Friday, February 17, 2012

Northern 'Ukulele Festival Part 2

The AMS 'Ukulele Club will be performing at 12:45 on Sunday, April 1 2012.  The festival is at Chabot College in Hayward.  It is strongly suggested that folks purchase tickets in advance. 

The kids are excited to be performing in the festival. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Northern California Ukulele Festival

After several years of asking the students in the AMS Ukulele Club if they want to perform at the Northern California Ukulele Festival in Hayward they said they would.  So I submitted the names of 37 students who committed to play and received word that our application was accepted.  Now I have to get them to play together and worry about the logistics. 

I am really pleased that the students will be playing and am looking forward to the challenge of this adventure.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New School Year

Well, the school year is off to a fast start. I am coming to the end of first quarter on Friday. The 'Ukulele class will be rotating out to their next elective and new students will be starting in November. This year the challenge is having 38 students in an elective class and 36 (so far) in my core classes. Gotta love budget cuts. !-)

The kids are doing really well even with the large size of the class. It is a challenge to get to all of them however.

The after school club is also doing well. So far we have had 50-59 students coming after school. The great thing is that most of them have their own 'ukulele! I am only loaning out about 12 each week. I also have 4 high school students who have come and want to help out with the kids, which helps me. So far they are jamming with each other. In November we will be learning a song to play with the choir for the winter concert.

Also, I want to give a big Mahalo to Louis Wu @ Ohana 'Ukulele who donated 10 'ukuleles to my school program. Many, Many thanks to Louis and Ohana 'Ukulele.

Here is a picture of the first quarter students showing off their ukuleles.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Busy, Busy Busy

Have been remiss in posting. First, Karsten's video of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is on youtube and I will figure out how to post the link or embed it in the blog.

This school year has been very busy with teaching Ukulele, the after school club and the busyness of school. I haven't been playin as much as I would like but hopefully that will change soon. I am working on setting up a way for students to create their own music videos, getting the equipment and learning about it all. The good news is that this year the Ukulele Club is running itself. They bring in the songs, jam come up with ideas to earn money and the like. It is really great. There are 25-30 students each week, which is a good size group. This year's president is Christian Monsalud. A good ukulele player and someone who is good at teaching. He is bringing a great feel to the club.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where has the time gone

Noticed that it has been a while since I posted. I was going to wait for another video, but that may be a couple of weeks yet. The school year is coming to an end and I am wrapping up the last class of 'ukulele students this year. They are getting it and having fun. Good news is that I get to teach beginning 'ukulele again next year. I will have students for a trimester, about 13 weeks instead of 9. The class will continue to meet every day for 5o minutes. I think that we will be able to really get some serious playing in.

Also, we just had our schools annual "Extravaganza" where the choirs, bands, Grupo Latino, Color Guard and this year the 'ukulele club perform for the community. The 'ukulele club did a great job. We played 2 songs, "She Was Mine" by A J Rafael and "Island Style" by John Cruz. There were 9 students who worked to perform and they did a great job. Then, I managed to have Karsten perform a solo. The event is held in the Logan High school Gym and Karsten sat near the center, plugged into an amp and brought the house down. He did a rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that was all his own. He received a standing ovation and the respect and admiration of those who attended. When I get copies of the video I will post them here and on SchoolTube.

All in all it has been a productive year for the 'ukulele at Alvarado Middle School.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"The Mighty Uke"

This last Tuesday evening, in the rain and traffic, we went up to San Rafael to see the screening of "The Mighty Uke." It is a documentary done by two Canadians from Montreal. It runs about 80 minutes and is full of interviews, history and 'ukulele playing by all kinds of people. After the movie there was a short talk, and a short concert with James Hill. If you get a chance to see the movie, do so. Check out the web page too (click on the title of this entry). There will be a DVD coming out in a few months so get on their list. The movie goes a long way to explain the phenomena that is the 'ukulele. One of the players (Uni I think) refers to it as "the peoples instrument."

Another fun thing that I have found on James Hill's site Ukuleles in the Classroom are some arrangements in four and five parts for 'ukulele Big Band. "Way Beyond the Blues" is a beginning piece that I may try with my Beginning 'Ukulele class this quarter. This group is wanting to learn more picking so I might be able to get them to do it. We will see. I will keep you posted.

We will be heading to the Tahoe area in March for the Tahoe Uke Fest. Am saddened to find out that the Northern California 'Ukulele Festival is not happening this year. What I have been able to find out so far is they do not have access to the Hayward Adult School any longer. (Can you say Budget Cuts) :-( I hope they find a place for next year. I would hate for the East Bay to lose this event.

Oh, and my Mom has joined the ranks of the happy ukers. She now has a Kala Spruce Top Concert and is busy practicing and learning new chords.

Check out the movie and James Hill's Ukuleles in the Classroom.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February already!

It is February already. Starting a new quarter with 24 new students to introduce to the 'ukulele. I am also putting together a booklet of songs for the students to play. I hope this month to start a lunch time jam session during school on the last Thursday or Friday of the month. The idea is to have 'ukuleles available during the lunch period for kids to come and play. That is why I am putting together a booklet of songs for the kids. We'll see if I can get this going this year.

This Friday we are going to see Herb Ohta Jr. with Jennifer Perry and Jon Yamasota. I am also taking Karsten to a private lesson with Herb tomorrow. It should fun for all.