The Sum of the Parts - Mark

The Home of Ukulele Orchestras in the Hunter Valley, NSW

“The ukulele is a noble little instrument... anyone serious about music will eventually come to play one.”
Bob Brozman (stringed instrument god)

"There's not much you can do with a ukulele that doesn't sound happy."
Jeff Lynne (Electric light orchestra)

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The Ukastle Ukestra

The Ukastle Ukestra is the flagship, or mothership of the Hunter Ukestras. As at May 2011 we are getting on average 40 people coming along each Tuesday evening.  20 people is a small night. As a consequence, Tuesday nights is very convivial and welcoming, with increasing amounts of (often fruitless) creative discipline required to keep the cats well herded. We have fun, but are learning a lot together within the fun.

The sounds are becoming increasingly professional with singers and harmonies galore, and an increasing usage of different ukulele parts so that we are really starting to sound like a genuine Ukestra. So much so that we, the Ukastle Ukestra, were the proud recipients of the revered 2011 Melbourne Ukulele Festival Golden Ukulele. Here's what it looks like (they should be wearing white gloves. The armed guard is just off to the right of shot).

MUF's 2011
            Golden Ukulele

If you are fresh from a beginners workshop then we place some faith in the strategy of 'throw them in the deep end'. We usually do a couple of simple songs that newbies will probably get through, but then it is on to the more difficult stuff that the Ukestra needs to rehearse . If you are new, you can Z chord it, hear the song, sing along, and play a few chords. During the week you can practice your chords and songs, and come back the next week with faster fingers, more chords, and greater familiarity with the music. Most of the songs at the 'Local Ukestra Music and Arrangements' page have youtube links so you can hear examples of the songs.

The Ukastle Ukestra session happens at the Wickham Croatian Sports Club, Albert St, Wickham of a Tuesday evening from 6:30-9:00pm. Pavo is our host and he is a delight.

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 Cost is $14 casual (how much does it cost these days to go sit in a darkened room by yourself and watch a movie?).  If you wish to purchase some in advance, it can work out to be $11.50 or $13 per session.

Any rehearsals for impending performances usually occur at 5:30 prior to the main session. Many people get there from about then anyhow, for a quiet drink and a review of the week's ukulele wanderings.

Click here for the Ukastle Ukestra wrap-up/thank-you email for 2010.