Monday, June 21, 2010

Fighting the Temptation to Maintain My Dignity and Not Title this Post “No Matter” – and Failing Miserably!

Well, I finally did it. I finally made it to the Lansing Area Ukulele Group (L.A.U.G.H.) meet-up held this past weekend. I have to admit, I thought these meetings would be a bit more informal, with people walking around and trading tips and licks with their fellows. The reality was actually a bit more organized and, having experienced it, a little better than I had imagined, as there were music charts (easy to follow), a leader (Dave Pasant) and the sound of 20 ukuleles all playing in unison.

I arrived a bit late, having ridden my scooter, Blu-B, along the backroads from Flint to East Lansing, but I was able to pick up my music and find a chair between a man and woman in the back row. The music stands had all been taken by that point (note to self: strap a stand along with my ukulele case to my scooter Blu-B’s backseat next time), so I shared one with a nice gentleman whose name I did not catch. In one of those strange moments of knowing you’re in the right place—what author Squire Rushnell calls God Winks—the woman seated on my other side was playing a Cordoba ukulele just like the one I have at home (minus the new bridge, Worth clears, and Jake Shimabukuro signature).

The group was lead by ukulele expert Dave Pasant, who took us through some pretty challenging pieces, including a jazzy blues piece that had us all over the fret board. I think my favorite song of the morning was “All of Me,” which I plan to work on and add to my repertoire.

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to hear a whole room of ukuleles, and I wonder if sometime in the future we might work out some harmonies – “sopranos play the melody, concerts take the color notes, and tenors do the chords.” 

As I said, there were about twenty of us there, with men out-numbering women about two to one. According to Dave, this was a rather light turnout as they usually get about 30 or so members. I was hoping there might be a little socializing afterwards—I would have loved to get a closer look at some of the vintage sopranos—but most of the crowd, who ranged in age from mid-thirties to sixties, was packed up and gone within minutes, although I saw a few in the salesroom upstairs.

Highlight of the get-together was meeting Stan Werbin, President of Elderly Instruments. Anyone who plays acoustic stringed instruments (and electric ones, too, for that matter) knows that meeting Stan is like being a computer geek and meeting Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Stan was right there playing with us, Hawaiian shirt and all. Nice of him to host this event, and, as far as I can tell, it’s all free!

One last God Wink; a few posts ago I wrote about the connection between scooters and ukuleles. Seems that Dave Pasant is a scooterist as well. Not only that, but he knows the other scooterist I wrote about in that previous post. Small world, great minds, whatever. Guess I was just where I was supposed to be.

-Lamb Chop

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