CPLUG – the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group – has so far proven a very popular group. We started with 17 people at our first monthly meeting and more have attended each time: 34 people came out last month! I’m hoping to continue this trend and see as many this week at our next meeting (March 19).
You can read about our group in this newspaper story, here. We are dedicated to enjoying making and learning music in a friendly, supportive community group setting.
We need help! We need songs, song leaders, helpers, tuners and ukuleles. And of course ukulele enthusiasts.
Songs and song leaders: I’ve been choosing and arranging the songs so far, laid out in PowerPoint for projection on the big screen so everyone can see the lyrics and chords. We would benefit by getting other arrangements of different songs, however, and not always be bound by my particular choices. Have some favourite tunes? Get them ready to share – or bring in the song book or sheet so we can discuss how to get it ready.
Song leaders are those folk who feel confident in standing up in front of the group and leading the rest in the song – explaining the chords the rhythm, the changes and any techniques. And, of course, singing.
Song leaders will also be able to take over the group if I am called away to meetings or conferences. I can offer advice and help getting the songs set up for projection, if you need it.
Helpers are people who can aid the newcomers and beginners getting tuned, fitting their fingers to a chord shape, helping them hold the instrument or figure out strumming. We already have a couple of great helpers, but a few more would be ideal. Share your knowledge and experience.
Tuners: not everyone has (but should own) a digital tuner. Please bring yours so we can get through the initial tuning a little faster.
Ukuleles: every meeting, some people have shown up without one. Some hope to be able to borrow the library’s few ukes, but they are, so far, booked ahead of time. I’ve been bringing a few extras, but last meeting we simply didn’t have enough for everyone. If you have an extra ukulele or two, and feel comfortable letting someone else play it, please bring it along.
I’ve been asked by CPLUG members where people can buy ukuleles. That’s not always easy in a small town. I’ve purchased most of mine online.
Locally, you can order one from Blue Mountain Music, but they are a small operation with limited in-store stock, so you’re usually buying one sight unseen.
Broadway Music, in Orangeville, has a fair selection and isn’t too far away. I’ve also seen a fair selection of mid-to-low end brands in music stores in Barrie and Owen Sound. And, of course, there’s always the Twelfth Fret in Toronto. Or the Ottawa Folklore Centre and Folkways stores in then Kitchener-Guelph area). If anyone knows of other sources, please let me know.
Larger urban centres tend to have a better selection, of course., but nowhere near the range of brands and models available online. Canada seems about a decade behind the USA in commercial trends, so music stores up here are not always aware of the uke’s popularity.
You can also buy them online, even get a good used on from the marketplace on Fleamarketmusic.com or ukuleleunderground.com/forum although that’s a caveat emptor option when buying from individuals.
If you want advice on brands, models, sizes, strings and so on, please ask at any meetings. You might also ask another member to try his or her uke to see it you like it. The best way to choose one is to try playing several.
Anyway, here is the song sheet* from February’s CPLUG session, and March’s upcoming CPLUG session. Both are in PDF format. If you want to get these in email before every meeting, contact me to join the CPLUG email list. Here is the chord book, for letter-sized printing.
Update: By request, April will be a Bob Dylan month.
* All images and lyrics are from online sources and for entertainment purposes only, not for commercial reproduction. Photo courtesy the Collingwood Public Library.