Well, what a brilliant day of Ukulele overdose. We kicked off with a 'Beginners Workshop', which was attended by about two dozen people. With only sixty minutes to get the message across, we started from the very beginning, with tuning up and on to the basic chords. It was gratifying to finish up with the majority playing and singing 'Mull of Kintyre', before we had to vacate the room for Phil Doleman's improvers workshops.
Phil and The Mersey Belles put on a series of workshops throughout the day, which were all fully subscribed. Numbers were limited due to the size of the room, but each session was packed out with enthusiastic 'Ukers'. As always, Phil's sessions brought something new for each and every one of us. The Mersey Belles also put on a terrific, fun workshop which was enjoyed just as much by all who attended.
During the afternoon there were ongoing performances by a number of different ukulele groups and artistes, who were all given twentyfive minutes to demonstrate their expertise. Biddulph Ukulele Group kicked off the proceedings with very accomplished performance, giving the other groups something to live up to. No problem! The level of performance throughout the afternoon was outstanding. Congleton 'Beartown Ukes', did there stuff to the usual high standard. A varied set was peformed by Cheadle's 'spin off' group 'Seven Up'. Followed by 'The Beatleleles', and 'Dr Uke'. One or two solo performances varied the programme but were no less accomplished, and equally well received by the audience.
A special performance by 'The Buglettes' was a surprise event. Three BUG stalwarts appeared in a, (not very well disguised), disguise, and had the audience in stiches with their fun performance. Check out the photographs!
The hall was fully decked out in red, white and blue for the 'Queen's Birthday Street Party' theme. And Sylvia and helpers were kept busy supplying 'wartime food', in the way of Spam, Cheese and pickle, Ham, and Potted Meat sandwiches, and lovely cakes and buns. And visitors were supplied with numerous cups of tea and coffee. Well done to the 'Cafeteria Staff' for a sterling job.
And so, onto the evening performances. A magical session by Samantha Muir gave a classical interpretation to playing the ukulele, and what an experience it was. Sam seems to get sounds from her instrument that we weren't aware of. Her humorous take on 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm', complete with galloping horses was absolutely brilliant.
The Mersey Belles appeared with their usual exuberant performance, including a special 'audience participation' spot where all the people who attended their workshop, were invited up on stage to join them in a great rendition of 'Tonight You Belong to Me'. If that wan't enough, they knocked us out with a stunning performance of their close harmong songs, and left the stage to a standing ovation.
If that wasn't enough, we also had a brilliant instrumental session from a young man who was announced as the driver for the Mersey Belles. When it was discovered that he was in posession of a 100 year old Martin ukulele, it was obvious that he could play a bit! What an understatement. John Anderson, the young man in question, put on a stunning performance of instrumental numbers from the likes of the 'Roy Smeck' songbook. Roy Smeck would have been impressed! This was not on the intended programme of events, but what a treat. Sensational.
So BUG members and helpers cleared up and wrapped things up about 11pm. Who would have guessed what had occurred over the previous 15 hours?
Many congratulations to all concerned. A tremendous amount of work went into putting the whole thing together, but here's to the next time.