Category Archives: News

Generous Sponsors Help Cutie Circle Amass 50 Ukulele Kits to Start Public Lending Collection at the Fraser Valley Regional Library

ukes

Do you know that starting in October, music lovers from Port Coquitlam to Boston Bar can partake in the joy of ukulele by borrowing the world’s happiest instrument from their local library?

That’s right! Fifty cheerful ukuleles complete with digital tuners and gig bags contributed by Cutie Circle, Empire Music, King’s Music, Ohana Music and our good friend, Linda Thiessen, are coming to the 25 branches of the Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) Uke ’n Play Collection (FVRL’s media release). The generous sponsors are committed to bringing music to the people and supported this project right from the start! The dream of putting one uke in every home is getting one step closer to reality!

Thanks to the friendly ukulele players at the Terry Fox Library (who disguised themselves as smiley librarians) in Port Coquitlam, the Cuties and FVRL collaboration was formed in February!

Library

Serving a population of 700,000, the FVRL will add the joy of making music to its offerings. In its typical library fashion, the FVRL will include ukulele instruction books to the lot and assemble them nicely into carrying bags to round out the 50 ukulele kits!

The ukulele lending collection includes a variety of styles and colours to suit different tastes and levels of playfulness. From the standard figure-eight shaped brown soprano ukuleles, to their red glossy cousins, to the huggable pineapple cuties, to the thin-line arched back travel-size ukes decorated with abalone and pearl inlays, there is a ukulele to appeal to every aspiring ukester!

Here’s a sample of the fun collection.

uke02

Ukulele #02

uke23

Ukulele #23

uke38

Ukulele #38

uke50

Ukulele #50

What’s more? The strings of each uke have been carefully stretched by members of the Cutie Circle. In fact, the Cuties have lovingly strummed a handful of happy tunes into the tummy of each and every uke to get the instruments well on their way to meeting their new friends in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. The hope of the Cuties is, of course, that all the people the ukes will touch can then build on these happy vibes and spread the music to their friends and families.

The Cuties also had a farewell party for the ukes to give these babies a grand send-off.

Courtesy of Jerry S.

Courtesy of Jerry S.

The official launch of the lending collection will take place at five of the FVRL locations:

Uke ’n Play launch events will be held at five FVRL locations. Please contact the library for more details.

The ukuleles will be in your neighbourhood in October!

Are you ready?!

Cutie Circle’s 2016 – 2017 Calendar

Cuties’ Song Circle Dates for the 2016 – 2017 Season

Cutie Circle’s Regular Meeting Dates

We’ll be meeting from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on the following dates.
June 5, 2016 ** (moved forward)
July 10, 2016  (We will *not* be having a song circle this month as we will be holding a concert by Kimo Hussey and Zanuck Lindsey.)
August 14, 2016
September 11, 2016
October 16, 2016 ** (moved back for Thanksgiving)
November 13, 2016
December 18, 2016 ** (moved back due to room availability)
Starting time: 1:30pm
January 8, 2017
February 19, 2017 ** (moved back for Family Day)
March 12, 2017
April 9, 2017
May 14, 2017
June 11, 2017

Complete Event Calendar

Venue Location – Address, Directions and Facility Map

The Evergreen Cultural Centre’s address is 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC.

We’ll be meeting in the Rehearsal Hall at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. As in the past, we will have free parking on Sundays and evenings. Here is a map of how to find the way to the Evergreen Cultural Centre and the Rehearsal Hall and Studio Theatre. This road map will help guide you to the ECC entrance. With the SkyTrain construction, it is the only way to the back lot.

Evergreen Cultural Centre Map

Directions

TransCanada Route

From Hwy# 1 take exit 44 (at Cape Horn) and travel north or Hwy# 7 or 7A.

Barnet Route

From Barnet Hwy travel east through Port Moody, (along St Johns Street), and Coquitlam (along Barnet Hwy). Turn north (left) on Pinetree Way. The Evergreen Cultural Centre is located on the northeast corner of Guildford and Pinetree Way, four traffic lights north of the Coquitlam Shopping Centre.

Parking

North Lot (Studio Theatre)

Travelling northbound on Pinetree Way, turn right at the traffic control signal at Town Centre Boulevard. Travelling southbound on Pinetree Way, turn left at the traffic control signal at Town Centre Boulevard.

South Lot (Rehearsal Hall)

Access travelling westbound on Guildford Way. Please note there is no vehicle access from the main parking lot or from the eastbound lanes on Guildford Way.

Evergreen-Parking-Map-June-2014-FINAL

Wheelchair Access

Evergreen Cultural Centre is an entirely wheelchair accessible facility. There are three wheelchair parking spaces next to the drop off area and in close proximity to the centre.

Facility Map

Once you arrive at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, refer to this Facility Map for finding the parking lot, the ramps, the Rehearsal Hall and the Studio Theatre. (Click the image below for a larger version.) The doors to the facility will be opened 15 minutes before our meeting time.

Evergreen Cultural Centre Facility Map

What Have the Cuties Been Up To Lately?

group

Photo Credit: Lillian B.

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.

LS1

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!

hula-group-c

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!

winner_s

We are especially grateful to Empire Music for supplying our uke prizes at a discount!

santa_elf_gal_s

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!

group01_back

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!

food_s

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!

rehearsal01

Photo Credit: Leone S.

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.

Graceland3

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.

Leigh

Photo Credit: Laura Thomas

Photo Credit: Laura Thomas

group

Photo Credit: Todd G.

hula

Photo Credit: Lillian B.

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).

mission

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!

jake_01

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!

jake_02

Photo Credit: Marianna V.

jake_03

Photo Credit: Marianna V.

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!

 

Cutie Circle’s NEW Location and 2015 – 2016 Calendar

The Cutie Circle has found a brand new home! Beginning June 2015, the Cuties will be meeting at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (ECC), just across the street from its first home, the Pinetree Community Centre, in Coquitlam. The new venue is a beautiful facility with good acoustics and offers free parking on Sundays and evenings. This move will give the Cuties a chance to meet even during the summer months (as the nearby venues including the Pinetree Community Centre and Glen Pine Pavillion, are closed on Sundays during the summer). We thank the folks at the ECC for finding us a stable set of dates for the 2015 to 2016 season. We’ll miss the friendly crew at Pinetree for their helpful and enthusiastic service for the past year!

Cuties’ Song Circle Dates for the 2015 – 2016 Season

Cutie Circle’s Regular Meeting Dates

We’ll be meeting from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on the following dates.
June 21, 2015 ** (moved back to accommodate Paul’s schedule)
July 12, 2015  (We will *not* be having a song circle this month as we will be holding the “It’s All About Ukulele” concert and workshop by Kimo Hussey and Zanuck Lindsey.)
August 9, 2015
September 13, 2015
October 4, 2015 ** (moved ahead for Thanksgiving)
November 8, 2015
December 6, 2015 ** (moved ahead for X’mas)
January 10, 2016
February 14, 2016
March 13, 2016
April 3, 2016** (moved ahead due to an out-of-town funeral)
May 1, 2016 ** (moved ahead for Mother’s Day)
June 5, 2016 ** (moved ahead due to room availability)

Complete Event Calendar

New Location – Address, Directions and Facility Map

The Evergreen Cultural Centre’s address is 1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC.

We’ll be meeting in the Rehearsal Hall at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. As in the past, we will have free parking on Sundays and evenings. Here is a map of how to find the way to the Evergreen Cultural Centre and the Rehearsal Hall and Studio Theatre. This road map will help guide you to the ECC entrance. With the SkyTrain construction, it is the only way to the back lot.

Evergreen Cultural Centre Map

Directions

TransCanada Route

From Hwy# 1 take exit 44 (at Cape Horn) and travel north or Hwy# 7 or 7A.

Barnet Route

From Barnet Hwy travel east through Port Moody, (along St Johns Street), and Coquitlam (along Barnet Hwy). Turn north (left) on Pinetree Way. The Evergreen Cultural Centre is located on the northeast corner of Guildford and Pinetree Way, four traffic lights north of the Coquitlam Shopping Centre.

Parking

North Lot (Studio Theatre)

Travelling northbound on Pinetree Way, turn right at the traffic control signal at Town Centre Boulevard. Travelling southbound on Pinetree Way, turn left at the traffic control signal at Town Centre Boulevard.

South Lot (Rehearsal Hall)

Access travelling westbound on Guildford Way. Please note there is no vehicle access from the main parking lot or from the eastbound lanes on Guildford Way.

Evergreen-Parking-Map-June-2014-FINAL

Wheelchair Access

Evergreen Cultural Centre is an entirely wheelchair accessible facility. There are three wheelchair parking spaces next to the drop off area and in close proximity to the centre.

Facility Map

Once you arrive at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, refer to this Facility Map for finding the parking lot, the ramps, the Rehearsal Hall and the Studio Theatre. (Click the image below for a larger version.) The doors to the facility will be opened 15 minutes before our meeting time.

Evergreen Cultural Centre Facility Map

Cuties Welcome Paul to Song Circle

Cuties strummed with our new leader, Paul Joaquin, for the first time at the November meeting! Having another gorgeous day to start off the song circle, we were all playing our ukes in harmony!

Cutie Circle

Paul prepared a series of songs to share with Cuties, some came from other parts of the province. We were so fortunate to have members from as far as Abbotsford, Agassiz, Mission, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, White Rock, etc., to share their music with us.

Cutie CircleCutie Circle

During performance time, Norm led the charge by performing a spirited and seasoned “I’m Going Back to Where I Come From” with good humour and rhythm.

Cutie Circle

Next up was Brian. He also shared a humourous song by giving us “Blow Up Your TV”. We all had fun humming along with him.

Cutie CircleCutie Circle

Jen then took the plunge, too, and did “I Will Survive” without the lyrics.

Cutie Circle

Paul finished off performance time by sharing “Price Tag” with us. It is a very catchy song indeed.

Cutie CircleCutie Circle

Then, by popular request, Pat led the group strumming, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” and Harvey, Jen, and Paul went up to provide extra vocals!

Cutie Circle

More requests came in and “Crazy” was a crowd-pleaser song that Harvey and Paul did as a duet.

Cutie Circle

The last song we chose as a group to wrap up the day was the romantic “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight”.

Thanks to Paul and all the Cuties, we had an enjoyable ukulele jam once again.

Cuties Volunteer to Lead the Circle

Cutie Circle

Our October meeting was led by our talented Cuties, Jacqueline and Harvey. They alternated their presence with songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “The Show”.

Cutie Circle

Jacqueline shared her “chucking” techniques and impressed us all with her beautiful voice.

Cutie Circle

Harvey charmed the group by introducing each song in his mellow story-telling style before leading us all in songs with his wonderful carefree smile.

Cutie Circle

Between Jacqueline and Harvey, we got to play a good selection of traditional and contemporary songs. We applaud them for their talent, kindness and generosity!

Cuties

Many Cuties stepped up to the plate and contributed their talent to the mix. Brian and Gill performed the funny song, “Boney Fingers”.

Cuties Group Photo

Brenda was volunteered by a Cutie to play one of the golden oldies, “It’s a Heartache,” despite having a cold. She was a good sport indeed.

Cutie Circle

Gill, Harvey, Leone and Jen strummed out “Save the Last Dance for Me”.

Cutie Circle

Brian joined us at the front and did one of the all-time-favorites, “Country Roads”.

Cutie Circle

Jacqueline, Jen and Tom chose “This Land is Your Land” before Brian and Jen performed the hurting song, “Tear in My Beer”!

Cutie Circle

Lorraine even shared an anecdote with us!

Cutie Circle

We are grateful to all who brought snacks to share and for the very good turn-out of Cuties, given that it was, after all, a Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon!

Snacks

Gary Cyr and Ron Usher Making Guest Appearance at the Cutie’s Sept 14 Song Circle

We are very happy to announce that our good friends, Gary Cyr and Ron Usher, have agreed to make a special appearance at our first regular song circle on September 14. Gary will be leading the circle while Ron will be keeping all of us in sync by playing the bass!

We will be using the White Rock Ukulele Circle song books. Please bring your copies if you have them. Our other good friend, Braden Deans, will bring extra song books for new Cuties to purchase at only $15 for each volume.

A big thank-you goes to Braden, Gary and Ron for their exceptional generosity and dedication to the ukulele community!

See you there!