Ukulele of the Best Kind: UOGB

george-wWhat a treat.  I attended the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s performance at the Phillips Performing Arts Center in town.  This is a great group of talented performers.

I’ve been following their activities for several years — not all 30 (which is how many years they have been together) because I only re-discovered the ukulele about 10 years ago. They were fabulous — a range of songs — including some old favorites such as “Shaft” and “Le Freak.”  I don’t think I’d ever heard them do  “I Heard it Through The Grapevine,” “Bang Bang,” “Rock Around the Clock” or  “Car Wash” before.

Our seats were on the third row, and it was a lot of fun to watch their faces.  What hams they are. Dave had expressions for every song and the newest member of the group, Leisa, fits right in with expressions during the songs.  Good for Leisa on a shoutout for women who play the ukulele.  Last time Hester was with the group but neither Kitty nor Leisa. leisa-w

Richie has moved into a flat picking style on his steel strings, and it was a real joy to watch him play.  His style of play takes some serious practice.  Dave is primarily a fingerpicking style, but when needed he does some interesting strum patterns.   I had meant to ask what kind of bass Jonty plays.  Is is a Kala UBass?

You may or may not know that i used to make cigar box ukuleles, but now I make Native American style flutes and kanteles.  The last time the UOGB performed in town, I got them to sign one of my cigar box ukuleles.

This year, I took my Ohana sopranino for their signatures.  It was interesting how many people in the audience at half time had not seen a sopranino.  Several women who have smaller hands and shorter fingers, as I do, loved the svelte neck and low action on the sopranino.  Unwittingly, I probably made a few sales for Ohana.

But my sopranino was not as small as the one that George played for one of the songs.  It was no larger than his hand, yet he played chords on it! peter-pin-w

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are a unique group in that they meet with the fans/audience after the show.  This time, in the Phillips Performing Arts Center, a room was set up for them to give signatures. They are personable and signed many ukuleles, performance tickets and other parapanaelia that’s brought for them to sign.

I was surprised though, that the crowd for signing was not larger.  Perhaps this was because no announcement was made to let the general audience know?

I made special wood-turned ukulele pins as a gift for the orchestra members.  First I wood turn the pendants into a concave, then woodburn patterns and designs on the pin. The pin is designed so that the natural wood shows through as the soundboard of the ukulele.  Then, I use a variety of methods and design festive patterns around the ukulele.

I had made 5 pins from beautiful cherry wood from a local tree, so I was able to give them to five of the orchestra members. Thought it would give them something very local and handmade from this part of their tour.

Check out my special ukulele pins on George, Leisa and Peter in the photos above. You, too, can have a special wood-turned ukulele pin. Just check my Etsy store to see what’s available right now.

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