The best way to learn and enjoy music. Together with the Ukulele
It's been two years since that meeting in Wickham Croatian Club, after hearing an interview on ABC 1233. Since then Mark Jackson, and his partner Jane Jelbart, have gone on to run, teach and conduct 6 different weekly ukulele get togethers in the Lower Hunter. Well over 400 people have been along to try their hand, and each week between 70-100 people get together in what we call Ukestras. This NBN TV News article by Paul Lobb is the best summary of what we do.
However, you can learn more about the Ukestras by listening
to Mark's 2011 TEDexNewy
talk, or by reading this
article by Newcastle Herald Weekend magazine. These
provide the best descriptions of the work we do and why we do
In order to participate in a Ukestra, you need to at least have some basic knowledge of the Ukulele. Don't have that??? Then come along to one of our regular (roughly monthly) beginners workshops at Speers Point (unless you are from the Bay or Maitland, then we can probably sort something else out).
Information on the next beginners
workshop is here!
Very occasionally Mark also runs beginners and advanced
ukulele workshops in regional areas (so far - Bendigo,
Inverell, Armidale, the Central Coast and Forbes). It depends
where he is travelling - he does like to stay home a lot.
That's why he is a community musician in his home town! He
also likes teaching uke to school kids.
But if you are uke-ready to join a Ukestra (and most
guitarists should be fine without a beginner workshop), give
Mark a call or an email and go here
for details of the local ukestras.
Why a Ukestra? Ask Ukestrans!
What will you get from your involvement in a Ukestra? You will undoubtedly learn some ukulele technique (and songs), you will probably sing, you may end up playing for the family at Christmas time! You will probably spend less time in front of the telly, and, at worst, you may find yourself up on stage performing at festivals with a bunch of other people who have discovered the joys of making music together and who are having a huge amount of fun. Here is what a few people have said to me in emails, quite spontaneously!
On the merits of playing music together
Thanks for the emails. I certainly enjoyed the other day and intend to continue attending. I very much enjoy making music but not so much on my own - the opportunity to play along with others is really great,
Kind regards, Annie"
A first timer gets a mild shock at the Ukastle Ukestra
Thanks so much for the welcome on Tuesday, I really enjoyed it, although I did a lot of Z chord strumming.
There was a small moment of panic when Betty's bag tipped over and 2 spent twelve guage shotgun cartridges fell out. But she assures me they're to go on her fingers when playing her washboard!
till then, Ben"
A poem about the Ukastle Ukestra by Dianne Pope
A great activity to do with loved ones
We both really enjoy our Tuesday afternoons and also having a common interest (which has been lacking for us) George & Vera – LakeMacUkestra
I wish to express our thanks, not just for the great night, but for the pleasure you've brought into our girls' lives. To be part of such a happy group, learning and enjoying yourself at the same time is wonderful, and they have a ball
Alva from Newcastle (age 80ish), talking about her daughter (Lizzie – age 50ish) and grand-daughter (Sarah – age 25ish) – Alva doesn't play, but attended the Hunter Ukestras Christmas Party to watch her family.
Hi Mark just to say having a great fun time I think we have a new lease of life, Bill has researched so much, I kept saying just get anything until you know if you like it but he did not agree, so it the uke is something he has found that is giving great added value to his life and resurrected I believe a gift that was taken from him as a small child and again as a teenager, so here's hoping we will be hanging around for many years, see you tomorrow with thanks Valda McDonnagh
- Monday mornings - the Tomaree Ukestra at the Fingal Bay Sports Club
- Monday evenings - the Maitland
Ukestra at the Grand Junction Hotel
- Tuesday afternoons - LakeMacUkestra at the Five Islands Recreation Club
- Tuesday nights - the Ukastle Ukestra rehearsal / shindig
- Thursday nights - WestNewkestra at the Water Board Bowling Club - North Lambton
- Organisational stuff & joining
the Newcastle & Hunter Valley Folk Club
- Beginners Workshops
- Join the Yahoo Ukestras Mailing List - takes you to the subscribe button
- School Ukestras
- Performances - upcoming and past
- Ukestra in the media