With the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival behind us, it’s time to look forward to some terrific events just around the corner. So, save the dates:

Saturday, October 13: Sacramento Aloha Festival, at Cal Expo in Sacramento

Tuesday, October 16: UpValley Strummers.  This is a new group started by Bob Dwyer that will meet the third Tuesday of every month (6:30 pm) at Scarlett’s Country Inn in Calistoga, 3918 Silverado Trail. (You don’t have to join to attend, but it does make it easier to RSVP so folks know how many to expect.)  Bring songs to share & pupus.  All levels welcome.

Saturday, October 27: Fall Kanikapila with Kehaulani Hula Studio.  I am so glad this is happening and that we got invited. It’s from 1 – 5 pm at Rincon Valley Park in Santa Rosa.  Kehaulani Hula Studio is under the direction of our good friend Kumu Pomaika’i and you don’t have to hula to join in the fun.  Bring your ukulele(s) and some songs to share, if you’re so inclined.  If nothing else, it’ll be a great way to connect with our neighbors to the west.  Fun for the whole family!  Here’s a flier if you’d like to help spread the word: Fall Kanikapila

Sunday, October 28: Napa Valley Flea Jumpers at the Gordon Huether Hay Barn in Napa.  I’ll do another “mini-workshop”  at 5 pm, this time on “Messing around with the City of New Orleans,”  where we’ll do a little work with closed chords and chord melody embellishments…suitable for beginning and intermediate players.  We’ll break for pupus at 5:45.  Then on to our regular flea fest!  By the way, if anyone else ever has anything they’d like to share with the group in one of these mini-workshop sessions, just let me or Eva know.

Thursday, November 1: Early Bird Deadline for the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat.  This is the first announcement we’ve made to the general public that registration is now open for the 2013 West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, May 8 – 12 at Asilomar in Pacific Grove. Past attendees have been signing up in droves and we do have limited space available.  Four days and nights of ‘ukulele instruction, fun, camaraderie, and general mayhem on the beautiful Monterrey Peninsula with Andy Andrews, Gerald Ross, Joel Eckhaus, Kumu Pomaika’i, Sarah Maisel, Jason Arimoto, and Rick Turner….and probably one or two more. Take a peek at what went on last year:

Monday, November 5: Free ‘ukulele workshop with Daniel Ho at the Guitar Center in San Mateo, 53 West Hillsdale Blvd.  This might be well-worth a trip to San Mateo.  Daniel is an extremely knowledgable and generous instructor of the ukulele, among many other things. Call (650) 312-8270 for more info.  The workshop starts at 7pm.

Saturday, November 10: Ukes on the Loose! I went to this last year and had a blast!  A very low-key day. full ukulele playing, learning, and sharing in a stunning location, Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg.  Just plain fun……and super affordable.


Thanks so much to everyone who turned out last Sunday!  The beginning workshoppupu hoursing along format seemed to work well, so we will do it again!  Here are links to the songs that we practiced in the workshop.  (They’re two to a page so we can 1) save paper and 2)fold in half and use with the kani-ka-pila klip.)

The Yellow Rose of Texas and Cornbread and Butter Beans

Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby and Chain of Fools

Jambalaya and Get Together

Also, I’m trying to update the list of other ukulele clubs and scheduled jam sessions in the area. If you know of any that I have not included (and I’m sure there are many) and can send me the link to their website, I’ll get them included as soon as possible.

Here’s Something New

From Kani-Ka-Pila!  Handy dandy ukulele fret stamps in different colors and a limited-time price reduction:

Click on any of the links for more information.

Benefit Concert

And last, but certainly not least, here is an email I received this morning from Cathe Glass:

Aloha   kakou!
This invitation is coming to you because you are a dear friend and I hope you may want to help. . . . .  as you may or may not know, my twelve year old grandson James is currently battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  We are sure that he will win! 
Herb Ohta Jr.(Santa Clara, CA - Benefit to Fight Non-Hodgkins Lympho...With great aloha, my dear friend Herb Ohta Jr has decided to dedicate his concert at Santa Clara University to James and the fight against Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  All proceeds will be donated the medical fund.  Please join us for an evening of wonderful Hawaiian entertainment and support for the cause.  With your help, it will be memorable.  Details are below.  Hope to see you there.                                            
Herb Ohta Jr.(Santa Clara, CA – Benefit to Fight Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma…
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
6:30pm until 9:00pm
Santa Clara University – 500 El Camino Real Building [114] Music & Dance, Recital Halls, Santa Clara, CA 95053
More information about the event:
Mahalo!  Me ke aloha no,  Cathe  
Extra attraction – Na Leo Nahenahe, the San Francisco Hawaiian  Chorus will open for Herb.

Cornbread and Butter Beans

And I leave you with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Cornbread and Butter Beans

Just a reminder that Flea Jumpers will be gathering this Sunday at the Gordon Huether Studio, though there are a few scheduling changes you should be aware of.

Beginning Workshop This Sunday

From 5:00 – 6:15, I will be teaching a beginning workshop: Movable Chords for Dummies.  This is the first of a 3-part workshop I will be teaching at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat in May.   Here’s the description from the retreat website:

There’s nothing quite like a two-chord song to get your fingers moving in the morning.  And this workshop will do just that….with an eentsy weentsy difference as we take a few baby steps up the ukulele fretboard and learn to play some easy movable chords (and learn what that means) at the same time.  This workshop is definitely geared towards beginners and advanced beginners, but if you’re a more advanced player who wants to hone their skills you are welcome to join us. And, since practice make perfect, we’ll do plenty of practicing with a variety of fun, two-chord songs chosen just for the occasion.  We may even venture into the land of three- and four- chord songs, as well, all the while learning to move our fingers and hone our skills with movable chords.

The cost of the workshop is just $5.00. 

If you don’t want to take the workshop, you don’t need to arrive until 6:15, at which point we will do our usual pupu and happy hour before our regular flea fest.  

Ideally, splitting the meeting up this way will give the beginnners a chance to warm up a bit and learn some new skills before the more advanced players come.  By then we should all be ready to hit the ground running strumming.

I’ll also be bringing a few ukulele wall hangers for you to look at.  I’m guessing that many of your ukuleles don’t see the light of day, unless they come out for Flea Jumpers.  But, I think you’ll find that if you keep your ‘ukulele on the wall, out of harm’s way and within reach, you’ll be much more prone to grab it and play it

between meetings. Anyway, I’ll bring some of the standard wall hangers  plus some that are one-of-kind: hand-painted or carved.  And since some of you expressed interest, I’ll bring a few of the hand-made neck-tie ukulele straps, as well.  If there’s anything else you want me to bring (books, tuners, strings, music stands, etc.), let me know.  You can visit to see what else I have available.  If you want to keep abreast of new things I get in, please subscribe  to that website.

Butter & Eggs

I’m hoping we’ll also get a report from those of you participating in the KALA ukulele parade at Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days parade on Saturday,  April 28. Don’t forget, they’re having a rehearsal today (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m. at Kala’s new offices at 1105 Industrial Ave., Suite 101, in Petaluma. Please RSVP (707) 775 4073 x 2818  so they no how many to expect. Here are the pieces you’ll be playing at the parade so you can practice ahead of time:

Kala Parade Medley

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

Coming to the Napa Valley Opera House

And, I’ve just learned that Keola Beamer and Raiatea Helm will be performing together at the Napa Valley Opera House on May 3.  Keola Beamer is a slack key guitar player extraordinaire and personifies aloha. Raiatea Helm is an ‘ukulele player and simply amazing vocalist.  I haven’t heard them together, yet, but I can just imagine what beautiful music they must make. This really is a performance you don’t want to miss.

Keola also puts on the Aloha Music Camp that you have heard me speak so fondly of.  Their next camp is from July 1 – 7.  Lot’s of fun.  Lot’s of music. Lots of aloha. If you want to see Hawai’i beyond the shops of Waikiki,  stops on the standard tours, and massive tourist luaus,  and participate in some real, Hawaiian immersion, this is the place for you.

Stolen ‘Ukulele

And finally,  I went to the Reno Uke Fest a couple of weekends ago and had a very nice (retail $520) all-koa, KoAloha soprano Pikake  (just like the one I play and the one pictured here) stolen while I was there. Neither the festival organizers or security at the Nuggett (the casino where the festival was being held) did anything to try to retrieve it, so I’m just asking everyone to be on the look-out for it–there aren’t a lot of them around.  It has a date, 2011, stamped on the inside. It might’ve shown up on eBay or Craig’s list.

That’s it, except for a reminder, to those of you who haven’t signed up yet for our Yahoo group, here’s the link:  It’s a little more “private” than the website and often has more immediate information.

See you Sunday.


Calling all ukesters:

We (and all aspiring ukulele players have been invited by KALA ukuleles to join the Kala Band (sans marching) for Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days parade on Saturday,  April 28. This looks like a really fun time, plus Kala will provide T-shirts to all ukulele-playing participants.

Just to make sure we don’t embarrass ourselves too much,  they are asking that folks who want to participate attend a rehearsal at 5:30 p.m. on  Thursday, April 26 at Kala’s new offices at 1105 Industrial Ave. , Suite 101, in Petaluma. A head count is also in order for planning purposes, so if you could call (707) 775 4073   Ext. 2818  to RSVP I know it would be appreciated.

If you can’t make it to the rehearsal but still want to participate, I’m sure you won’t be turned away.  Here are the pieces you’ll be playing at the parade so you can practice ahead of time.

Kala Parade Medley

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

This is a great opportunity to meet fellow uke-players, practice playing in public,  and have some fun on what promises to be a bright and sunny day.  Hope to see you there.

Thanks everyone who came to Lois’  last month.  That’s one of the biggest turn-outs we seen in a while and it was great to see so many new faces!  Hope to see you again.

There’s a number of announcements about upcoming events…but here’s the one that’s the most fun!

What do Seinfeld and Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay have in common?

Heidi Swedberg!

You may know her as “Susan,”  George Costanza’s ill-fated, envelope-licking fiancée on Seinfeld:

But we know her as a delightful ukulele instructor and entertainer, a perfect addition to the staff of Camp-Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay!

We’ll be posting more about Heidi and what she plans to bring to Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Layshortly, along with news about some other guest instructors who will be joining us.  In the meantime, registration is still open and we hope you’ll be joining us. It’s going to be great!

And, just in case you’re still in the dark about Heidi Swedberg, here’s a short clip (before “Susan” dies from licking the enevlopes for the wedding invitations):

On a different note, Aloha Music Camp, July 1 – 7, 2012, has just announced that slack key virtuoso (and amazingly nice guy) Jeff Petersen has joined the teaching staff for this summer.  (Even if you just sit and listen….you’ll be entranced.) As you may recall, it was Aloha Music Camp that gave me my bump-up in all things ukulele and has served, in many ways, as a model for the West Coast Ukulele Retreat.  In addition to Slack Key guitar and ukulele, there are lessons in hula, Hawaiian language, ole, and lap steel guitar.  You can even build you own ukulele under the excellent and watchful tutelege of master luthier, Dennis Lake. I’ve been to Aloha Music Camp three times and have loved every minute of it! If you ever want to do something really special for yourself….this would be it!

 That’s it for now.  As far as I know we’ll be back at the Haybarn on the 29th. 

See you next time!

Hello, Muddah . . . . . Hello, Fadduh.

Reserve your space now for the first, but certainly not the last, Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay, August 18 – 24, at Pinecrest in the beautiful Central Sierra Nevada, with your hosts Elaine de Man & Jim D’Ville. Two tent circles at Cal Alumini Association’s (UC Berkeley) Lair of the Golden Bear have been reserved especially for us, for a full week of ukulele instruction and merriment in the context of a regular summer camp for families.

All attendees at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay will have full access to all of the activities and programs available to every other camper at the Lair of the Golden Bear with the added benefit of specific ukulele instruction, workshops, jam sessions, and ukulele camp fires each night, and our own time on the Camp Oski Stage. Basically it’s a summer camp for people of the ukulele persuasion, especially those who’d like their non-uke-centric family members to join them.

And it’s cheap! Just $849 gets you a spot at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay for the entire week! Special rates for kids (free – $569) make this an ideal family vacation, as well.

In order to secure a bunk or tent within one of our coveted ukulele tent circles and to attend the ukulele-specific workshops and programs, you will need to send in your Registration Form for Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay, with payment, before February 14, 2012. (Please note: you will still be able to register after February 14, but we won’t be able to guarantee you a place in one of the Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay tent circles after that.)

If you’d prefer the comfort of indoor accommodations during your stay, there are motel-style units available at the camp for an additional fee, cabins at neighboring Pinecrest Chalet, and even a few spots to hook up your motor home. (Those staying at Pine Crest Chalet can register for Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay as “walk-ins” for $589)

Be sure to check out our FAQ page for answers to any questions you may have.

Hope to see you there!

Don’t forget. Ukulele flash mob at Oxbow Market in Napa at 6pm tonight!  Shhhhh!  It’s a secret!

See you there!

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