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Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas To You


Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season. Take a few minutes to breathe and to marvel at the blessings all around you.

The Yesterukes will be taking a winter break. Look for us back here on the internet in about 6 weeks or so. We're old. We need the rest.

Thank you to all who have visited us here during the year. We would love it if you readers would leave a comment here at the end of this blog post. Or, you can visit our Facebook page and leave a comment or greeting there as well. We will enjoy reading them while we are on break.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!




The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You), Mel Torme & Robert Walls, 1946



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?


No emergency. Just the last gig of the year. People were surprised to walk into the hospital lobby and hear a ukulele band. The Yesterukes played for patients and staff at St. Francis Hospital--an opportunity to spread a little holiday joy.


There were so many smiles as people passed by. Some paused to listen. Others sang along as they walked down the hall.


And what was the most favorite song of our Christmas program? The same one people always like--Rawhide! 


Do You Hear What I Hear?, Harry Simeone Chorale, 1962



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home For The Holidays


Another Christmas dinner, another holiday music program. The Yesterukes have been well fed this year as they have provided entertainment for several Christmas parties. The United Methodist Men's Club and the United Methodist Women combined to have one big party for the members of Laurens United Methodist Church.


Santa Claus made a surprise visit and for once, it was all grown-ups who got to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.


After the meal, the Yesterukes were happy to entertain. In between songs, we shared stories of our musical experiences over the years. Everyone joined together singing Christmas favorites. There was lots of laughter and lots of fun.


The Laurens UMC has let the Yesterukes practice in this same fellowship hall when our regular practice location has been unavailable, so it felt like coming home for the members of the band. We were happy to give something back--our gift of music--to the church that has supported our work.


Elvis appeared to sing Blue Christmas and the audience loved it. Another highlight of the evening was the whistling solo in White Christmas. People were standing and stretching to see who was whistling. It was Susan, our whistling pro.

In the last few days, the Yesterukes have brought smiles and joy to almost 600 people. Another ukulele player and blogger summed it up best when she said...
"One of my teachers reminded me often that the audience won’t remember what you sing, or say, or play, but they will remember how you make them feel."-
Our goal is to make people happy. And we hope that while doing so we also play good music.


When the evening ended with a standing ovation, we were pretty sure we had met our goal.



Home For The Holidays, Perry Como, 1954



Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays


A huge crowd showed up for the return visit of the Yesterukes to the XYZ Club at Taylors First Baptist Church. Everyone who had enjoyed the Yesterukes before must have brought a friend. Over 400 people gathered for lunch, fellowship and music.


The Yesterukes who always dress in blue stood out among the sea of red sweaters, as most folks were dressed in their holiday finery. It was a most festive place.


The Yesterukes were instructed play for about 30 minutes and to watch for the lids on the serving dishes to be lifted as the signal to wind up the program. When the 30 minutes passed, the club president said to keep singing. It turned out that a food delivery truck had not come and the chef had made a quick run to Sam's Club to buy the vegetables for lunch. He needed a little extra time to get everything done. The Yesterukes were happy for the extra time. And the audience got to hear and "encore" rendition of "Rawhide." 


During the Christmas season, it is not unusual for Elvis to make a surprise appearance. He wowed the audience with his version of "Blue Christmas."


After the event was over, ladies made their way to the front looking for Elvis. One wanted her picture made with him. Another wanted his autograph. They were all told that he had already gone. One lady then turned and shouted to the crowd, "Elvis has left the building!"

There were so many wonderful things said by so many people today. Too many to mention. Except for one too special not to share. A lovely lady stopped to tell us, "This was so good. I am 94 years old, so if I am not here the next time you come to play, I want you to know I loved what you did today. Thank you for coming."

That is why we do what we do. We sincerely hope she is there the next time.



Happy Holidays, Irving Berlin, 1942



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Time Is Here


It was one of those nights. One of those rare evenings when everything was just right. The Yesterukes arrived at The Woodlands at Furman for the first Christmas program of their season. They found their way to a lovely room and were surprised to see only three rows of chairs set up for the audience.


But there wasn't too much time to wonder why so few chairs. They went to work setting up, tuning instruments, getting everything ready for the show.


Residents and visitors began to find their way to the room. And come they did. Soon, folks were scrambling to pull out more chairs. Then they rolled in even more chairs from the dining room. People lined the walls. And the last ones to arrive stood in the doorways and listened from the hallway.


The program started with a few old standards just to get everyone warmed up. Smiles started to spread across the room when they realized the Yesterukes play songs they all know.


The band then began the Christmas portion of the program, playing for the standing room only crowd that had come to see what a "Yesteruke" was. 


The Yesterukes always invite the audience to sing along. And sing along, these folks did. 


They sang favorites like Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland. They sang Mele Kalikimaka and Christmas Island, along with many others.


There were the kids' favorites, too. They sang about Rudolph and Frosty and Santa Claus. And the evening ended with some carols.


When the music ended and the applause died down, people came forward to thank the band. One lovely lady said, "This is the finest program we've ever had here." And another explained why there were only three rows of chairs at the beginning. "I've never seen this many people here. We usually don't have too many come to these programs. You really drew a crowd." 

Another wanted to say, "I've seen you several times and I announced today that if people didn't come hear you they would miss the best group to ever come here. You didn't let me down!" One man found the band leader to tell her, "You need to call Garrison Keillor. You are exactly the kind of act he likes. If you call now, maybe next year you could be part of his Christmas program." And the last gentleman only had a question --"How soon are you coming back?"

It was one of those wonderful evenings for the band and the audience. Christmas time is here.



Christmas Time Is Here, by Vince Guaraldi, 1965


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anticipation


Every program begins the same way. Ukulele players in blue shirts unpack their gear, tuck the instrument cases out of sight, find a seat and sneak a few minutes of warm-up time before the concert begins.


And there might be a little visiting that goes on while some are still tuning up. Belonging to the Yesterukes is as much social time for its members as it is music time. There are strong bonds that form between players. We truly miss the ones who can't be with us. The music sounds different when a few folks are away. And the group feels different when we don't have everyone together. But like all good bands, we live by that old saying, "The show must go on." And we do well with which ever set of people end up on stage.


There is always excitement and anticipation as people begin to gather. They often are not sure what a "Yesteruke" is and don't quite know what to expect. We are so happy they are brave enough to come anyway. And we are all the more determined to give them a good show.


By the time everyone had rolled in, we had a nearly full house at Bailey Manor for an afternoon show. And they quickly found out what we do. Everyone there had fun, but there was one man in particular, seating in a wheelchair, who had the biggest grin on his face the whole time. He sang along with nearly every song we sang. It's the folks like him who give us the energy to step it up a notch.

They asked for an encore--which we were happy to sing. And then wanted just one more. When it was over, we heard that comment again...."I've never seen anything quite like this!" This time it came from an activity director at a neighboring nursing home. She also asked for our card so that she can book us in the spring, so we'll take her comment as a compliment!




Anticipation, Carly Simon, 1971



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mountain Greenery


It was the perfect day to be in the mountains. The Yesterukes were at Palmetto Cove to entertain at the NC/SC Airstream Rally. These folks had come from across the Carolinas to enjoy a few days together. When we arrived, some were outside playing games, others were busy with a basket weaving class and one group of ladies was hard at work in the kitchen, getting food ready for lunch and dinner. 

Others were just taking it easy in the rocking chairs at the picnic shelter, enjoying the view. There was a lecture scheduled for later in the day. A full calendar of activities was available for those who had made the trip. We were there to play a concert just after lunch. 

We had a great time singing and playing for a group who thoroughly enjoyed our music. After we finished, so many wanted to talk to us. We hear such nice comments everywhere we go. Most of the comments are typically, "Oh, I knew all of those songs" and "What memories that brought back." And we love and value each one of those. But every now and then someone has something a little different to add.

One gentleman patiently waited his turn after we finished this program to say, "I just wanted to tell you that I've been to hundreds of Airstream Rallies over the years. I've been to national rallies and I've even been to a few international rallies. And I want you to know that today--what you did here this afternoon--it was THE best program I've ever heard at any of the events I've attended." Wow. We are honored. Thank you, sir.

Here are some highlights from our day...















Mountain Greenery, Rodgers & Hart. 1926

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Could Happen To You

It can happen to the best of us. 165 blog posts. Probably a thousand emails sent to band members. One group email list for the blog. One group email list for the band. One line apart in the email address book.

And everyone always got the right communication. Until this week. One 'mis-click' of the finger and the people who subscribe to the blog by email got the email about band practice with a reminder to bring their music stands.

The majority just ignored the goof. But there were others who responded. Those responses varied from the sympathetic, "So glad to know I'm not the only one who's done this" to the sassy, "I'd come but I don't think I can be there on time coming from Canada" and "Shouldn't you have told me I was in the band?" to the cute, "We were going to come but LK doesn't have a music stand."


Might have been fun if someone had actually shown up, ukulele in hand. We could have shared music stands.


It Could Happen To You, Johnny Burke & Jimmy Van Heusen, 1944



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Talk

After the program for the First Presbyterian Church PEP club, audience members (which included members of First Baptist Church, too) gathered around the Yesterukes to say how much they had enjoyed the music. We heard again and again, "I knew every one of those songs!" We knew that because they all sang along with us. It was an especially good audience.

As the room began to clear, one band member said a lady had just told her, "Your group is just so professional." And the Yesteruke player looked at the rest of us and added, "Well, that's the first time we've been accused of that!"







By the time we got home, this email had arrived...

Please pass along our thanks to all the Yesterukes for coming to be with us today! Everybody just loved every minute of it; you all are quite talented, and you make it such fun.

And these good folks made it fun for us, too.



Happy Talk, Rogers & Hammerstein, 1949



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Sound Of Silence

It has never happened before. Setting up the sound equipment for a program is a chore but it's just part of the gig. But this time after hooking up all of the cords and plugs and cables, there was no sound coming from a couple of mics and the single plugged-in uke. We had just used it all last week so we were pretty certain the equipment itself was okay.

It more likely had something to do with the spaghetti-like pile of cords piled at the bottom of the main mic. Something was not hooked up right. But finding the problem when you're watching the clock tick down until it's time to start is nerve-wracking. 

Thankfully Simpsonville First Baptist Church has an audio-visual professional on staff who happened to be in the event space. And the Yesterukes' own sound pro got there just before it was time to start. And because they were there, it was all untangled and corrected and the show went on without a hitch. 

After the music (and a standing ovation) so many people came up to tell us how much they had enjoyed the music. One lady told us, "You all are wonderful. We've never had anything like this for a program before." That would be because there is nothing like the Yesterukes! So glad they enjoyed us and have already booked up for next year.



And there is great hope that next time, we will be ready, diagram in hand now, to get it all done right. The first time.



The Sound Of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel, 1964