Tag Archives: MUK

Ukuleles and other quirky pastimes

Ukes

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a member of the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective, and play in the Ukulele Big Band.

I first fell in love with the ukulele two years ago, when I saw MUK perform as part of the Darebin Music Feast.  I’d never played one before – or even entertained the thought that I would – but by the end of that gig, three audience members including myself were converted.  I went out the next day and bought my first uke.

We now have three ukuleles as a family – well, I’m the only one who plays them, but the baritone is officially Michael’s.  Meg had one, too – in baby pink – but I was really kidding myself when I bought it for her.  It had been untouched for almost a year when my ten-year-old niece, Jacqui, over from Adelaide for a visit, picked it up and started playing. 

Unbeknown to us, Jacqui had been learning classical guitar for a year. It only took her about three seconds to work out where the notes were and she started picking a blues number.  Needless to say, I sent it home with her.  If Meg ever wants one again, I’ll happily buy her another.

The other musical activity I’m involved in is singing in a country & western choir called Lipstick and Spurs.  I’d no more been a fan of country music than I had of ukuleles when I was asked to add my voice for a recording session that the choir was doing, but again I fell completely in love and have been part of it for a year now.  It is the best fun, and the choir members are a fantastic bunch.

I’m a latecomer to music performance, having only realised that I had a ‘voice’ when I was in my twenties. Singing only became really important to me after I lost my voice for eight months, about four years ago. More than anything, I missed singing with Meg and singing along with the radio, though if you’d asked me before I lost my voice, I would have said that I didn’t sing much at all. A persistent weakness has meant that the first thing affected by any stress or illness is my voice, so I have to be really careful with it.

Fortunately for me, singing has also been the best exercise I can give my vocal chords.  I bet there aren’t many people who can say that they sing on doctor’s orders (or, at least, on speech pathologist’s orders)!

I may have been a late bloomer in this area, but it has become a really important part of who I am, and it is all so much fun!  And life is serious enough – ukuleles, twangy country songs and lots of laughter are a good remedy for it.

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Have to tell you a story…

Tulips

About a month ago I was lucky enough to be part of something really fantastic. Before I tell you what it was, I have to give you a bit of background or it won’t really make sense. I play in the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective’s Ukulele Big Band. Daggy, I know, but fantastic fun and life is far too serious not to have fun when you can. 

About six weeks earlier we had been contacted by a young man who wanted to book us for a gig.  That gig took place on a Wednesday night – rehearsal night – and involved the band playing while he proposed to his girlfriend. 

With twenty or so ukes playing “From little things, big things grow”, this young man got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend if she would marry him.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to play and sing when you can’t stop your eyes from leaking?  I know I’m a softy, but it was seriously one of the sweetest things I’d ever seen. 

Long live romance! (I was too busy to take a pic on the night, but the next day I saw these tulips and they seemed like a fitting tribute.)

The corollary to this story is, I believe, that they won a holiday to Hawaii in a radio station competition, because of the fantastic proposal!  And what better place than Hawaii for a honeymoon when the proposal was accompanied by ukuleles?!

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