Ukulele & Vocals
The focus this month has really been on song writing. I’m getting closer to finalising a new comedy song, and I’ve been performing it as many times as I can to really work through what still needs to be updated. The audiences have enjoyed this one and I look forward to really hamming this one up in performance once it is settled.
Earlier in the month I entered the song writing contest at the Peninsula Folk Club and received some really great feedback and advice. I can laugh about it now, but just before I was ready to walk on stage, I broke a string on my baritone ukulele! Luckily I always have contingency plans in place, and so I had my tenor and a backup song sheet that I could enter in the contest. After a quick instrument change and a joke with the audience to settle and calm down, I actually performed really well. The audience were really attentive and listened to every word. So what could have been a disaster with the string breaking turned out to be an amazing experience.
My friend Courtney also made up a more permanent sign for me to display at my solo gigs and busking (which I’ve also been doing a few times this month). The main information is painted onto the chalkboard, with room for chalk designs relevant to the performance around the outside. It looks great and I’m really appreciative of her work on this!
Finally, this month saw the return of the Cranbourne Music Winter Ukulele Festival. These guys are my favourite local store and always look after me. Their ukulele events have been awesome and this year was no different. They asked me to start the day of performances on the main stage and I played a mixture of originals and covers for 45 minutes. It sounded great. Our Balla Balla Ukes group also performed, and we had recently changed the class structure to allow more focus for performance rehearsals. This was the first performance since that change and it was amazing how much stronger the group sounded as an ensemble with that dedicated rehearsal time.
Jazz is something I’ve been working on for over a year now and it’s one of my main singing goals. I had a small combo play with me for a few songs at my 10th anniversary concert last year, but this year we’re taking it to the next level!! I have an 8-piece ensemble backing me for a whole hour at the FUN night concert in September (see Gig page for more details). We’ve been working pretty hard on these charts over the last month and it’s all coming together really nicely. Keep 21st September in your diaries!
I’ve actually mixed things up a LOT at band in the last month. Firstly, we hired out the percussion gear that I mainly use to a local amateur theatre company. Secondly, our bass guitarist needed to take extended leave from the band due to work related travel. I have a bass guitar at home that I saved and restored from a garage sale, and I can read a bass clef from the timpani, so I decided to start learning bass guitar! It’s actually been really fun, and we’ve decided to share it around a little to train several backups in this instrument in case we need it moving forward. I’ve definitely improved on this a lot already and felt a huge sense of achievement when I finally managed to play a relatively fast walking bass line without stopping! I’ve still played a bit of drum kit this month, but I’ve mainly been playing bass…
Last week our conductor had a clash, so he organised for the conductor of the Royal Australian Navy Band, David Coit, to come in and take our rehearsal. What a rehearsal! We all learned a LOT and had a lot of fun. I think most interesting was when he gave my snare drum rolls context in the story, and by knowing what it represented, it totally changed the way I played them.