What do Cuties do when they have their ukes in hand and songs in their hearts? They go all over town to spread ukulele joy, that’s what!
2015 Ukulele Workshop for Absolute Beginners at Leigh Square
The fall of 2015 started off with a group of Cuties volunteering at Leigh Square giving free ukulele tutorials to anyone who showed an interest in learning to play the uke. A fabulous turn-out of 60+ participants strummed and sang over the 7-week workshop series.
Hula Workshop by Kalaya Nilson
Kalaya Nilson, a hula diva and patient teacher with more than six decades of experience, gave a workshop that brought out the Hawaiian aloha in all the participants. The Cuties were amazed by how much one could shake the hips and in how many ways the hips could move! It was quite hilarious what we managed to do and how much we laughed when we did it together to ukulele music!
Ukulele Magic at December Meeting
Time and time again we were delighted by simple miracles that happened when ukuleles were involved!
An hour or so before our Christmas Strum-and-Singalong was to start, Christmas miracles happened. The ukes that were destined to be put into Santa’s sac arrived by Canada Post, on a SUNDAY! We are especially thankful to Ken, our miracle postal worker who made the delivery in the nick of time, because he worked on Sundays even without overtime pay!
At the Circle, when Santa and the Elf were handing out the final ukulele, the lucky recipient, Helena, exclaimed she had already told her family that if it were meant for her and her grandchildren to be strumming together during the holiday season, she would get to bring home a uke that afternoon! She was so right!
We are especially grateful to Empire Music for supplying our uke prizes at a discount!
The December Circle was especially memorable because of the record number of Cuties! By the way, if you are new to the Cutie Circle, you need to know that anyone who comes to the Circle automatically becomes an official Cutie!
At the meeting, Cuties all pitched in to help. Thanks to Laurie for getting the coffee ready. Marjorie was marvelous for tuning the ukes! Charmaine and Juliana made sure the tables were all set up. Harvey ferried the supplies and food to the venue. An honourable mention went to Santa for making a special appearance. We were grateful to Paul for leading the songs! We had the Cuties to thank for a festive spread of goodies on the refreshment tables!
We also had the honour to unveil some magnificent ukulele creations, a first in ukulele history. The innovative ukulele straps that Ilona and Leanne produced were extremely popular and garnered lots of compliments.
The Christmas magic continued as the Cuties together donated more than 70 food items that Sunday! When the items were brought to the SHARE Food Bank, the total weight came to 135 pounds! Imagine what can be accomplished if we all donate just a little bit every week!
Ukulele Concert at Christmas Community Outreach Dinner
The lead-up to the Christmas concert at the Port Moody Pacific Grace MB Church was a marvelous event on its own. The City of Port Coquitlam generously let us rehearse in one of our favourite homes, Leigh Square, for the upcoming concert.
Our Cutie comrade, Jerry, came all the way from White Rock with all his percussive instruments to make us like pros! In fact, our “band members” represented many municipalities including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, the North Shore, and beyond!
On the evening of the performance, we were wildly rewarded with an audience of neighbours from our community and a scrumptious Christmas dinner. One Cutie remarked that it was the fastest 30 minutes of her life.
We were truly impressed when hands just popped up in response to our ukulele trivia questions! The most memorable moment came when a young girl came up right after the concert to wish us all a very Merry Christmas. She remembered us from the ukulele tutorial we offered on Canada Day at Lafarge Lake so many months ago. We had so much fun and could not be happier.
Performances for Burnett Fellowship Church and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Seniors’ Multicultural Day
January proved to be a month of ukulele concerts for Cuties who were eager to perform as we received two invitations. There’s no time for winter slumber! All decked out in aloha attire, some of us performed on the uke, some of us followed Kalaya’s able guidance and did our hula dance! We rehearsed, performed, and met so many kind people that we otherwise would not have got to know. The ukulele really brought us closer to each other.
January and February Meetings
Our recent meetings have been one star-studded affair after another. Our ukulele friends from far and near (e.g., Abbotsford, Agassiz, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Dewdney, Deep Cove, Mission, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, West Vancouver, Vancouver, White Rock, etc.) entertained us with funny and lighthearted musical numbers that left us in stitches (and sometimes feeling compelled to supply accompanying horsey-sounds).
Last January, we saw our numbers soar to about 70. It was quite a turn-out and we thanked everyone for being there with us. We were overjoyed to see all the new faces that greeted us with smiles.
Jake’s February Concert
The biggest ukulele event in town had to be Jake Shimabukuro’s sold-out concert at Rio Theatre. Loyal Cutie fans braved the rain and cold with tiny stools and a heated jacket to secure seats for their family and friends hours before the concert. Some came as far as Kelowna and Nanaimo to witness ukulele greatness in action! As it turned out, the time spent outside the theatre with other ukesters was actually tremendously enjoyable!
The reward was even sweeter — these same ukesters got front-row seats and found out that Jake liked to eat chestnuts! How cool is that!
As we enter the month of March, the Cuties are busy getting ready for their free 2016 Ukulele Workshop Series in April and organizing the upcoming visit by ukulele masters, Kimo Hussey and Zanuck Lindsey, in July. Stay tuned for more exciting events!
Until then, keep on strumming to bring sunshine for everyone!