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Ukulele Reports
Updates from ukulele classes around the world.

Hood River, Oregon, U. S. A.
Dundas, Ontario, Canada

Hood River, Oregon, U. S. A.

The 2009 Gorge Ukulele Festival
By Gordon Mayer

LUE members jam with Hood River students at the festival.

The 2009 Gorge Ukulele Festival was successful in every regard beyond our expectations. We reached over 2000 people, raised enough money to provide ukuleles & instructional materials to the Hood River Schools and raised enough money to provide scholarships to the music teachers to attend the ukulele teachers' training weekend in Langley, BC in September. Most importantly, we know from the feedback we've already received that we inspired a large group of children and adults in our community.

An audience of 250 attended the Langley Ukulele Ensemble's public concert.

Next year we'd like to bring back the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and that will take sponsorship support. It was that connection between the students in the Langley Ukulele Ensemble (LUE) and our students that was really remarkable. During one of the workshop sessions the LUE kids each took 3-4 of our school kids and gave them private instruction. At the end, they all got together and jammed for about half an hour. It was, for us, the best part of the weekend.

The LUE played two school assemblies to a total of 2000 kids from 6 different schools. Those kids were as knowledgeable and appreciative an audience as you could dream of. In addition, we had 80 people from the community attend ukulele workshops in 16 different sessions, culimnating in a public student concert attended by over 100 people!

See you in Hood River next year for the 2010 Gorge Ukulele Festival!

Link: Mya-Moe Ukuleles

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Dundas, Ontario, Canada

String Along Ukulele
By Elayne and Norm Ruplen

We teach ukulele to both children and adults. As elementary school teachers, we used to teach kids in the school system since the 70’s, using the Chalmers Doane method. Also, we ran an adult night school class for many years. Recently, we retired and now operate a business, selling Ohana ukuleles to Canadians, as well as teaching kids and adults.

Our system of teaching kids has changed out of necessity. We now go into the schools during “Nutrition Break” which is only 40 minutes long. The kids eat for 15 minutes, which leaves us only 25 minutes each week to teach the ukulele to each group – if all goes well. Needless to say, it’s frustrating that we can’t teach all that we’d like to as we used to do. However, come concert time, the kids sound great and the parents are still as appreciative as ever, leaving us sighing with relief.

James Hill performs in Waterdown (November 2008).

Currently we teach over 180 students in three schools in the Hamilton-Wentworth School District in the Hamilton, Ontario area. As well, we have over 25 adults in the adult group. The main focus for the adults is to use various strumming and picking techniques, for sing-along purposes. As an extension of this sing-along, we are hosting a regional ukulele jam on June 5th, 2009, for all adult ukulele musicians in the “Golden Horseshoe” region around the west end of Lake Ontario. We’re holding the event at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and are expecting over 70 people. The primary goal is to play, sing and have fun with fellow “ukers,” but also to create a setting where all ukulele players in the Golden Horseshoe region can get to know each other.

p.s. Thanks to James Hill for giving our young students and adults the ukulele concert of their life in November of 2008 at the Waterdown Legion (see picture). Close to 400 people showed up and were “enlightened” by James' amazing performance. Concerts such as this help to promote the ukulele as a cool and fun instrument – which it is and always has been since the Portuguese brought it to Hawaii in 1879.

Link: String Along Ukulele

Do you teach a ukulele group? Are you a student in a ukulele class? If so, send us an update on your activities: what you've learned recently and what you're learning now. Make sure to include your name and location.

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