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.
And 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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?
Not 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.
Stay tuned. There’s lots more to come.