Welcome to Ukulelear

Back in 2005 I brought a Roy Smeck ukulele to school. Kids were intrigued and wanted to try to play it themselves. The sound was pretty cool with just a few simple chords. Within a few weeks kids had bought their own Mahalo ukes and started to really enjoy playing.

Since that first ukulele group the Cal-Mum Uke club has had about forty students join-up every year. It has been a joy to teach in a school that is filled with the plinkety-plunk of the uke music.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Tom just sent me a picture of his uke signed by Fred Kamaka. I hope I
get to touch it when he brings it to school in September.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I receive an email from our band instructor Tom, who happens to be
vacationing in Hawaii. Tom also happens to be from Hawaii but has been
living in Upstate New York for more than a quarter century. Tom has
mentioned on several occasions that he would like to get a koa Kamaka
tenor ukulele some day... Today seems to be the day, and he sent me a
picture from his Blackberry to prove it.

He already has a Kamaka soprano that he bought in sixth grade for $25.
That was a few years ago.

Congratulations Tom!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sailing and Ukulele 85 Years Ago

This is a combination of my two favorite activities. At first glance I
thought that the girl was playing a ukulele, on closer inspection I
see that it is a banjolele or banjo uke. They must have been very
popular and appear in a lot of photographs from this era. I've never
had a chance to try one.
Next week I will be sending out letters to all incoming fifth graders
to see how many are interested in joining the Cal-Mum Uke Club. I'm
not really ready to give up on summer vacation yet...