart Farms to see if they knew of any festivals in the area. (They didn't.) And bought a gallon of strawberries while we were there. We've had many different experiences since starting our band, but this was a first. A mystery gig!

Later the phone rang again. Someone had seen our plea for information on Facebook and called to tell us which festival it was. We still don't know how we got booked at the Strawberry Festival in Slater, SC. Will we play? That's another mystery. If not this year, maybe another.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!, by Victor Herbert, 1910

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bits And Pieces

As soon as the last note of The Lion Sleeps Tonight sounded, a lady on the back row shouted, "I'll give you twenty-five cents for him!" The song and the singer are always a hit, but it was the first time someone offered to keep him! The audience at Skylyn Place had a great time singing along with the Yesterukes who sang their way from the 1920s to the 1960s.

We even had a groupie come with a poster she made to cheer us on. (Now, it's entirely possible that she was related to one of us. But we were still excited.)

One bright-eyed lady bounced up after the program to tell us how much she enjoyed the music. We told her we were waiting for her to get up and dance because we could see how full of energy she was. Her words were, "Oh, honey, I can dance! I live every day wide open. I'm not going to just sit here. And, by the way, I'll be 81 on my birthday!"

Last week we entertained a large group at NHC. All but two were in wheel chairs but everyone was alert and listening. We teased them that we rocked and they rolled! It was the fastest 45 minutes ever. These folks would have loved more. When we finished, a sweet white-haired lady asked, "Are you coming back tomorrow?" We wish we could have. We'll be back another time, though.

And the Yesterukes are in the news again. A wonderful full page article in the Clinton Chronicle captured the spirit of the Yesterukes in words and pictures. We love sharing our story.

Bits And Pieces, Dave Clark Five, 1964

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Watch What Happens

When ukulele players from across the Southeast gather by a lake on a beautiful spring day, good things are bound to happen. The Charleston Hotshots hosted CUKEOUT today at Lake Greenwood, SC to give uke enthusiasts a chance to meet each other and play together.

It was great to meet other players. People came from the Atlanta, Georgia area, different parts of North Carolina and of course, several towns in South Carolina. There was even a couple from Wisconsin who spend part of the year in North Carolina.

The Charleston Hotshots planned and hosted this event. And entertained us with their songs. We all want a bucket bass now! Thanks, Hotshots, for making this happen.

We got a chance to sing a few of our songs.

Seeing lots of ukuleles of all varieties was interesting. We usually only see other styles online .

We also heard so many styles of music--finger picking, blues, ragtime, jug tunes, jazz, tin pan ally, rock, etc. It was quite an education for us. Lots of ideas for the Yesterukes.

Group songs were part of the schedule. For folks that had never met before, we didn't sound too bad when we played together.

You can't have a ukulele gathering without a little Hawaiian music.

It was a gorgeous day at Lake Greenwood. A great chance to practice a little in peace. The ice cream pontoon even passed by in the afternoon.

Players came with spouses, children, pets and friends.

It was a good day for everyone. We hope CUKEOUT #2 happens in the fall. Maybe you'll join us!

Watch What Happens, recorded by Frank Sinatra, 1969

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Close To You

Togetherness we're used to. Being packed in like sardines is taking it to the next level. Our band members are in the senior adult age group, so it's common for two or three of us to be at a doctor visit, another few off traveling, and maybe someone is babysitting grandchildren. We rarely have all of our group present at a program. But for this program, 19 of our 21 members were present. 19 ukulele players take up a lot of floor space. We squeezed together as tightly as possible on a small stage. And prayed no one fell off the front!

The Yesterukes had a great time at Aldersgate United Methodist Church with the Prime Timers. They also had a huge crowd and the fellowship hall was packed. We had fun singing our old songs and having the Prime Timers sing along with us.

After the program, there was such good fellowship with the church members. One lady told a Yesteruke, "Today was truly a sentimental journey!" Another said, "I'm 90 years old (she didn't look a day over 75) and I knew ALL those songs." Someone else commented, "We really thought one of the ukulele players was going to bounce right off the stage." (Sometimes we really get into the music.)

We are fully aware that we are a senior adult group, but most of us don't feel particularly old. Sometimes, though, we are reminded of our age. Like when the pastor made this remark--the church pastor, sporting as much gray hair as some of us, introduced himself after the program. He told us that he knew many of our songs---because he had heard his father sing them! What can we say?

Close To You, recorded by Frank Sinatra, 1943

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are You Havin' Any Fun?

No doubt about it! The Yesterukes had fun this afternoon.

Noodle McDoodle from Charleston, SC came to the upstate to teach us a few new tricks.

Learning to do things in a different way is not always easy.

But the sound of new harmonies was exciting!

And just for fun, we brought photos of ourselves from years and years ago... see if we could recognize each other.

A few were easy to recognize--some people just never change--and others were much harder to identify.

This occasion was worthy of a celebration! Caramel frosting and a Hershey bar fret board on a one-of-a-kind cake that didn't last very long at break time.

Then we discovered that Mrs. Noodle could tap dance! And there was no way we were letting her go without a demonstration.

No doubt about it---the Yesterukes had a lot of fun today.

Are You Havin' Any Fun?
, by Yellen & Fain, 1939

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