Greetings (from Whistler, BC)!

I’m assuming you all know that registration for the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival (September 10, 11 & 12) is underway and workshops are filling quickly.  We’re doing things a little differently this year in that you must pre-register for the workshops so we can have a little better control on attendance.  Here are some links:   Saturday Workshop Schedule, Sunday Workshop Schedule,  and  Workshop Registration.

We also have a number of volunteer “opportunities” available, including some coveted spots as workshop monitors. Workshop monitors get to attend the workshops for half-price and simply have to make sure that people attending are on the “list.”  We’re still looking for monitors for the following workshops: 


Session 1: Del Rey’s African-American Ukulele;  Victoria Vox Rocks; Kimo’s Kan Ka Pila; Robyn’s Hapa Haole Hula

Session 2: Ralph’s Intermediate Strumming


Session 1: Del Rey’s African-American Ukulele;  Victoria Vox Rocks;  Robyn’s Hapa Haole Hula; Ralph’s Intermediate Strumming

Session 2: Derick’s Pa’ani; Hula Honey’s Harmony; Victoria’s Master Class; Ralph’s Advanced Strumming; Del Rey’s Master Class

Session 3: Ginger’s Ukulele for Guitar Players; Kimo’s Master Class; Derick’s Master Class

Let me know if you’d like to take advantage of any of these opportunities.

Also, we still need “hosts” and “hostesses” for some of our musician/instructors.  I can’t tell you how much fun this is, especially if you have two or more of them staying in your house at once…it’s non-stop music.  My neighbor “took in” Ralph Shaw at the first festival…..and now she won’t give him up.  Our “Director of Transportation,” Susan Bonney, insists on doing the airport runs  because it is non-stop music and mayhem all the way. I’m only reluctantly offering this opportunity to others because I have filled every single bed in my house!   So, please, let me know if you have a spare room you’d like to “donate” to the cause. You won’t regret it!

There are also a few other changes you should know about.  We will have a Friday night concert at the Napa Valley Opera House featuring James Hill, with appearances by Ralph Shaw, Victoria Vox, Kimo Hussey, and Del Rey.  I probably don’t need to tell you what a great venue the Opera House is and they are fully expecting to sell-out. As there will only be one stage at this year’s festival at Beringer, this could be the only opportunity to see James in concert  while he is here.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday and you buy them directly through the Napa Valley Opera House.

Speaking of James Hill, if you were at last year’s festival, you probably remember James’ ‘ukulele rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”  Well, he’s been working on it.  Here’s what he has to say:

So, I’ve been working off-and-on for years on my cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”  It’s been something of a pet project that I turn to every once in a while.  Last year at the Wine Country Ukefest I cracked the “how to play the beat, bassline and chords” part of the puzzle but I couldn’t manage the vocal at the same time.

Well, nearly a year has passed and I’ve finally worked up a version of the tune WITH vocal.  The debut performance of this new version was filmed live at the 2010 Dusty Strings Ukefest in Seattle, WA.  Hope you enjoy:


Whew!  He makes it look so easy!

And, finally, one more bit of  ‘ukulele news, concerning Bill Tapia, 102 years “young.” The young lady who produced Bill’s 100th brithday celebration concert, Alyssa Archambault, is looking for funding to help release a CD of that performance and has lots of great “incentives” for those who pledge.  The Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival is supporting this worthwhile project and we hope you will, as well. 

One of the incentives for a pledge of $35 or more is a color facsimile of the original 1939 edition book entitled “Hawaiian Ukulele Instruction with the Island’s foremost ukulele instructor, William Tapia,” printed in 1939! 

There are only 16 days to go, so please, give her a hand. 


And that’s it for now.  I’ve been missing you all and am looking forward to seeing you at our monthly FleaFest on Sunday, July 25.