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Posts Tagged ‘Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival’

The 2011 Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival is on!

Bigger and better than last year with two and a half days of ‘ukulele fun.

Be sure to visit our new website for all the latest information:

www.winecountryukefest.com

 And mark your calendars now:

September 9, 10 & 11, 2011

 St. Helena, California

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 “I don’t know how you’re going to top 2009 – but we want to be there!  Thanks for making it happen.”

Lisa
Where to begin?  There were so many great moments and memories…..and so many wonderful people who made it what it was: sponsors, vendors, performers, instructors, volunteers, and you. 

'Ukulele Bartt, Kaei Gamiao, Brittni Paiva, Moe Dixon, & FreeboThose who made it to the Wine Reception at Gaia on Friday afternoon to see Brittni Paiva perform got way more than they bargained for  when ‘Ukulele Bartt, Kalei Gamiao, Moe Dixon, and Freebo also showed up. Kalei Gamiao is a new face on the mainland ‘ukulele scene and turned many a head. You’ll be hearing a lot more  from him. Many thanks to Gaia Hotel and Spa and sponsors Char and Gordan Mayer from Mya-Moe Ukuleles, who were also on hand with an array of their beautiful ‘ukuleles.

Judd's Hill Hula Party

If there’s one thing Judd knows, it’s how to throw a party–even if he has to move vats full of fermenting grapes to make room in the middle of crush! (That’s Judd on the left.) Many thanks to Judd’s Hill Winery and KoAloha Ukuleles for sponsoring the Judd’s Hill Hula Party, the Friday-night kick-off to a fabulous weekend, and to Doris Coonrad and her crew for an amazing gastronomical array.  And, to top it off, through our Soles4Souls shoe drive at the Judd’s Hill Hula Party and Sonoma Academy, we collected more than 100 pairs of shoes for needy people world-wide!

MusicGuyMicKala Booth by Wei-en RaymondSaturday dawned cool, but  sunny, as vendors started arriving at Beringer Vineyards bright and early to set up the ‘Ukulele Marketplace on the Promenade in front of the Old Stone Winery.  And what a transformation they performed! Imagine an ancient open-air market featuring nothing but ‘ukuleles and you’ll get the idea.  We had everything from the whimsical offerings of Kala (with ‘ukuleles that look like kiwi fruit) to the most beautiful one-of-a-kind creations from expert luthiers. We simply cannot thank Beringer Vineyards enough for opening their beautiful doors so very wide.

Ohana Wa'a OutriggerVendors at Festival by Wei-en RaymondThe Ohana Wa’a Outrigger Canoe Club brought their beautiful canoe, again, and started serving up morning coffee and breakfast goodies right away. (The line for their ono  barbeque didn’t die till they ran out of food in the afternoon.) In the meantime, the puveyers of other Pacific Island goods transformed the fountain courtyard next to the Rhine House into an International Marketplace.

Once everything was in place and ready to go, Liko Puha’s opening chant set the stage for a picture-perfect day.  

“I begin by acknowledging and asking permission of the ancestors of that area to allow our gathering. I proclaim the beauty of the valley, verdant in wine vineyards and famous for hosting visitors. I ask all that have gathered, including the ancestors, to come and enjoy the harmonious sounds of the ʻukulele. Grant life, grant life to all things.”
 

The Promenade Stage in front of the Old Stone Winery went on to host some of the most amazing talent in the ‘ukulele world today including: Dominator, Freebo, Moe Dixon,  Brittni Paiva, Aldrine Guerrero, Derick Sebastian, Erich Sylvester, Kathy Quain,  Kalei Gamiao, Ukulele Bartt, and many more, under the direction of our fabulous master of ceremonies, Andy Andrews.

DominatorFreebo & Moe Dixon by Wei-enMoe Dixon by Wei-enBrittni Paiva by Wei-EnAldrine 2Derick Sebastian 2Golden Gate Trio 1Golden Gate Trio 2Kalei GamiaoBartt and Andy 2

 

 

 

 

And that’s not even including what simply happened on the spur of the moment. Here’s Derick Sebastian just “noodling” at the Oceana Ukulele booth:

In the meantime, vendors were doing a hopping business and many a festival visitor walked away from the day with a beautiful new ‘ukulele to take home, including a few who had only come to taste the wine!

Oceana Ukulele

Rick, Gary, and Derick

Char at Mya-Moe

Kala Booth

Ukulele Tanya and MusicGuyMic

Ohana Booth

 

 

 

Old friends met new friends, new friends were made, and people who just happened to be visiting the wine country discovered the smiles the ‘ukulele brings to faces young and old. You could tell who is visiting from Hawai’i….they’re the ones wearing hoodies and down parkas.    

Aldrine, Kalei, and BrittniDa Island Way on the PromenadeBob RaineyAHAmeleAldrinne GuerreroBut even with all that going on up on the Promenade, one of the most happening places at the festival was Kimo’s Korner, on the back porch of the old Rhine House, where Kimo Hussey was on hand to answer questions, sign books, take requests, and kanikapila. He admits, he had the time of his life.

Kimo's Korner

And let’s not forget the amazing workshops offered by James Hill,  Victoria Vox, Steven Espaniola, Derick Sebastian, Aldrine Guerrero, Moe Dixon, ‘Ukulele Bartt, Liko Puha, Dominator, Char & Gordon Mayer, Debbie & Kanoelani Haumea, and the beautiful “classrooms.”  Here’s Brittni Paiva teaching music theory in the Rhine House kitchen and Ralph Shaw teaching strumming techniques out by the Bocce Courts.  Brittni's Workshop Ralph Shaw's Workshop by the Bocce Courts

 

 

 

 

Kawika Tachera & Liko Puha

And those with a little time on their hands could always venture on down to the UkeTube Booth, so generously sponsored by Kala Brand Ukuleles and  JVC Electronics and graciously hosted by David Tachera and family.  (Be sure to visit our YouTube Channel to see more.) Nothing but smiles all around:

 

 
In the meantime, folks started claiming their turf on the lawn in front of the Rhine House in anticipation of the free afternoon concert featuring Steven Espaniola, Faith Ako, Ralph Shaw, Victoria Vox, and James Hill.
Rhine House Concert Seating
 
This was singer/songwriter Victoria Vox’s  first year at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, and she won hearts everywhere she went.  Here’s “Peeping Tomette” featuring Victoria Vox and her amazing mouth trumpet:
And, of course, James Hill, the most innovative musician on the ‘ukulele scene today, closed the show with something new and wonderful, just for us.  Here’s  the grand finale to the day at Beringer Vineyards with James Hill, Victoria Vox,  Ralph Shaw, and “Billie Jean.”
This might have been the end to a perfect day…….but it just kept getting better.  From Beringer Vineyards our stalwart crew made their way to Flora Springs for the Flora Springs Harvest Party and Luau–Napa Valley Style. 
Stay tuned….there’s more to come….

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Saturday October 10, 2009

Beringer Vineyards, 2000 Main Street, St. Helena, California

Free and Open to the Public

(‘Ukulele Festival parking is available at the Beringer production facility off of Pratt Avenue.  There will be a free shuttle to the winery)

Appearing on the Rhine House Stage from 2:00 – 5:00 pm:

Steven Espaniola * Faith Ako * Ralph Shaw * Victoria Vox * James Hill

Lawn seating only, please bring a blanket to sit on

 

Appearing on the Promenade Stage from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm:

Arial Paisley * Ukulele Bartt * Derick Sebastian * Calistoga Flea Band * Taylor de Man * Victor Ohana * David Bustamante & Da Island Way *Dominator * Moe Dixon * Aldrine Guerrero * Golden Gate Trio * Kimo Hussey * Kalei Gamiao * Brittni Paiva * AHAmele * Linnea & Alex

International Marketplace open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

 Food!  Gifts!  Ukuleles!

30-minute lessons available for the curious

 Online Registration for Hula & Ukulele Workshops still open

Pre-register for

Judd’s Hill Hula Party

Flora Springs Luau

Cameo ‘Ukulele Film Festival 

Sunday October 11, 2009

Appearing at Beringer Vineyards from noon – 5:00 pm:

Ukesperience

Please join us and prepare to be amazed. 

We’ve come a long way since Tiny Tim!

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elvis_blue_hawaiiElvis is one of the few people who will not coming to the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, but you will be able to catch him on the silver screen for the first ever Wine Country ‘Ukulele Film Festival, Sunday, October 11, at 1:30 pm at the award winning Cameo Cinema in St. Helena.  Ralph Shaw will be hosting the show and will loosen you up with a few bright numbers in anticipation of our guest performers: the dancers of Hiva Nui and Uncle Mike Keale, cousin of the late, great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (“IZ” of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” fame) and nephew of award-winning traditional Hawaiian music vocalist, Moe Keale.  michael-keale-9196-500x463Mike Keale is an important Hawaiian music performer in his own right and has kept his family’s Hawaiian music legacy alive performing at prestigious Waikiki venues such as the historic Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels, the Prince Kuhio Hotel, and the Marriott Waikiki’s Moana Terrace Lounge.  This alone would be well worth the price of admission (only $10), but there’s also the movie, that wonderful classic, “Blue Hawai’i.”  ‘Ukuleles are not required, but if you have one, bring it along and strum-a-long with Elvis as he “rocks a hula baby” with you. What a perfect way to close out a truly wonderful weekend.

And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out the latest entries in the YouTube Commercial contest.

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Festival Schedule

Festival Poster 2Be sure to visit the new 2009 Festival page for the Schedule of Events (as it looks right now) and a list of some of the talent headed our way this year.  We will flesh this out with more detailed explanations of each event (and the prices) shortly.   In the meantime, please note that we have a full week-end of ‘ukulele fun in store. 

Also be sure to check out the Festival Poster page where you can download and print out your own fliers to post prominently, wherever you think ‘ukulele and/or music buffs would like to see them.  Your help in getting the word out about the festival is sincerely appreciated.  The more the merrier.

Community Outreach

Thanks to the generosity of the Petalukes, our ‘ukulele-strumming buddies over in Petaluma, we are once again able to put on a performance for the veterans residing at  the California Veteran’s Home in Yountville.  Last year we were able to treat the vets to the sweet sights and sounds of Hawai’i with Robyn Kneubuhl, KonaBob Stoffer, Mark Nelson, and Liko Puha. This year, the inimitable Ralph Shaw will keep ’em hopping with his usual, zany, off-the-wall antics. (Who can forget his song from last year, describing how to build an ‘ukulele case?  In case you missed it, click on the photo of Ralph, taken by Lori Ikeda-Lowe at last year’s festival.) Don’t worry, there’s plenty of Ralph to go around.  Festival attendees will be able to catch his act at Beringer Vineyards on Saturday AND take a couple of workshops from him. He’ll  be popping in and out of some of the other events through-out the week-end, as well.

 New Sponsor

JVC The Perfect Experience Red & Black JPGA big welcome goes out to our new sponsor, JVC, who is providing the Everio camcorders for use in the  Kala UkeTube Booth, where festival attendees will have an opportunity to strum their stuff in a semi-private forum, under semi-professional circumstances, for world-wide distribution.  We’ll have more details on this later. But, for the time being, you might want to start thinking about what song you’dlike to perform for the world at large.  Thanks to the support of JVC and Kala Ukuleles, the  UkeTube Booth will be in operation throughout the day on Saturday, October 10, at Beringer Vineyards.

Rapid Uke 101

Frank in BlueAnd while we’re on the subject of Saturday’s events, feel free to bring along any curious friends or family members who haven’t yet caught the bug (bug? flea? get it?) and drop them off at Frank Novicki’s Rapid Uke 101 booth, where Frank will have them humming and strumming in a quick 30 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t have an ‘ukulele, yet; we’ll make one available for them. 

Frank is also a valued member of the Maika’i Gents, who will be performing at the Judd’s Hill Hula Party on Friday, October 9.  If you plan attending that,  don’t forget to bring your gently used (but now unused)  slippahs to donate to Soles4Souls, the primary beneficiary of the Friday night event.

  
S4SWebsiteClickThrough160x160Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donation of  new and used shoes and has distributed more than 4.3 million pairs (currently donating one pair every 17 seconds) to people in over 125 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania, and the United States.  We’ll have a collection box at the Hula Party where you can deposit the shoes you don’t want to take back home with you.

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heritage_legacyIt just keeps getting better.  Beringer Vineyards will be hosting the SaturDAY portion of the festival at their historic property in St. Helena on Saturday, October 10.  We’ll have  workshops in the caves, in the Rhine House, next to the bocce courts, and on the lawn under the majestic oaks.  We’re bringing heritage_propertyin some great talent for the concert(s) and we’ll have plenty of room for informal kani ka pila and jam sessions. The International Marketplace will be back and we’ll have  a lei stand,  UkeTube and Insta-Uke booths, party hula and more. I think we’ll even have a human-powered smoothie machine there! 

flora-springsThat evening we’ll be moving the party to Flora Springs  on Zinfandel Lane (not the tasting room on Highway 29) for the lu’au and concert, with the broad sweep of the Napa Valley at dusk as a backdrop. Simply beautiful.  There will be loads of fantastic entertainment, wonderful food and wine, and great company. More details to come.

miner-familyWe won’t be abandoning you on Sunday, either. Miner Family Vineyards will be hosting us for a  wine/food/’ukulele pairing event, in the cave room at the winery on October 11, right around brunch-time.  Seating for this unique event, “‘Ukulele Sunday School,” will be very limited.  So stay tuned.

judds-hill And don’t forget that the zaney bunch at Judd’s Hill will be hosting the “Judd’s Hill Hula Party” at their winery on Friday evening, October 9.  There’ll be a mini ‘ukulele film festival, music by the Maika’i Gents, party hula with Michelle Kiba, and, of course,  food and wine!  A fun time for all and a chance to donate your gently used slippahs to Soles4Souls. Don’t forget to bring your ‘ukuleles!

And now for the small print. With all this talk of wine and wineries you might be thinking this is not a family event. Far from it.  The venues are all family-friendly and our next generation of  well-behaved  ‘ukulele enthusiasts is more than welcome.

 

Accommodations Update

yountville-innThe Yountville Inn is extending a $50 discount to people staying with them for the festival; you just need to mention the “‘ukulele festival” when making your reservation.  This is a lovely, deluxe property in Yountville, which is about halfway between Napa and St. Helena. Because of the time of year (and the fact that it’s a weekend) a 2-night minimum stay is required. But, what a fabulous treat for yourself–breakfast, wine tasting packages, and more…….

bothe2A treat of an entirely different sort would be to stay at Bothe State Park  (right next to the Tucker Farm Center). Bring your motor home or tent and experience what the valley was like before the arrival of the grape. Prepare for warm sunny days and cool (bordering on cold) evenings under the redwoods, under the stars.

That’s it for now. But please stay tuned and make your reservations early!  

In order to receive automatic festival updates by email, be sure to Subscribe.  And, just incase you missed out on any of the festival gear from last year, be sure to check out the Festival Store, where your purchases provide fuel for the engine that drives the festival forward.

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Hello.  And welcome!

There are so many exciting things happening with this year’s festival, I hardly know where to begin.  We better start with the dates. It’s official. The 2009 (and 2nd annual) Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival will run from Oct. 9 – 11. So far we have the following instructors and performers lined-up: James Hill, Ralph Shaw, Victoria Vox, Kimo Hussey, Faith Ako, Steven Espaniola, the Dominator, Michelle Kiba, Liko Puha, the Makai Gents, and I’m sure we’ll be adding more.

We also have two Napa Valley wineries on board–Judd’s Hill and Flora Springs–both with a couple of ‘ukulele enthusiasts on staff.  (‘Ukuleles pair very well, it turns out, with most wines. ) I’ve got a couple of other wineries on the line who also want to be a part of this, so stay tuned. We’re still finalizing the different events and sorting out who’s going to be where and when, but in the meantime, rest assured that the workshops, held again at the Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College, will be top-notch, and if there’s enough interest they will extend into Sunday morning.

I know a number of you are anxious to get your room reservations and the earlier the better; it’s a very popular time of year here in the Napa Valley.  Harvest is generally still in full swing and the Valley is ripe with the smell of fermentation. Calistoga would be a great place to stay and is just about 10 minutes up the road from St. Helena. And you can take a soothing mud bath after (or before) your busy ‘ukulele day.  At this writing, there seems to be availability in all price ranges.  Check out Calistoga Fun for all the options. 

mod_fAnd don’t forget: the deadline for our logo design contest is Friday April 24.  We’re looking for something bright and colorful that will convey all the fun and friendship we will enjoy at this year’s Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival.  The prize for the winning entry is a lovely koa soprano ‘ukulele, SK-300G, generously donated by Ohana.  Send your entries to me at elainede@sbcglobal.net and put “WCUF logo contest” in the subject line.

 

Leave your Slippahs at Our Door

 And while we are having fun making music and new friends, we will have a chance to do some good as well. This year we have teamed up with a couple of charitable affiliates and will probably be adding more as the festival unfolds. The first is Soles4Souls, a 501 (c) (3), based on a very simple concept: get shoes and give them away.

soles4soulspmslogo

Over 300 million children in the world are without shoes–roughly the same number of shoes that we in the United States throw away every year.  And some 1.3 billion hookworm infections (transmitted through the feet when walking without shoes) have been accounted for world-wide.

Well here’s a chance to make a huge difference in someone’s life with a very simple act.  Bring those gently-worn shoes cluttering your closet to the Judd’s Hill ‘Ukulele Extravaganza on Friday, October 9, and turn them in for an opportunity to win some fabulous raffle prizes. The more shoes you bring in, the cleaner your closet, the more chances you have to win, and the more shoes we can send. Win, win, win. How simple is that?

 

dpworldmusicdayslogoNot only that, the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival is a Daniel Pearl World Music Days event, part of an international network of concerts, featuring 3,100 performances in 84 countries, all using the universal language of music to encourage fellowship, raise awareness, and affirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity. Daniel Pearl is the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002. October 10 is his birthday. We will celebrate it in style.

Be sure to check out the Scenes from 2008 and Festival Store pages above. And don’t forget to Subscribe so you can be notified automatically as we update information about the festival on this site.

Stay tuned.  There’s lots more to come.

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