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Author Topic: Delta Strummers in concert 2015  (Read 9516 times)

Tom

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Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« on: January 28, 2015, 10:51:48 AM »
The Delta Strummers May 2 concert at El Campanil Theatre in Antioch, CA is locked in, and the band is rehearsing hard at our weekly practice sessions. Our intent is to demonstrate the versatility of the ukulele and the wide range of genres that can be played on this instrument. There are currently 35 numbers on the slate, and these will be cut to 28 for the final playlist.

We've played here once in the past, but as a "support/featured act" in a Summerset Singers Christmas choral concert. This is the first time the band will have performed at their own full-up concert in a "pro" venue, and the first time many of the players will have performed at any public concert.

I re-joined weekly practice last evening, following a (my) long winter break. The band's performance on some numbers was almost mind blowing, and some numbers need a lot of work.

Looking at the theatre's web site, William Florian, founder and lead singer of the New Christy Minstrels, will perform on Feb 7th. He puts on a good solo act, and I'm going to buy tickets.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 10:56:31 AM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 07:00:41 PM »
Logistics for the Delta Strummers May 2 concert are starting to shape up. There's no issue/doubt about the theatre's audio & lighting equipment, sound board, and audio & lighting techs. We've been talking to a couple of 'large event' equipment guys to provide tiered stages aka risers. The capabilities of some of these companies and their stage/audio/lighting and other equipment inventory is mind boggling.

The playlist is starting to firm up. We have 30 numbers (to be trimmed to 28), half of which are new to the band. Since we have 11 rehearsals to go, I have no doubt we'll play & sing well, or the number(s) will be replaced. I find it somewhat humbling that two of my arrangements have so far survived the cut, in addition to my closing solo (I'm neither a musician nor a song writer.)

Something we've experimented with during prior concerts is instrumental breakouts. There's a lot more of these in the current playlist, and we hope to convince the audience that the ukulele is a serious musical instrument that can play music in numerous genres.

We're also experimenting with the introduction of other instruments to spice things up. We'd already planned on a couple of guitars, a bass, gut bucket, juice harp, and zoombang. At last evening's practice, we were introduced to the dulcimer, played by a recent graduate from our ukulele beginners class.

Meanwhile, concert tickets are starting to sell (phew!)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 09:33:11 AM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 07:01:19 PM »
This is not a solicitation to purchase tickets, but I thought I'd update info on our May 2nd concert. The following was created by our (amateur) PR folks, and the attached flyer is being distributed around the community. Approx 250 seats are already sold, a record reported by the theatre management for this early before a show.

Delta Strummers in Concert Saturday, May 2nd 2015 @ 2:00pm
 
The Delta Strummers Ukulele Band is presenting "Ukulele Uprising" at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the famous El Campanil Theatre in Antioch. Get ready for an exciting and entertainment filled afternoon as the Delta Strummers take the stage! This dynamic and versatile group of over 50 performers have a passion for taking ukulele music to new heights. Come experience a truly breathtaking show filled with plenty of fun and musical surprises!"

To order tickets, please go to El Campanil's website at www.elcampaniltheatre.com , (click on Shows/Coming Attractions), scroll down to May 2nd, and order your reserved seats ($15.00/ ticket). We are the East County's one and only ukulele band...The Delta Strummers
.

A number of our band members are RVers who, like me, enjoy taking their ukulele along on RV trips.

Meanwhile, two of my arrangements are still in the 28-number program, as is my closing solo. Hopefully I can shed this sinus infection before then.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 07:42:02 PM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 03:46:43 PM »
Had an interesting time this morning. A few of us, including our Music Director, spent time with the sound/technical guy at the theatre discussing sound, lighting and a bunch of other stuff. Made measurements to check for risers and on-stage seating, space for dancers, and checked audience visuals. It's a real pleasure to work with a pro on the audio/lighting stuff.

Took along a couple of ukes and strummed some chords on stage. The (non-amplified) acoustics in this theatre are unbelievable.

We've played/sang here before, but in someone else's show. This was the first chance to work with this stuff from the ground up.

The theatre gets a new sound board this week, and hopefully all the kinks will have been worked out long before we take the stage.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 03:59:06 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 08:38:42 PM »
46 folks turned up for rehearsal this week. We arranged the seating to emulate our on-stage configuration at the theatre. Soloists and breakout groups need to easily get off and back on the risers for their performances, and they practiced this week.

We still have some rough edges that need to be smoothed out, and some music still needs to be tweaked (a job for our Music Director). All par for the course, and we'll hopefully have a pro performance on the day.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2015, 08:17:21 PM »
We're down to 5 rehearsals before the big day. Our Music Director couldn't make the last rehearsal due to a last-minute canceled flight, and rehearsal is never the same when he's not there. But it was still a productive evening.

Meanwhile, a lot of PR and logistics stuff is going on behind the scenes. A couple of days ago I sat in on a meeting of the folks putting together the concert program, the MC script, the sound booth cues, and the on-screen video.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2015, 07:40:25 PM »
Last Tuesday's 'dress rehearsal' was humbling. We have a few rough edges that will be smoothed off during next Tuesday's (final) practice. We also had a few screwups, including my own, that can't happen in the live concert; A bass voice singing a ladies' verse doesn't sound right, nor does playing during an a capella verse  :-[

Today we were still tweaking the playlist and several music lead sheets. Hopefully, that's it before the big day.

I have no doubt everything will come together on the day, and we're all looking forward to the performance. Many of our band members have never performed in a 'live' venue before, and this is all part of the learning/growing experience.

I think we'll succeed in our goal to demonstrate that the ukulele can be played across various genres including Hawaiian, jazz, blues, ragtime, country, rock & roll, waltz, patriotic and others.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 11:58:05 AM »
The big day came and the Delta Strummers 'Ukulele Uprising' concert was a huge success. The band 'locked in' quickly, folks' nerves subsided with the enthusiastic audience response, and everyone was having a great time performing. All the hours of practice paid off, and we succeeded in demonstrating the wide range of genres that can be played on this small stringed instrument.

With the house lights down and the bright spotlights in our eyes, it was virtually impossible to see the audience. But I felt a 'patriotic' lump in my throat as I saw the outlines of folks standing during my closing solo of God Bless America, knowing the Stars and Stripes were 'blowing in the wind' on a screen behind me.

A photographic friend agreed to bring his camera and a selection of lenses, but I haven't yet seen the results.

Several folks from the audience either approached us at the end of the show, or sent me an email, to sign up for ukulele beginners classes &/or join the band.

As one band member asked, what next? Maybe a ukulele rally (we have a number of RVers in the band).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 01:40:59 PM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2015, 07:43:25 AM »
Wow! Glad it went so well for you Tom. Thanks for sharing this.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2015, 09:55:37 AM »
Aye, thanks Larry, we had a blast. As someone who, just three years ago had never played a stringed instrument, it was especially gratifying. Come to think of it, approx 70% of the band learned to play the ukulele in the last 1-3 years.
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Rene T

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2015, 10:55:06 AM »
Had you played any instrument besides the ukulele?
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2015, 11:09:56 AM »
Quote from: Rene T
Had you played any instrument besides the ukulele?

My first week in grammar school I signed up for their music class and was given a violin to take home. After a few measures of 'screech, screech, screech', I was told to take it back and never bring it home again. I switched to a different class.

Around 17 years ago I joined a barbershop chorus and got frustrated with these guys who could sing from a score. So I went out and bought an electronic keyboard, some books and tapes/CDs, and taught myself to read music and to plonk out a few tunes (very crudely). I play(ed) keyboard about as well as I type on a computer keyboard, and Chris tells me I'm the fastest 1-finger typist she knows. I know where 'middle C' is, and I find all the other notes by counting. Unlike the folks who learned to play piano as kids and still play without having to think about it. Just a few months ago I erased the magic marker dots from the white keys on my keyboard, placed there to help my counting  :-[

That's it for my prior instrument playing. OTOH since playing the ukulele, I've bought a guitar and banjo, and periodically strum a few chords on them.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2015, 05:39:55 PM »
I forgot that I "played" triangle in an elementary school band class ;D
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 08:23:03 PM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2015, 07:43:22 PM »
A few pictures from the concert.
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Rene T

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2015, 07:50:41 PM »
If that's you next to the dancer, she's cuter.   ;D
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2015, 07:53:48 PM »
Rene, yes it is, and I know/agree  ;D
« Last Edit: May 07, 2015, 07:55:19 PM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2015, 08:03:49 PM »
A few more pics.
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Ned

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2015, 08:49:36 PM »
You are certainly a colorful bunch.  Still waiting for the video :)   Maybe you should get your own YouTube channel.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2015, 03:07:14 AM »
Aye, we changed things up a bit for this show; Our regular Hawaiian 'performance shirts' for the first half, and different color logo polo shirts for the second half.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 03:09:20 AM by Tom »
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Roadhappy

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2015, 04:53:06 AM »
It looks like a good time was had by all.  I wish I could have gone to this. 

Anything on you tube?

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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2015, 05:05:32 AM »
I'll get something up on youtube shortly; I need to edit some of the stuff I was given yesterday. Meanwhile, search on youtube for Delta Strummers and you'll see one of our rehearsals for this show; Audio isn't very good, and there were a few rough spots that got fixed before we went on stage.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 05:28:13 AM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2015, 05:39:12 AM »
This week we were digging out songs played and sung with grandkids. June 1st we play/sing for/with the kids at a local elementary school. These kids might be our biggest critics  ;D
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Roadhappy

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2015, 05:41:36 AM »
I will check it out.

Thanks
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2015, 07:26:37 PM »
I have video of 17 of the 25 numbers from our concert up on YouTube. I edited the videos to have just one number per clip. Go to YouTube and search on 'Delta Strummers'. Enjoy!
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2015, 07:43:06 PM »
This week we were digging out songs played and sung with grandkids. June 1st we play/sing for/with the kids at a local elementary school. These kids might be our biggest critics  ;D

Nah, kids are easy.  Sing a song about farting & you've got 'em.  (I should write one!)

I'll check out the videos later.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2015, 07:47:11 PM »
LOL Russ, I know that first hand, but the school probably wouldn't like us singing it.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2015, 10:12:15 PM »
That makes it even better IMHO.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2015, 05:19:12 PM »
We now have 22 video clips up (one number per clip). I'm still 'missing' clips of several songs/tunes, including the rock & roll classic Apache. Our lead uke player (also a long-time lead guitarist) does a great job of picking this tune, while the band strums behind, trying hard to keep count and stay in sync.

The lead uke player also plays/sings another classic - "I Put A Spell On You". This is in 6/8 time, and I failed miserably to keep up during multiple practices, as did half the band. I/we finally convinced our Music Director to use a small ensemble to strum along with the solo.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2015, 02:34:18 PM »
I finally received a video of the instrumental 'Apache' played at our concert, and uploaded it to YouTube:

https://youtu.be/gCYHLa1tGIg

 If you watch the band, we're only playing chords, but we're all focusing hard on counting, to stay in sync. This is especially true for me; I can keep up pretty well if I'm singing at the same time as I'm playing, but I can easily get lost on the instrumental numbers.

The soloist has obviously migrated a lot of his guitar skills to the ukulele. Watching this video, it's hard to believe that, at the end of his first night practicing with the band a year ago, I asked him how it went and he said "I can't figure out how to play this ukulele".
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2015, 11:48:56 PM »
Some day I'll figure out how to play the guitar, if I live long enough.
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