EAST USA! Here we come SEPTEMBER 2014!

Craig Chee and myself will be doing a tour on the East. It will be short and sweet, but a TON of fun. Our first stop is the Uke Republic (as seen in Ukulele Magazine’s current issue). We are doing Pre-Orders again, so please get your tickets! We will be there September 5, 7-9PM. The Presale listed is for the Uke Republic concert only. 

Workshop & Concert

OTHER stops on the tour will include:
September 6 – WILMINGTON, NC
September 7 – CHARLOTTE, NC
September 9 – RESTON, VA
September 11 – ALTOONA, PA
September 13 – PITTSBURGH, PA

Check out my EVENTS PAGE to see more information….

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Cover of Ukulele Magazine Summer 2014

I, never in a million years, would have thought I’d be on the cover of a magazine! This ukulele journey has really been a wild ride! So, be sure to pick up your Ukulele Magazine to get more info on the ukulele and to see the cool cover with myself and Craig Chee! Again, thank you to my fans for making this possible! Wow!

uke magazine

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Big Things to Come!

Thank you all so much for such wonderful support. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to share the joy of the ukulele with everyone.
We had a fabulous time in South Florida, at the South Florida Ukulele Festival! Everyone there was so wonderful and it was a joy to be a part of it. It was also my first time meeting Manitoba Hall. He is a riot and plays beautifully. I especially enjoyed his original tunes; it was all great stuff! In Florida, they housed us a beautiful house right on a canal. Craig Chee and I felt like celebrities!
After Florida, we visited Atlanta, Georgia, to see my family. It is always great to see my father and his lovely wife. Craig enjoyed their company as well- but I think he enjoyed all of the good food even more. During that visit, we were fortunate enough to do a show at Uke Republic in Austell, GA. That was a packed show and we were so amazed and thankful. They sure know how to make a Southern girl feel like she’s back home! Thank you guys so much for your amazing Southern Hospitality! Folks even drove from Florida and Tennessee to see us!
Now that Craig and I are back home in San Diego, we are packing again…. I guess we just aren’t the kind of folks that can stay home very long. We are headed of to the Reno Ukulele Festival April 24-27! We will be headlining the concert on Friday night and teaching! We can’t wait to see our friends in Reno! It feels like coming full circle to me, though. Reno was the first BIG uke fest I ever attended and was a part of. Because I was added so late, I wasn’t going to have any stage time. Then Doug decided that I should accompany his daughter Jessica for the opening number. I was thrilled! Jessica has such a beautiful voice and it was an honor to back her up. BUT THEN on top of that I got to perform a song solo…. I was terrified. BUT I did it, and here I am, going back with my partner in crime, Craig Chee. Can’t wait to see you there!
Don’t forget to look at my events, though- coming up are Mighty Uke Day (Lansing, MI), Ashokan Uke Fest (Saugerties, New York) and the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain (Cheltenham, UK).

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Those of you who live in the Atlanta area, please mark your calendars for April 5, 2014! We are doing PRESALE tickets for the event, to ensure you get a spot. This will be a Workshops/Concert at Uke Republic. Join Craig Chee and I for a night of fun learning and great music. You can order tickets through my website ahead of time, OR pay at the door. Just bring your Paypal receipt if your order on line. Kids 6 and Under – FREE, Double Workshop & Concert – $20.00  – Concert Only – $10.00

There will be more information on the workshop coming up- stay tuned!
Get your tickets now before it sells out!

Uke Republic Workshop/Concert

Posted in Events

Hawaii – October 2013

All I have to say is “Wow”. I had my first visit to Hawaii and it was amazing. Thank you so much to Elaine de Man and Andy Andrews for bringing me on board to the first ever Hawaii Ukulele Retreat at Kalani’s. It was an honor to be a part of such a fun event. The best part was, not only being in Hawaii, but getting to know everyone. It was a relatively small event, so you really got to know EVERYONE there and that was truly special.


The first day was great fun- there were several of us on the same flight from Honolulu to Hilo. It was a fun and full van ride to Kalani’s. There was a slight mist in the air, but the weather cleared up shortly after we got to the retreat center. After registering and getting settled in it was meal time- and the food was plentiful and DELICIOUS! If you were ever hungry there, it was your fault. That evening was a great time for everyone to get to know one another. Everyone was very tired, so it was an early night.

The next day, classes started and it was a FULL day. Bryan Tolentino, Dave Egan, Brad Bordessa, Craig Chee, Andy Andrews, Elaine de Man, Pam Andrews, and myself, were quite busy. BUT again, the food was amazing and kept us going! Everyone was hungry for as much knowledge as they could get; it was a joy to teach. That evening was small concert featuring Bryan Tolentino, Brad Bordessa, Craig Chee, Dave Egan, and myself. Prior to the concert was a fun jam lead by Andy. After that, everyone was ready for bed- resting up for another day of learning!

Wednesday was quite a treat- everyone went into Hilo and got to shop at the Farmer’s Market and take classes at Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles. I don’t know about everyone else, but for me the trip was all about FOOD. A bunch of us went to get fresh mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen. It was AMAZING- the fresh strawberry surrounded with bean paste and fresh mochi. THEN at the farmers marker there were so many treats to be had. Bryan Tolentino kept buying treats and handing them to me to eat- “You’ve gotta try this…”. After the market we went to view the exhibit made possible by the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii. There were some amazing ukuleles, it was a beautiful show. Then we headed back and went back to teaching. For the evening, we were entertained by Keoki Kahumoku. It was such a treat.


Thursday was another full day- You could take a trip to the Lava Fields or stay back and rest from the days of classes. Craig Chee and I met up with Chuck and Bonnie Moore. It was amazing visiting their tree house. I have never seen anything like it and it was just a true treat. I’m so thankful that I had the chance to have some time with them. Chuck (of Moore Bettah Ukulele) is a hoot and Bonnie is such a sweet heart. After our quick lunch we went back to Kalani’s and finished out the day teaching. That evening was a free night- some folks went into town to enjoy some live music and fun, while others, like myself went to bed EARLY! Living the good life in Hawaii takes a lot out of you, I swear….


Friday was the last day of classes, but it was still a very full day. Everyone was prepping for the evening concert as well- the “bands” were going to perform and folks were already nervous even at the beginning of the day. I knew my band was set- we had many good rehearsals and were ready to go. Once the evening rolled around the concert/open mic was a BLAST. Andy lead everyone in a few sing alongs and then the bands began. Each band was very unique and were amazing to watch. Of course, all the bands tied- so everyone won!


Saturday was a sad day- you could tell that no one really wanted to leave. It was a great experience and I’m sure will be even more amazing next year. Thank you all for such a unique and amazing experience. I will never forget it. To all of my students- you guys ROCKED! AND to my band – you were AWESOME!

Posted in Events, Gigs

Update – September 30, 2013

I am terribly sorry that I’ve been neglecting updating my website. I’m not sure how many of you read this, so for those of you that do, I apologize. So much has happened since the Cairns Ukulele Festival, so here is a quick update.

Some of the crowd in Birmingham, AL

Some of the crowd in Birmingham, AL

Shortly after Cairns (two nights to be exact), I went to visit my family in Georgia and Alabama. I had a great time- and even did a small show in Birmingham, AL. I honestly expected there to be 5 people in the audience. Instead it was a PACKED house of over 105 people. It was such a wonderful homecoming. I made many new friends and was incredibly thankful for everyone who came to support my music. I also want to give a HUGE thank you to Bob Tedrow (of Homewood Musical Instruments) for getting the gig together AND getting the awesome bass player- Ron Alexander.

Dominator, Myself, and Jion

Dominator, Myself, and Jion




Once I was done in Georgia, I had two weeks at home, and then back on the road again! Paul Tillery and I did a West Coast tour and our first stop was in Roseville, CA at the Strum Shop. We had a blast and everyone there was amazing. I think one of my new favorite people is a man named Jion. If you know him- you will know what I mean. He is a ton of fun and a sweet heart. He even gave me a dozen red roses at the end of the evening; what a dear! Once the gig was over, we went over and visited with Dominator and his lovely wife! After Roseville we stopped in at the DaSilva Ukulele Company to teach a workshop and play a few tunes. It’s always wonderful visiting with Mike DaSilva. He is a great ukulele maker and great friend. The day after DaSilva we drove up to Eugene, OR.

Check out the WATERFALL!!!

Check out the WATERFALL!!!

We spent the most time in Oregon- about four days. We had our first show in Bend, OR. Those folks were wonderful. Not only were the players incredibly sweet- our hosts were so AMAZING. They not only let us stay in their home, they fed us the most delicous food. After serving us our gourmet meals, they then told stories about how they owned a restaurant in New Zealand and traveled the world by boat for many years. THEN they took us to look at some waterfalls before we left to go back to Eugene… I can’t wait to go back to Bend again. In Eugene we had several shows – all of which were a great. It was wonderful to have Craig Chee with us; he is always a ton of fun on and off stage. He also set us up very nicely in his apartment, so thank you so much, Craig!

After we were done in Oregon, we drove home (straight shot)… We were quite tired, but ready to be home. It was a BLAST…

Sarah and Paul

Sarah and Paul



Of course I can’t stay home for long- so in early September, I was on the road again, this time going up to Napa to teach and perform at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival! As always, that festival is SO much fun. I got to host the Friday evening concert and perform with Paul Hemmings, Daniel Ward, Craig Chee, and Ken Middleton. It was an honor to play with all of them; they are such talented musicians. The evening concert was beautiful- we were outside and the weather was crystal clear. The temperature was perfect, and Dave Egan made us SOUND so good. After Friday we had a full day of workshops Saturday and then a FUN evening at Gott’s. It was so much fun to cut loose that night- thank you all who helped make that night so much fun. Sunday was another day of workshops- and for both days, Saturday and Sunday, my workshops were full. I was very proud of ALL of my students. They all did so well with all the difficult stuff I was showing them.

Sarah Maisel & Paul Hemmings

Sarah Maisel & Paul Hemmings

Thank you all for your patience and perseverance. Of course, all good things must come to an end…. Sunday evening we had one last meal at Gott’s and then headed home to San Diego. It was quite a whirl wind, but totally worth it. ALSO thank you to Elaine for having me again- FUN!

And here I am now- sitting here writing this update.

Craig and Daniel bringing on the beer!

Craig and Daniel bringing on the beer!



It was fantastic, and now I’m chomping at the bit to leave again… Except this time I’m going to HAWAII!!! I’ve never been and I’m extremely excited. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful opportunities thanks to my friends and ukulele.

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Cairns Ukulele Festival – July 4-7, 2013

I would like to start off by saying how incredibly fortunate I am. Not only have I traveled and performed in England, in the same summer I have had the chance to travel and perform in Australia. For a girl who was terrified to fly, I can’t believe I did it all. To look at more photos from my trip- feel free to look through my Photo Gallery.

4-sydney-airportBefore I get started on the adventure, I want to list all the artists that will be involved I my story. Craig Chee is from Eugene, Oregon, and he and I have done several gigs together now. He’s a blast. Ryan Imamura – he’s 18, he’s an amazing player and he’s from Guam. Bryan Tolentino and Hale Seabury – I have known Bryan for several years and he is beautiful singer as well as player; he brings Hale with him and it pure magic. Both guys are also phenomenal people. Next up are the Sweet Hollywaiians- they have such a fun and great sound. They are also very funny. The guys from KoAloha were also there, and it was a real treat to get to hang out with them as much as I did- Alan Okami, Paul Okami, and Griz. Thom Jackson is from Melbourne Australia and is a great player; he could pick up any song in any key. Two guys that are just amazing to watch- Ryo Montgomery and Damion Jones; keep your eyes peeled for these guys, they are going to be big.

The Cairns Ukulele festival was amazing. I was busy the ENTIRE time, even when it wasn’t “Festival” time. I arrived July 1st and was taken immediately to the artist housing. Everyone was already there, enjoying a drink and jamming. Even though I had been traveling for 20 hours, I was ready to drink and jam myself. It was a lot of fun- and I crashed that evening.10-jam-first-night

The next morning as I was in the shower, a knock came at the door- “Sarah, we’ve got a TV thing, get ready in 12 minutes.” And that is how that day continued- running from one thing to the next, no one knowing that we were going to go to those places. In some ways that was fun. I just wish I could have finished my shower. So that day we did a TV appearance and then went to a radio station to be interviewed. The rest of the day is a blur, but eventually we ended up going to the movies. That was relaxing, though the movie left a lot to be desired. It was fun hanging out with everyone, however. That evening we also had pie- Australians are famous for their meat pie. They had a very good vegetarian pie for me to eat as well; it was so delicious.

Wednesday morni13-holding-a-koalang started with a photo shoot on the beach. It was fun- then right after we went to the Cairns Hospital and sang to the kids there. It was fun to brighten their day and make them smile. After that, Luke Walker (our ride who took us EVERYWHERE) took us to go hold koalas and pet/feed kangaroos. It was very cool. Koalas are very soft- much softer than I anticipated. It was awesome. Kangaroos and wallabies are also super soft as well. It was fun to do something touristy. He also drove us to around to see wild wallabies as well- but we couldn’t get anywhere near them or they’d run away.

Thursday started off with a morning boat ride. We rode to Green Island- and it was rainy and yucky when we first took off on our voyage. Luckily the water wasn’t too choppy so the ride wasn’t that bad. Craig, from years past, tends to get sea sick, but he made it! We arrived at Green Island WAY too early, but we all hung out and had a good time. To pass the time, a camera crew asked us to go for a walk on the beach with our ukes. That was fine, except during the filming it started to rain. I wasn’t too thrilled to have rain getting on my DaSilva, but we made it though the filming. After that we had to go sing to the crocodiles for the camera as well- “Crocodile Rock”…. I’m not so sure that they really enjoyed it, but the people did. I think one of the funniest moments was when Craig (who was ukeless) had to hold the baby crocodile while we played for it. Once we were done, Craig gave the croc back, but his hands were still shaking. Yikes! After those shenanigans we went to37-posing-with-a-croc watch Ryan Imamura perform. He blew everyone away…. Wow. After him, Bryan and Hale performed, BUT they also performed a tune with Ryan and then with Craig. It was great fun to see. I took lots of pictures with Craig’s fancy camera. Luckily the rain and bad weather had stopped and we had a beautiful boat ride home.

Thursday evening was even more fun; Thom led a play along, and then did a concert. He had Craig come up and perform with him as well. It was great fun! Afterward, Ryan performed with Ryo and Damion and it was absolutely AMAZING. Unfortunately there wasn’t time for an encore, even though the crowd was going wild.  

Friday started off quite early- 8AM on a Party Bus! We were all there and it was a beautiful day. The first stop of the bus was at the Botanical Gardens. It was truly amazing; there were so many exotic plants. At the Botanical Gardens, Thom Jackson performed and everyone got to eat breakfast. It was a real treat. After the concert, we all gathered for a group photo and then piled back onto the party bus. We then drove to a restaurant/bar where the 2nd performance and lunch were going to be. It was a lot of fun. I was the main performer for that set, but I was able to have everyone come up and perform. It was fun to feature everyone. It also made my performance easier as well. A highlight for me was playing with Bryan and Hale. They are such tasteful players.

Saturday was my big teaching day- I taught two classes and they were great. I love teaching; all of my students caught on quickly and were a joy to teach. Thank you all! After that was lunch and then a radio interview. Once that was over, Craig and I went down to the festival and joined everyone in the World Record Attempt- unfortunately we 90-group-performing-at-the-jackneeded 2,200 ukers to break the record, but only 1,060 actually registered. It was a bummer, BUT everyone was still all smiles. After the world record attempt it was time to head to “The Jack”, a local pub and restaurant. Craig Chee opened for FLAP! Craig had everyone up on stage with him at different points during his performance. It was a lot of fun. The energy in the room was awesome and there was nothing that could take the grin off of his face. It was a beautiful evening. I wish I could have stayed more for FLAP!’s performance. I only got to hear a few tunes, but they were great; they have a LOT of energy.

Sunday was my big day; I taught one class, 9AM. I was proud of everyone because I knew that the night before was a long one. After that attended Bryan’s workshop, and then went out to lunch with Craig. Afterward it was Sound Check and time to meet my band. I had Giles Smith on bass and “B” Brooks on drums. I was SO incredibly lucky to have them backing me up. They were an absolute joy to perform with. After sound check, Craig and I went back to our place so we could change and get ready. Amazingly, I was not nervous. I think a lot of that was because I knew that I was in good hands, having Giles and B with me.

The concert itself was awesome. I got to watch Bryan and Hale perform again. Hawaiian music is so beautiful- and91-big-concert they play it so very well. I also enjoy how they change some of the songs and make them sound more like Jazz tunes. There was even some hula, done by Bryan’s beautiful wife, Kalehua, and male hula by Paul Okami. Alan Okami sang with them for a song as well and it was beautiful.

After their performance, Giles, B, and I got up and performed. It was a BLAST!! I couldn’t stop smiling. My grin was so huge. It was awesome to interact with the audience. There were several tunes where, when I’d start, I’d hear someone say “Oh! I love this one…” or even just a gasp of happiness. It was very special. It all seemed to fly by so fast. When the MC told me that I only had one song 92-big-concert-myselfleft, and we weren’t done with our set, I was shocked. It all worked out fine, though. We were asked to do an encore, and of course we did. It was a wonderful experience, so I have to say thank you again to Australia for being so welcoming.

The final act of the evening was the Sweet Hollywaiians- and of course they were great! I have never gotten to see them live, and it was a truly a treat. They have such a fun style that is fun to watch. They have a great sense of humor and flawless playing. I was amazed at how fast they could play as well. My only regret is that I didn’t have a chance to buy their album. That is alright, though, because there is still the internet!

That evening we ALL went out for dinner- it was so awesome! I want to say a special thank you to Ko’Aloha for taking us all out. They are incredibly generous, so thank you thank you! I’ve never seen so much food!

So wow- a huge adventure. Thank you to everyone for their support- I wouldn’t be here today with out it. Gaby a huge thank you for having me at your festival- maybe I’ll see you next year!

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Ukulele Festival of Great Britain – June 21-23, 2013

The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain was truly the most fun festival/party I’ve ever attended. Seriously- it was a HUGE party for three days. I wish I hadn’t had to leave Sunday morning….. So here is my brief recap of what happened at this AMAZING Festival. Also- feel free to look at ALL the photos from the trip in my Photo Gallery.

Arrival!First of all it was a SOLD OUT Festival- the crowd was amazing. The day I got in- it was Friday the 21st.  I was picked up from the airport by a wonderful gentleman named Norm. We drove into Cheltenam and he dropped me off at my hotel. I had a quick salad- said hello to Ken Middleton (and his lovely wife), Ukulele Uff, Lonesome Dave, James Hill, and Anne Janelle. I showered and then got in a taxi to go to the Pub. Keep in ind that I had been traveling since Thursday evening. I was quite tired- but too excited to not go out! As we got into the taxi, James Hill said to me “We’ll see how long you last.” I agreed wit him….

The Pub was AWESOME! There was already a huge crowd there when we got there around 7:45PM. I got to meet my FIRST fan- Simon. He had already warned me that he wanted to buy me a drink- so I got a pint and quite enjoyed it. It was perfect after such a long journey. Simon showed me around and introduced me to so many people. Please forgive me if I do not list you all- Pete, Barry, etc. It was so much fun. Another person that I got to hang out with was Andy Eastwood- WOW what a guy! He is the sweetest person, and a fabulous uke player. I got so busy visiting with folks that I didn’t notice the time flying by. I also had forgotten how late sunset came to the UK. When I looked at my watch, I saw it was 10:15PM. I went over to James and asked him if he was ready to go home (we had agreed to let the other know when we wanted to go). They called us a taxi and James, Anne, and myself left. As we got out of the cab it was very funny- I was told that I got the endurance award.  Woo-hoo!Simon, Myself, & Pete

The next day was the BIG DAY! I woke up at 7AM to make sure I got breakfast. It was delicious. I got myself ready and headed down. I wanted to get there before the crowd did, so I could get my CDs set up for sale, etc. It was great to get there so early- I got to meet many of the other artists. Also, my bass player for the Festival was there, James Agg. We just ran through intros and outros of the songs and we were ready to go. He is a truly gifted musician- I was honored to play with him.

When I walked into the vendor section, before the crowd came, it was really cool to get to look at so many people’s ukes. They had local builders there, and it was fun to chat with them. Once the festival doors opened, the crowd was INTENSE! I have never seen so many folks at a festival. All of them were so enthusiastic and friendly. That’s what I love about the ukulele- it attracts nice people. The workshops were sold out, as well. I couldn’t wait to teach- I think I was more excited about that than performing.

James Agg & Sarah MaiselI watched many of the acts before me- they sounded fantastic. They included the Ukuleighties, Ukeristic Congress, Nicholas Abersold, Dead Man’s Uke, and Mahoney and the Moment. When James and myself went on, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I looked out in the crowd and saw it was almost full- I was terrified. My mouth went dry and I started to shake a little- I looked at James and instantly started to feel better. At least I wasn’t on stage alone. Yes folks- I DO get nervous. After our first song, the crowd was SO loud. I never in my life expected the warm reception I received. Each song we did the crowd got louder. James and I were having a BLAST. The last song was truly amazing- at the end I received a standing ovation… Everyone stood up and cheered and it felt like it lasted forever; I started to cry. Never in my life had I thought anything like this would happen- the people back stage told me to do one more tune. James and I had not rehearsed the song I chose, “How High the Moon”, but I knew we could wing it. This was an amazing moment that I will never forget. Cheltenham will always hold a very special place in my heart- thank you all who came to see me, and who cheered for me.

After the performance I went to teach- we did my “Jazz Blues” workshop. The class was full and it was great fun. There were many folks there who had not heard me perform- they were in James Hill’s workshop. They told me they were sad that they did not get a chance to see me perform- so I asked folks to sit down and I played them a song. Afterward folks told me that the crowd from m show was so loud that James had to actually repeat some of what he was saying during his class. The way that the classes are situated, the stage is right across the hall from them. All of my students were excellent.

That evening I got to hear some AMAZING players- Ukulele Uff & Lonesome Dave (teens and 20′s style), Elof & Wamberg (Nordic Folk Music), Phil Doleman & Ian Emmerson. After these guys I had to eat something- then I got to see Andy Eastwood! What a fun entertainer. He plays with the George Fornby Style. I do hope to see him here in America- his wit and playing are truly fantastic. After him were the headliners- James Hill & Anne Davidson. I have listened to their music, but had not seem BOTH of them live before. It was fantastic- they complimented each other so well. I also have to say, it was wonderful to get to hang out with them back stage. Getting to know them both was quite a treat. Of course, I HAD to ask Anne all about her wedding plans (they are engaged). We had a lot of fun together.James and Anne

At the END of he festival all the artists got on stage and did a finale- it was a BLAST. Truly, it was a great way to end the show. Afterward, the artists all got together at the hotel and began jamming and drinking together. I was so sad that I had to leave EARLY Sunday morning. I was up with everyone till about 2AM- then TRIED to sleep, but was too excited about the day that had just happened. I think the last time I looked at the clock it was 4:30AM. My alarm was set for 7AM and I woke, packed, and caught a taxi to the bus that took me to London. My next stop was to be in the Netherlands (via Brussels on the Euro Star).

I was sad to leave Cheltenham, but I knew I had more adventures ahead. Thank you again to the Festival- it was truly an honor to be a part of something so special (and fun). I’ve got my fingers crossed for NEXT YEAR!

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California Ukulele Academy – May 17-19, 2013

I love doing these events- it is always so much fun to see old friends, as well as new ones. This particular retreat was good fun because it was so relaxing. There was a lot of down time so I could enjoy the campsite. This year, the instructors were Jason Arimoto, Jim D’Ville, Ralph Shaw, and myself. I had worked with Jason and Jim the weekend prior, and it was great to work with them again. This was my first time, however, meeting Ralph Shaw. What an amazing person and fabulous entertainer! It was truly a pleasure. I also have more photos in my Photo Gallery- so take a look!

Jam!Friday was an easy day- I taught one class, and then we had a jam session/open mic that evening. Jim, being the wonderful MC he is, lead everyone. I am always so thankful to him when he does that. I’m terrible at that sort of thing. We were also fortunate enough to have a bass player there- it made things much more “timely”… Pun intended.

Saturday started with a BEAUTIFUL hike. We hiked down to a river (before breakfast). I’m so thankful I woke up and did the hike. After seeing Jim’s pictures from last year’s hike, I was determined toIMG_0951 do it this year. Actually, ALL the instructors went on the hike- there was a total of about 28 people. I was surprised, and we all enjoyed it. I took several photos. When we got down to the river, it was SO LOUD. I had forgotten how loud rushing water is, but it was a good kind of loud… It’s hard to explain. Also, the temperature dropped substantially. I put my hand in the water and it was ICE cold… But of course it was; it was all snow run off from the mountains. It was truly the perfect way to start the day.

After teaching Saturday, we got to enjoy an early evening concert with Ralph Shaw. What an awesome performer and entertainer…. I can’t say enough about him- he had me in stitches the whole time. After the concert, I got to have some time with him to chat. It was just lovely spending time Sarah, Jim, & Ralphwith him and his wife. I hope I get the chance to hang out with them again.

Sunday was a short day- I taught one class… BUT it was quite a class. I was very proud of all of my students; they made it through some hard material. What troopers!

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West Coast Ukulele Retreat – May 8-12, 2013

View from my room

WHAT a BLAST!!! Holy cow! There are many photos in my photo album, but in this post, I will have a few of the highlights.
Not only was it absolutely beautiful- but there was so much talent. The other teachers there were, Andy Andrews, Joel Eckhaus, Dave Egan, Jason Arimoto, Gerald Ross, Mike DaSilva, Kumu Pomaika’i, and Heidi Swedberg. All of them were phenomenal to work with. I was set to teach a class with Rick Turner, but unfortunately he was too ill to join us, so we got to see Mike DaSilva instead.

The first day was a so busy- I must admit, after teaching 4 classes that day I was wiped out… BUT there was jamming to be had afterward and the show had to go on! We had great bonfire and sing a long. Everyone got their chance to lead the group and it was quite a treat.

Myself in the Hula Outfit

The 2nd day was even better than the first- my classes were in full swing. Dave Egan had stepped in to help me teach a class  on arranging Jazz tunes; he gave a lot of great advice and he was a pleasure to work with. The 2nd day was also the day that I realized that I was going to have to watch what I was eating. The food was SO good, and I was stuffing myself a little too much… Plus the meal times would just sneak up on you- next thing you knew the bell was ringing and it was time for a meal. If you were ever hungry at this place, it was your own fault. That evening was more jamming- but we also did a fun raffle, where I got to model the AMAZING vintage Hula Outfit. The proceeds went to benefit a school music program. It was awesome.

I was fully expecting to be totally wiped out by day three, but honestly, I was full of energy! I was ready for my students and happy to be teaching. I was so proud of my first class of the day; the Jazz Arranging class (also called Cheap Tricks – HA!) was quite a challenge. Folks were ready for me to step it up a notch and show them the tune, “Misty”. We got through the A section of the song, which, if you think about it, is 3/4 of the tune. I was so thankful they were up for the challenge. AND I will (I promise) put up a video this coming weekend for you guys! Thank you for your patience.  Also that day I got to teach with Gerald Ross. Honestly, this was a highlight of the retreat for me. I had never been able to have the chance to play with him, and it was so much fun. I learned a lot from doing tunes with him, and it was excited to hear about how he approaches songs.

Playing with Gerald

That evening was amazing- it was too awesome for words.. FIRST of all we had a surprise guest- Mr. Jim D’Ville… Or Coup D’Ville (his twin brother). No one (except a few selected few) knew he was coming and it was a real treat. He also did some performing; I always enjoy seeing his performance- he did the song “Penetration”, that 60′s Surf hit, and it was awesome. Also, to start the evening off, we had the BATTLE OF THE BANDS! I was so proud of my band- “Sarah and the Number 2s”. They came up with great ideas and all I had to do was type them up. Thank you so much to my fabulous group! The other bands were also amazing- so much creativity and guts. I was so impressed at how well people put themselves out there; great job to everyone- wow!

After the Saturday evenings performances- there was even more music. Gerald Ross was going to be leaving at 3AM, so for a good send off, we stayed up and jammed till it was time for him to leave. I had a great time jamming with Joel, Dave, and Gerald. There was magic in the air. Eventually- others joined us, and we got every teacher involved in the Jam, including some of the “students”. I use the term students loosely, cause they taught me a thing or two….

I hope I get to come back next year- it was just way too much fun not to do again. I had great traveling companions- My friends Doug Hansen and Rich Maschner. We stopped at “In and Out” on the way up to Asilomar, and then on the way back, stopped and visited James Dean’s last stop! We had a blast, and let’s do it all again NEXT YEAR!!!

Myself, James Dean, and Doug

Posted in Events, Gigs