Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ukulele Festival of Northern California and The Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band

On Sunday April 27 I went with my daughter, Rachel, to the Ukulele Festival of Northern California, held annually in Hayward, California. There were lots of groups that performed, as well as ukuleles and Hawaiian things to buy.

We caught several terrific performances including that of The Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band which plays at the Temple Bar in Berkeley. Rachel was tickled by them as they looked like they were having a lot of fun with their music. I went to their meetings a couple of times when I first started ukulele nearly two years ago. However, at that point, I'd only taught myself a few chords and found the group all too intimidating! Recently, however, I have rejoined the group and find that not only can I keep up, but I really enjoy the mix of mostly Hawaiian songs that they play. The band mixes in some melody finger picking together with the chord strumming for variety. But best of all, they are an exceedingly warm and welcoming group. They play once a week, and I try to make it at least three times a month.

We also ran into our friend, Kathy Quain, whom I originally met at the Berkeley Ukulele Club. Kathy is an extremely talented teacher, music therapist and performer. As my husband, Dave, commented about her performing, you can actually "hear" her smiling through the sound of her singing. Both Rachel and I have been taking piano lessons with her, although Kathy and I call my lesson something more like lessons in overall musicianship. I am learning so much from her that can be applied to piano, ukulele and singing. We also saw Fran from the ukulele club. Here we are all together at the festival.