Friday, January 1, 2016
If you have been an observant reader of this blog for a long time, you might have noticed that for years now, each blog post title has been a song title. A note was always at the bottom of the post listing the song title, artist or composer and the year. It was just a fun way to acknowledge our musical purpose.
Finding a title for this post was a little harder. The time has come for the writer of this blog (me,) the founder of the Yesterukes (me,) the musical director of the band (me,) and the band manager (also me) to step down.
I considered other song titles that I could have used for this final blog post. For years I thought The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On), Irving Berlin, 1927, would be my final post. There'll Be Some Changes Made by Overstreet & Blackstone, 1921 would certainly have worked. I even thought about using Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, The Mills Brothers, 1951. But a song about seasons of life felt right.
From our accidental beginning nine years ago to our performance for a huge audience a couple of weeks ago, it has all been fun. I taught "How To Play Ukulele For Fun" in February 2007. The five adult students who finished that 8-week class played a few songs to entertain the residents at the retirement home where the class was taught. Then we played for a slightly bigger audience and the band began to grow.
For that first "big" gig, the band was called The Sutton Strummers. But soon after that I pulled a new name out of thin air—"The Yesterukes." A better name. A name that could last beyond me. That name stuck. The Yesterukes are now well known across the upstate of South Carolina.
The Yesterukes have entertained thousands of people of all ages. We played for large audiences and we played in tiny venues. We learned something from every gig. Even the ones that didn't go so well. Especially the ones that didn't go so well. Thankfully there weren't many of those.
I'm sure I learned more than anyone. I've always been a music maker, but leading a band was a new experience for me. There was so much to learn—about conducting skills, about sound equipment, about managing bookings, about branding and creating good PR for the band. I learned that working with a large band is as much about having people skills as music skills. Thank goodness, I had much help along the way.
This wonderful band of senior adults has been a huge part of my life for a long time. It has been part of who I am. Part of my identity. It wasn't easy to decide it was time to step down, but like the song says, "To everything there is a season." There are other interests that I'd like to pursue and there are three grandchildren—I didn't have any when the band started—that need more attention from their Mimi now.
The band will continue with exciting new leadership and direction. This blog will have a new voice. I'll watch with great interest as they explore new opportunities and grow even stronger.
A special thanks goes to my husband, who from the very beginning, supported me and this band in every way you can imagine. Without him, there would have been no Yesterukes at all..
Please continue to watch this blog to see what changes are coming. The band schedule will continue to be listed on the sidebar. You'll find new contact information there, too.
Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season), The Byrds, 1965