Yearly Archives: 2011

If you weren’t at our holiday party, those of us who were wish you had been there

We had a great time at our South Austin holiday party this past Thursday, Dec 8. Around 35 people attended, and everyone ate, drank, strummed, sang, and had a wonderful evening. Among the greatest of the treats (and there were many, as you can see), was Harry’s terrific haupia–Hawaiian coconut pudding served on a piece of palm leaf and garnished with pomegranate seeds (no, one didn’t eat the palm leaf).

We sang lots of holiday songs — notably “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” — along with our previously featured “Blue Christmas” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”Several of us also shared non-holiday songs, too, such as the 20s Ukulele Ike hit “You’re My Weakness Now.”

Remember that in the future, we will be holding our meetings on the second Thursday of each month. That means that in January, our meeting will be held on Thursday, JanuaHarry's haupia--mmm!ry 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m., at Central Market North (the place we’ve met for most of the past year).

Did you know that we have now been meeting for 12 months? Our January 2012 meeting will complete the cycle, and we look forward to strumming along with you into the new year.

103-year-old uke musician Bill Tapia dies

Many of us in the ukulele community have heard of Bill Tapia, a professional musician of Portuguese parents born in Honolulu on the first day of 1908. He started playing the ukulele as a boy, and by the 1920s had become a professional musician. He was performing in Hawaii and on cruise ships during the first ukulele craze of the 20s and 30s, and switching back and forth between ukulele and guitar, kept on performing until his death on December 2nd–only about a month before he would have turned 104.

If you look for him by name on the Web, you’ll find plenty about him, but you can read about his death here. What a big loss for the uke world!

Coming Dec. 8–Austin Ukulele Society Strum-a-long and Holiday Potluck!

Susan and Ted, two AUS members, have graciously agreed to host our December meeting, on Thursday December 8th, at their home (if the weather’s mild, we can spend time outside – if cool, we’ll be indoors).
Please plan to bring something to share – a savory or sweet snack and BYOB on wine / beer / soda / tea, or whatever it is you’d like to drink. Please bring a portable chair if you have one, too. And if you’d like, bring a holiday song to share–whether you perform it yourself, or bring along some song sheets for the group.

We’re starting a little earlier (at 6pm) than usual to socialize, enjoy the refreshments/foods, and of course make time to jam on our holiday tunes and some other favorites.

Please RSVP; email us at austinukes@gmail.com by Dec. 5th to give us an idea of how many will attend. When you RSVP, we’ll send you the address where it all will happen. Looking forward to it, friends!

Curious about the ukulele business?

Hey–here’s an article from the HawaiiBusiness.com site, “Ukulele Boom Generates Global Sales for Hawaii Companies.” It shows that ukes are such a popular product that many of these U.S. companies, such as Koolau, are outsourcing some of their uke construction to Asia. But it also points out how popular ukes have become, to sales levels that no one could imagine ten years ago:

Ukulele sales are growing so rapidly that NAMM – the 9,000-member National Association of Music Merchants – started tracking domestic sales two years ago as part of its global sales report. U.S. sales jumped 16 percent in 2010 over the previous year and the organization expects a similar increase this year.

“Ukuleles are a hot ticket right now,” says NAMM marketing and communications director Scott Robertson. “The popularity of the instrument continues to surge. There are quite a few popular artists including ukuleles in their music and people are responding to that. Plus it’s a less intimidating instrument, very portable, and easy to get started and play your troubles away.”

Take a look. There’s also a brief (and far from complete, but worth reading anyway) history of the uke as a consumer product.

Well, it wasn’t 11/11/11, but it was 11/15/11

Our Tuesday, 11/15/11 meeting in the elegant library of the University Methodist Church near the UT campus was great fun. Thanks to everyone who came out. Hats off to Mardi Wareham for making it possible to meet up in such a comfy spot.

A very warm welcome to the first-timers who joined us — we hope to see you again soon! And special kudos to everyone who played a solo number for the group! (See pictures of some of the soloists–Mardi was one of them–see her on the right.)

Mark your calendars because our December meeting will be special. To celebrate the holiday season ukulele style, we’re having a Holiday House Party on Thursday, December 8th. We’ll have snacks and drinks, get a chance to socialize, and then jam on some holiday tunes. We will be following up soon with more details.

(A reminder that you can find downloadable PDF versions of all our song sheets on our blog (gosh, that’s where you are now). Click on the “Ukulele Music Library” link.)

Mark your calendars because our December meeting will be special. To celebrate the holiday season ukulele style, we’re having a Holiday House Party on Thursday, December 8th. We’ll have snacks and drinks, get a chance to socialize, and then jam on some holiday tunes. We will be following up soon with more details.

As always, it’s such a pleasure to play with you all. –Bob

Another reminder… and what about Holiday songs?

Happy November!

This month’s meeting is in eleven days from today, and here’s an extra reminder about the LOCATION CHANGE!

We’ll meet at the University United Methodist Church (UUMC), on the UT Campus, at 24th and Guadalupe (2409 Guadalupe).  There is a small parking lot in front of the church’s main entrance (there is a turn into the parking lot, west side of Guadalupe, between 24th and 25th Streets).  We’re meeting on TUESDAY, November 15th, at 7pm, at UUMC’s library.  (Please note this is the third Tuesday of the month – not the second Tuesday).

The UUMC parking lot is available to use, free of charge, but space is limited – if the parking lot is full, please plan to park at a meter nearby – there are plenty just 1.5 blocks north, on Dean Keeton (and meters around campus are still free after 6pm).

So please mark your calendars and note the location.

We are considering learning a couple of holiday tunes, such as “Blue Christmas” and maybe “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – keep your eyes open as we’ll try to send the song sheets out before the meeting – coming soon, we hope. If you want to look at a selection of Christmas songs, chorded out for uke, visit this British site and this American one. These won’t be the song arrangements we’ll use in our meetings, but they’re a good place to get your uke-playing in shape for the Holidays.

Attention! November meeting will be held Tues, Nov 15

Due to the impending holidays, the Central Market folks told us that we won’t have access to their Community Room during November and December. So… we’ll be holding the November meeting on Nov 15 (that’s the third Tuesday in Nov, folks, instead of our usual second Tuesday) at UUMC (University United Methodist Church, at 24th and Guadalupe, i.e., at 2409 Guadalupe). There is a small parking lot in front of the church’s main entrance (there is a turn into the parking lot, west side of Guadalupe, between 24th and 25th Streets). The number of spaces in the lot are limited, but nearby meters are free after 6 p.m.

So that would be Tuesday, November 15th, at the usual time of 7 – 8:30 pm. Hokey dokey with you? We hope so. More about the meeting coming soon. And… we hope to hold a special holiday get-together/strum-along. News coming soon!