Convenor:   Greg Platt   Phone: 01633 255442
2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Thursdays
Convenor:   Jane Parsons   Phone: 01633 270187
Improver/and upward
1st, 3rd & 4th Wednesdays 11.45 - 1.00

The Ukulele Group was started by Greg Platt about 2 years ago. It has proved very popular and there are now two groups, the Beginners Group led by Gregg and a more Advanced Group led by Jane Parsons.

The first six months of 2017 have been difficult ones for the Newport U3A lovers of all things ukulele. The illness and subsequent sad death of Fitz early in the New Year left us feeling rather like the proverbial headless chicken – still running around but without much sense of direction. In addition, the demands of life outside the U3A – moving house, child-minding and other trivial stuff like that – had depleted our numbers. Not ideal given that we had several concert dates already booked.

But someone living up there in the clouds must still have loved us a little. Greg, trusty old trouper that he is, stepped in to tide us over for a few weeks though with his many other commitments that clearly couldn’t be a permanent solution, so I was volunteered (!!!) to take on the role of convenor. Then we were joined by some new members, all with experience of playing with other groups, a very welcome addition not only to our pool of players, but also as a potential source of new ideas as to what might usefully be included in future programmes. Last, but certainly not least, one of Greg's Ukulele Beginners Group has also joined us – any others thinking of following her example will be very welcome.

Our first 'date' in this new form was on the evening of 3rd May when we played in Peterstone Wentlooge Village Hall for one of the biannual meetings of the local group of WIs and I think we can say we didn’t disgrace ourselves. We even managed to persuade a couple of people in the audience to join us in playing that old stalwart, Jambalaya. At the end of the evening we were plied with very welcome cups of tea or coffee, sandwiches and cakes and a cheque for £150 in favour of St David's Hospice Care which has been sent on to them. So not a bad result.

Playing the ukulele has many advantages. Music in all its forms is good for us, of that there is no doubt. With the ukulele you don't need to have any prior musical knowledge to get started. An instrument can be bought for as little as £25 and being small and light is easy to carry about, even on public transport. It is becoming increasingly popular in schools so, if you want to keep up with the grandchildren, it could be just the thing for you. And if you fancy shaking a tambourine or maracas, banging a cajon (you can look that one up) or a djembe (and that one) or showing in some other way that you ‘got rhythm’ we hope to introduce some percussion in the very near future.

Jane Parsons
July 2017

The Ukulele Group performing at the Market in their black concert attire, with a colourful garland of flowers. The ukulele of course originated in Hawaii.



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