Teachers at the Uke Camp in Portand: Back row to front:
James Hill, Mandalyn May, uke; Nova Devonie (in red) accordion;
Jere and Greg Canote, (twin brothers) Paul Hemmings, (white shirt) uke;
Marianne Brogan, uke; Matt Weiner, double-bass
This past week, there was a Ukulele Camp in Portland. Well, twenty-miles out in the Gorge, near Corbett, actually. Immersion kind of thing, all day, running into the evening, for a week. Sold out well in advance, and it wouldn't have done me any good had I wanted to go for two reasons: First, it sold out before I knew about it. Second, you needed some basic chops with the instrument that I don't have yet, including the ability to move smoothly between most of the major/minor/ and 7th chords, including some inversions.
Also a few major chord scales wouldn't hurt. If you'd been playing a couple years, the literature said, you'd probably be okay.
I've been playing a month, and with the guitar background, I might have been able to keep up, but I expect there would have been some frustration. Knowing where to put one's digits on the fretboard is not the same as being able to do it via muscle memory ...
Um. Anyway, as part of the deal, the teachers came to town afterward and put on a show at the Alberta Rose Theatre, and we decided to go, since one those teachers is the world-class uke player James Hill, whom I have mentioned here.
House was packed, and the group had a fine ole time in a faux living room setting, couches and chairs and lamps and all. Not just ukes, either, there was an accordion, fiddle, harmonica, stand-up bass, a banjo-lele (looks like a small banjo, played like a uke), and a guitar.
It was a great show, full of energy, ranging from jazz, to original stuff, to old-time stuff going back to the 1920s, and we had a fine ole time.
Hill did a few songs, including Billie Jean, which pretty much has to be seen to be believed.
Before he started, he asked for a show of hands, uke players in the audience, and maybe a quarter of us were, or at least claimed to be. All the musicians in the crowd were mightily impressed when Hill did Billie Jean.
Maybe next year I'll go ...