Thursday, May 27, 2010
Just like sports teams study game film, we study our videos. It's the only way to find what needs work. Practice means just that--a work session, not just time to play music together. But it's still fun. And it does pay off.
If you've seen some of our earlier videos, we hope you can see improvement in these latest ones. We're pretty sure we can. And be certain that there are some videos that you'll never see! The Yesterukes borrowed the motto, "Learn by doing" from the 4H clubs. It worked for them and it has worked for us, too. After nearly 100 performances, we've learned much. We thankfully had kind audiences in the very beginning--ones who encouraged us to keep going.
Here we are, starting a concert last week the way we start every program--with our version of Sweet Georgia Brown.
We'll be putting more videos here from time to time. But if you want more now, you can find another right here!
We'd love to hear what you think. Leave us a comment.
It's Just A Matter Of Time, Brook Benton, 1959
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Friday, May 21, 2010
The instant the concert was over, she made a beeline for the director, pointing her finger in a sweeping motion toward the Yesterukes still on stage. "I don't know anything about this stuff--but I just know I want to do it! How do I get started?" That kind of enthusiasm is always a sign that we did a good job. And this lady wasn't the only one. There were enough people asking about playing uke last night to consider starting another "How to Play Uke" class.
The Yesterukes played a full hour program for a packed house of friends, family, and residents of Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Community. We mixed a few new solo pieces in with our standard set. We continue to discover hidden talents among our players and this concert gave them time to shine.
The Martha Franks Community was where this whole ukulele thing started, when an 8-week class was offered for residents. It was all so innocent. No expectations of anything more. But three years later, that little class has evolved into a 20-piece ukulele band that has performed for thousands.
The comments that were the most fun for us to hear were the Martha Franks residents who, in amazement, remarked, "Oh my goodness, you guys are SO MUCH BETTER than you used to be!" Lots of practice, lots of hard work, lots of performing. That's how you get better.
Getting Better, The Beatles, 1967
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Thursday, May 13, 2010
The most fragile of audiences gathered mid-afternoon. Some came in wheelchairs. Nurses rolled others into the room in bed-like reclining chairs. Some were alert, others dozed quietly.
The Yesterukes were at their best, playing songs they hoped would tap memories for these residents. A few in the audience sang, another conducted from the back of the room. And one sweet faced lady clapped in rhythm with our music.
Outside the glassed-in activity room, staff stopped to watch and listen. One man even took a break from his sweeping to do a little dancing with his broom. Family members there to visit loved ones came out to see what was happening and lingered a bit, smiling when they returned to the room they were visiting.
And when the program was done, the Yesterukes in their blue shirts, spent some time with the residents, lingering long enough to hold a hand or touch a shoulder, as they listened and chatted. The last comment heard was a quiet voice saying, "I hope you'll be back again soon."
After All These Years, by Journey, 2008
Monday, May 10, 2010
It was 92 degrees at 5:30 as we were setting up for an outdoor event. Wow! That's hot even though we live in the South. A very not-typical heat wave had descended on us just in time for the 2nd annual Sip & Stroll on the town square.
We gathered just the local players for this three hour evening and enjoyed playing some favorite tunes as people strolled around the square and sampled an assortment of wines from Biltmore Winery. A dozen merchants provided hor d'oeuvres and a different wine for tasting. Local musicians were stationed on sides of the square to provide entertainment. Restaurants and businesses on the square were all open for the evening.
As the sun dropped below the skyline (the two story buildings behind us), it finally cooled down a little. While most folks sipped and strolled, we sat and sang, enjoying each other's company, visiting with friends and neighbors, and making music together.
Heat Wave, by Irving Berlin, 1933
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Thursday, May 6, 2010
It's a good feeling when a group asks us to come back again. It makes us feel appreciated. We played at Christ Church Episcopal last fall and before we left that day, they scheduled us to come again and play twice as long! We must be doing something right. And the audience there is so good, just joining right in to sing along with us. We love that.
For almost an hour we sang songs from the 1920s all the way to the new songs from the 1960s. We know...we know... Our "new" songs are 50 years old. But it doesn't seem that long ago, does it?
One of the best times of any gig is right after we finish when we get to visit with some of the listeners. A few of today's comments--"Will you teach me to play ukulele? I want to get in this group!" "I can't see any longer, but I can listen. It was so good to hear all these songs I know." "I knew absolutely every song you played but one. Where on earth did you dig that one up?" "I loved it, I loved it!" "Will you come back next year?"
Yes! We would love to come again. Now, let's see. Where is that 2011 calendar?
Till We Meet Again, by Richard White & Raymond Egan, 1918