By Punch Pep Correspondent Elizabeth Fischer
Never thought I would write â€œStrathmore, Guinness Book of World Records & Ukuleleâ€ in the same sentenceâ€¦but I did and all in the name of good fun!Â Until recently, I was blissfully unaware (as only ignorance can beâ€¦smile) that there was a record or one to be beat and (slightly more embarrassing), that ukuleleâ€™s existed.Â Â Lucky for me I did know about the Strathmore (a place where new/raw talent is cultivated; or known talent performs) and I had heard (and yes, at oneÂ point – long long ago – ok – not that long ago – read) about the Guinness Book of World Records.Â Completing my triangle, on July 3rd I learned about the Ukulele when I met Rachel â€“ a writer, singer, composer and Ukulele player (while I have not had the good fortune to hear, I have it on good authority that she plays well and just might be in attendance).Â Not sure for you ukulele players that my knowledge is impressive or even worth mentioningâ€¦except it brings me to thisâ€¦the announcement of summer fun: the place, time and location of where you should be to witness history in the making.
On August 24, 2011, starting at 7 p.m., history is bound to be made and you can be a part of it for free.Â To end its popular summer concert series, for the third straight year, Strathmore is calling on/for:
Uke players of all ages and experience levels to pluck, pick and strum their way to a Guinness World record.
The goal:Â to convene more than 851 intrepid uke players and curious community members to use the tiny ukulele to surmount a monumental task â€“ beat the world record for Largest Ukulele Ensemble.Â The current record was set on June 20, 2009 in London when 851 uke players performed in unison at the London Uke Festival.Â Washington , D.C. looks to steal this most auspicious title at 7:30 p.m. (must be prompt or be square).Â Uke players must register to participate by 7 p.m.Â No worries, if you donâ€™t own a Ukulele and want to participate, Ukuleles will be available for purchase on site beginning at $30 from House of Musical Traditions.Â To keep us honest, a notary will be in attendance to verify the final count.
Also in attendance at this meaningful and expressive event: The Riders, a crowd favorite consisting of amateur musicians from the Riderwood Retirement Community, who will open the festival with a spirited uke chorus in their signature Hawaiian shirts.Â Spinning the gamut of experience levels are the young performers of the Piney Branch Kids Ukulele Ensemble and the accomplished musicians of The Washington Ukulele Orchestra.Â Also performing:Â Gerald Ross, a uke soloist known for his infectious good humor and blending of jazz, blues and swing; Pop-folk duo and former Strathmore Artists in Residence The Sweater Set known to â€œpluck at your heart stringsâ€ (Washington Post) whilst playing original songs about the perils of courtship, lust and heartbreak; andÂ Baltimoreâ€™s uke chanteuse and fellow AIR alumna Victoria Vox who will share her upbeat and clever modern compositions.
Audience members can come early for impromptu performances by roving street performers and an interactive warm-up strum-a-long.
For you more serious folks, there will be two warm-up workshops held in the Education Center on August 23, 2011 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $22.50 for Strathmore Stars.Â In the Beginner Ukulele Workshop, Grammy-winner Marcy Marxer will have novices exploring the basics of the instrument and learning simple songs. In the Intermediate Ukulele Workshop, swing master Gerald Ross will upgrade skills to include chords, soloing and classical arrangements.
UkeFest 2011 is sponsored by Kala Ukuleles.
For more information, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
***Attorney Elizabeth Fischer is Punch Pep Correspondent. She is working as an Entrepreneur, Lawyer and Student (environmental studies), covering events for Pamelaâ€™s Punch as a generalist correspondent.Â When she is not working, studying or playing soccer or tennis, she is walking her pups, traveling the globe, running marathons, and enjoying all DC has to offer.***
Attorney Elizabeth Fischer is Punch Pep Correspondent. She is working as an Entrepreneur, Lawyer and Student (environmental studies), covering events for Pamela’s Punch as a generalist correspondent. When she is not working, studying or playing soccer or tennis, she is walking her pups, traveling the globe, running marathons, and enjoying all DC has to offer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.