Friday, December 16, 2011
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
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
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
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
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