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Author Topic: Delta Strummers in concert 2015  (Read 9525 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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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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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.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2015, 01:06:16 AM »


 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.

I wish that was my problem. When I sing along, it throws my playing off. Of course, it doesn't take a lot to throw my playing off. :)

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2015, 02:07:32 AM »
Quote from: Daryl B
When I sing along, it throws my playing off.

Interesting Daryl, I've had this discussion numerous times with folks I consider to be good musicians. My ears tell me when, for example, a chord change is coming, but I have no idea what the chord is and I have to look at a lead sheet. The musicians OTOH instinctively know what chord to switch to. The (vocal) melody usually comes out fine when I'm singing, and it helps keep my playing in sync. Lyrics also seem to come to me without having to think about them; Sometimes I couldn't tell you what the first word of the next song is, or what's the first word of the next line or verse, but I open my mouth to sing and out they come.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2015, 08:03:27 AM »
I just watched the Apache video -- very, very nice.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2015, 08:35:09 AM »
Thanks Larry. Prior to this guy joining the band, I had no idea tunes like that could (or should) be played on the ukulele. I have some interesting discussions with this guy about how he learns new tunes. He certainly has skills & talents I don't have and likely never will.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2015, 10:56:14 AM »
Apache was great!

If there's such a thing as a pedal steel uke or even a steel stringed electric uke Sleepwalk would work nicely too.  Or Wipe Out!  Uke seems to fit the surf guitar sound well.

Funny thing is that you can see who in the ensemble is having trouble with the rhythm.  If you've ever watched the string section of an orchestra all of the bows tend to be in similar positions at any given time.  Same with strumming a stringed instrument.  The good part is that it usually works out to sound pretty good.  From teaching group classes I've learned to spot it and mostly ignore it unless it's really bad.  It's really hard to keep the rhythem together in a group that large unless the leader is amplified enough that everyone can hear it.

I'm teaching a workshop this weekend and giving a one page song with 79 chord changes, some of which are evil and dreaded Barre chords.  it'll be fun.........  Been teaching this intermediate class for 20 something years, same students every year and they still whine when there's barre chords.   :o  I'm playing it with a knuckle I sliced to the bone while chopping onions and it still bleeds a little when I play. 
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2015, 12:35:08 PM »
Quote from: 8Muddypaws
Apache was great!

Glad you liked it. I can hear a couple of picked notes that are "different" from the original I recall by The Shadows. I've seen the soloist bend notes, but I don't know if that's what's going on in this case. He's brought a number of good instrumentals to the band. One that I found particularly tough to keep up with was I Got A Spell On You; I and half the band finally squealed loud enough that the Director relented and used a small group to back the lead.

Quote
you can see who in the ensemble is having trouble with the rhythm
.

Aye, I could see that on Apache, although a couple of folks appear to be doing a "different" strum from others, which makes it appear that they're way off. If it was that far off, I'd have noticed and passed the word along. I've been known to call 'time out' during a performance, although usually only when someone is playing a different song or in a different key  :o

If you look closely on Apache, I lost the beat a couple of times around 3:30, stopped, then came back in. I either lost count or concentration. This is a classic example of where singing would have kept me in sync, but I don't know any words for Apache  ;D

Quote
I'm teaching a workshop this weekend

Sounds like a lot of fun, but not the chopped knuckle part.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2015, 04:47:27 PM »
I'm taking a dozen bandaids and some liquid skin just in case.  I cut it right down to the bone with my sharpest knife.  I once cut the tip of a finger off, had it surgically re-attached and played a church gig two weeks later.  Same finger!  (Slow learner)

I just realized that I Put a Spell on You might be an interesting mashup/medley with Greenfields, much in the same manner as Amazing Grace and House of the Rising Sun works together. Weird idea but it actually sounds good.

I've been playing today as so far no blood.  I need to play harder!
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2015, 08:52:23 PM »
If the band aids don't work, this stuff works pretty good.

Good luck! I can already feel the pain.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2015, 09:33:17 PM »
Thanks Tom, I'll give one of those colors a try for sure!
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2015, 09:39:18 PM »
Don't get any on your strings  ;)
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2015, 10:36:37 PM »
Now that's ironic!  They're a set of pre-production Elixir strings I'm testing for Gore.  They're  already coated with plastic.  I think they'd look awesome in Orange.
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Roadhappy

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2015, 05:25:26 AM »
I really enjoyed All of Me.  Looks like a great group of people.  I wish I could play an instrument.(any instrument) :-\

Robin
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #42 on: May 22, 2015, 08:59:43 AM »
Quote from: Roadhappy
I wish I could play an instrument.(any instrument) :-\

Robin, FWIW four years ago I'd never played a stringed instrument, and my only other attempt at playing an instrument was when, 17 years or so ago, I taught myself to play a keyboard (not very well). A month after buying my first ukulele, I almost gave up, but was fortunate to have a guitar-playing friend buy himself a uke and teach me some very basic strumming.

Apart from the fact that it has only four strings and a narrow neck, and is therefore 'easier' to play, the small size makes it ideal to take along in the coach.
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2015, 09:15:21 AM »
Quote from: 8Muddypaws
They're  already coated with plastic.  I think they'd look awesome in Orange.

A band member turned up at last week's practice with a new set of "red" strings by Aquila. I've seen lots of Aquila strings, but not red ones. I played his uke for all of a few seconds, and I think the only one that's coated is the wound low-G string he opted for.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 01:53:57 PM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2015, 10:51:22 AM »
Glow in the dark strings, yeah!  That's the ticket!
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #45 on: May 22, 2015, 11:16:24 AM »
They'd go well with my glow-in-the-dark face  :-[
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2015, 12:13:37 AM »
Today 40 Delta Strummers had a blast performing for a local elementary school. 540 kids split into 2 back-to-back performances; Kindergarten through 5th grade, and 6th through 8th grades. The programs were different for the two groups, but there was also some duplication of songs. The kids appeared to enjoy themselves and joined in on several songs, while clapping along on others.

The older kids in the school music program really seemed to enjoy Apache, while the younger kids had a blast with Old Macdonald and Itsy Bitsy Spider. Band members wore different 'farm animal' hats for Old Macdonald, much to the amusement of the kids, and someone hoisted a huge fake spider for Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Our last performance before Summer hiatus. Tomorrow I meet with the Activities Director of a new-to-us assisted living facility to discuss a possible performance in the Fall.

Tomorrow evening we start our customary end-of-season open mic' sessions, which provide an opportunity for band members to introduce new-to-us numbers for consideration for our song book and future performances.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 12:19:27 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2015, 07:19:15 PM »
I think 540 kids are lots more fun than a dozen or so 'over served' partiers.  That's what we had last weekend.  We also had a pretty fair 'sober' crowd but they were quiet.  That's what you get playing open outdoor venues.   :o
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Tom

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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2015, 07:38:46 PM »
We don't do outdoor venues.

I'm trying to grab video from the camcorder, but it's not cooperating  :(

Off to open mic' night to propose 'new' numbers for the coming season; They have to be performed in front of the band, and everyone gets to vote with thumbs up or down.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2015, 09:16:45 PM »
A Thumbs up or thumbs down?  Nice touch.  I'm sure that makes everyone want to submit a song for review.   ;)
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #50 on: June 03, 2015, 07:44:47 AM »
Folks are really supportive of, and respectful of, new submissions and we get far more 'new' stuff than we could possibly play in the coming season. Ability to perform is not a criteria and, if someone doesn't feel comfortable, they can get someone else to perform their submission for them. Requiring a lead sheet and a performance (in front of  the band) weeds out some of the junk that can't be played and frivolous submissions. I'm continually blown away by the number of relative newcomers who come forward. 12 of the 24 numbers in our May 2 concert came from prior open mic' submissions.

Had a bunch of new stuff last night, and we have two more open mic' nights to go. I felt humbled when our lead uke player (the pro guitar player) picked one of my prior arrangements to perform/submit last evening, after giving due attribution.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2015, 07:49:24 AM by Tom »
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #51 on: June 03, 2015, 06:26:01 PM »
Have you submitted any of the mountain of stuff I sent you?  (Just curious)
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #52 on: June 03, 2015, 09:28:05 PM »
Quote from: 8Muddypaws
Have you submitted any of the mountain of stuff I sent you?  (Just curious)

Not yet. I'd first need to change it to ukulele-C tuning lead sheets.

FWIW I took your files as guitar teaching, not uke.
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Re: Delta Strummers in concert 2015
« Reply #53 on: June 03, 2015, 09:45:53 PM »
Should work for either.  Just in cases where I drew a picture of the chord it would be different.
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