It’s aloha for Ukuleles of Paradise…at least for now…
Back in 2006 when I began Ukuleles of Paradise, it was pretty darn unusual to run into anyone locally who played ukulele. I’d begun attending ukulele festivals in 2003 and as I got a few more skills under my fingertips, I was eager to find others to play ukulele with. Nothing here in Butte County (CA).
So, at the encouragement of my husband, Mark, I began Ukuleles of Paradise.
My goal was to teach enough basic ukulele skills to interested folks that we could have some fun meeting together, learning and playing. While my favorite little four-stringed instrument still hadn’t obtained the popularity it’s reached today, we drew dozens of people to our meetings. People who’d never played an instrument, people who were music aficionados and felt like expanding out to another instrument and people who just wanted to have fun. And we have!
For more than 10 years we’ve laughed and sung and strummed and laughed and learned (and did I say we laughed?). Pineapple Jam—club members who are brave enough to play in front of others,—has entertained at church events, for women’s groups, at birthdays, Johnny Appleseed Days and even provided music for an entire church service. Ukuleles of Paradise members spawned the Chico Ukes Group down the hill. Our annual Christmas party was a highlight of every year—especially the ukulele-centric white elephant gift exchange. We’ve sponsored ukulele workshops open to the community. I’ve taught dozens and dozens of people a G7 chord—and a few other finger positions as well.
I’ve so enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm and passion for ukulele with our community. Ukuleles of Paradise members responded in kind—reflecting smiles and energy back to me. Mahalo nui loa for that.
Today, though, I’m saying “aloha” to Ukuleles of Paradise. My time for ukuleles and playing is heading in a different direction, one that requires more time for developing my skills and fine tuning them. I’m working with a great teacher from out of the area and my joy in playing is boundless (and my fingertips very sore).
If you’re a local ukulele player, I encourage you to check out the Chico Uke Group. I’m sure they’ll welcome you with open arms—and lots of opportunities to play.
I’ve developed a wealth of “learning” resources for ukulele and I’m keeping those here on my site; I’ll update them as I discover new tips. I’ll also be writing about my new ukulele learning adventures here so stay tuned if you’re interested.
Check in at my blog or subscribe for ongoing news about ukulele fun. And, as Bob Hope crooned, thanks for the memories!