A chance to learn Clawhammer Ukulele and enjoy a Concert by The Quiet American in Newcastle TODAY! | @thecumby

By tonight I should have a better idea of how to play Clawhammer Ukulele and have been knocked out by the Concert, The Quiet American with a Special Guest Appearance by Danielle Ate The Sandwich!

DATS and TQAworkshop poster blog 600x425

Maybe I will even win something in the raffle – but I will have to put it back before someone shouts “FIX!!!”  (A big “Thank you” to Ben Rouse and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) for these lovely prizes!)

Raffle Prizes UOGB DVD + CD 400x277 small file

Link: Clawhammer Ukulele Workshop + Concert: Info and Tickets

Why do I organise these things, when it takes up so much time and I fret like fury that I will not sell enough tickets to break even?

  • Partly enlightened self-interest: I get to go to these amazing workshops, challenge myself, learn new skills and see wonderful performances.
  • Partly for the huge pleasure of seeing everyone enjoying themselves, individually and as a group.
  • Partly for the thrill of meeting all these lovely people who visit the UK and giving them a glimpse of this beautiful corner of the world. (It worked! Well, so far they have all come back a second time: Manitoba Hal, Del Rey and Mike Hind.)
  • Partly for the pleasure of working as part of team with the other “Workshop Elves” from Ukes4Fun, all of them so enthusiastic, helpful, creative and all-in-all such great people to be around. For this event they are Aaron Tucker, Dennis Bell, Tommy Stephenson and Ritchie Forster!
  • I also get to mess about writing stuff and fiddling with the posters and tickets that Aaron makes for us!

Casting my mind back, I think that the first event that I was involved in organising was in the mid ’70s, a National Union of Students (NUS) conference on the then new Mental Health Act.

From 1983 until 2009 I was involved in organising or delivering workshops, study days, exhibitions, lectures and the like, as part of my job and for the union. Although I enjoyed it all, I did not expect to be doing much the same thing when I retired. (Once upon a long time I was a Speech and Language Therapist running an NHS Regional Specialist Service.)

Then again, until I bumped into the ukulele in 2007, I never expected that making music would be a part of my life, let alone that it would be so hugely important to me.

I might not get as much sleep as I need but I do have the chance to communicate, to connect with people and be creative. Given those chances, it seems to be in my nature to choose them.

I know that I am very lucky to have been given these chances in life.  I am also eternally grateful to all the people who have helped me on my way and taught me. Not long ago I was thanking a friend for helping me with songwriting and he said, “Nobody’s ever got up that ladder alone.”  That was very enlightening for me. I had understood helping and being helped in terms of skills. However, until then I had not appreciated that it also applied to creativity in the same way.

That made me think that there is another thing that motivates me: trying to pay back the favour, by doing what little I can to help other people up those ladders too. Not always directly, because my knowledge and skills are limited.  As in this case, indirectly: by creating opportunities for learning and development. . . Creating chances!

I have a feeling that something similar might be motivating the team at GNUF to go to the trouble of organising these UK Tours!

  • So, if you are reading this in time and there might still be some tickets left for the Workshop and Concert today, 25 May 2016, here, in the wonderful city of Newcastle upon Tyne!
  • You can buy them online or pay at the door – I hope you have that chance and that you choose it – because I know that it will be just great!
  • Link: Clawhammer Ukulele Workshop + Concert Info and Tickets


Singer-songwriter, music-maker, organiser and unionista, bit of a geek, life long learner - there is always room for improvement!

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