Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Second Annual CascoBay UkeFest has come and gone, but the memories will linger at least until the Third Annual CascoBay UkeFest is held next year.
Thanks to generous donations made the day of the July 1 UkeFest, we're able to give 14 ukuleles and tuners to 14 deserving kiddos, 8 of whom received their ukes and tuners at the event. Music and Magic Maine was one of our Partners and administered the Ukes for Kids Program.
And thanks to other generous donations made at the UkeFest, we're able to give 9 iPods to the Maine Veterans Home for senior veterans living with Alzheimer's. For more information on how those iPods will be used, you can check out Music & Memory.
The day was filled with six excellent workshops in the afternoon; and in the evening, the Peaks Island Ukes, the Flukes, and the Urban Ukuleles performed.
The UkeFest ended with the Grand Public Finale when anyone and everyone was invited to sing and strum three nautical songs, concluding with "Portland Farewell" to the tune of "Jamaica Farewell".
Can ukulele lovers ever have too much fun? Never! Thank you all! See you next year!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Part of the joy of the UkeFest will be the opportunity for lovers of the ukulele to make a donation using the button below that will be used to purchase ukuleles and tuners for young folks who would not otherwise be able to have their very own ukulele.  In partnership with Music & Magic Maine, you can nominate someone to receive a new ukulele and tuner by submitting his or her name on our Facebook page. The total cost of a ukulele and tuner is $50 from our Partner Buckdancer's Choice, but donations in any amount will be very much appreciated and will go towards those purchases.

Also, there is the opportunity to make a donation using that same button below that will be used to purchase iPods for the Maine Veterans Home, a Music and Memory certified care facility in Scarborough, Please take at look at this video to see and hear the powerful impact of music on those living in facilities such as the Maine Veterans Home.  Apple still sells its iPod Shuffles for $49.  And if you have a gently used iPod you'd like to donate, there'll be boxes at the UkeFest where you can deposit them.  Please keep the ear buds for yourself.  And as with donations to purchase ukes and tuners, donations in any amount will be very much appreciated and will go towards the purchase of iPods for the Maine Veterans Home.

Thank you very much for considering a donation.

Donate Now

Monday, May 30, 2016

Here it is - this year's Schedule of Events!  All Ages - All Fun - All Free!




 2:00 to 6:00 

You can sign up for a time slot at or at the Welcome Desk at the UkeFest.  This is a time to jam with old friends and new friends in a very informal setting.

2:00 to 5:00

Thanks go to Ukulele Magazine for coming up with the following handy way to describe what your level of playing might be. Use these Levels to help you figure out which workshop might be the best for you.

Level 1: Beginner  Welcome!  You are in this most exciting phase of the learning curve until you can move between chord changes and keep a beat.  Get fluent with (at least your C, F, and G7 and then head to the next level.
Level 2: Early Intermediate  Now you’re a player, but chord diagrams over the words are still a must.  Your job here is to master B flat, get some strums under your belt and grow into your instrument - this is when you truly learn how to practice.
Level 3: Experienced Intermediate Look at you, singing and strumming at the same time!  You know a bunch of chords and are ready to use them.  Time to dig in and learn some exciting techniques and maybe venture further up the neck.  Be proud of yourself, this is a fine plateau to reach.
Level 4: Advanced You can hear changes, you know some barre and closed chords, and have toured the real estate above the fifth fret.  You are unafraid of the tricky stuff, ready to sit with the big kids.  When things go over your head, watch and listen closely, then take your new ideas home to practice.
2:00 - 2:50  ”I WANT TO PLAY THE UKE!”, Nina Miller
Level 1: Beginner/Emmanuel Chapel
This is a workshop designed for adults who are interested in learning to play the uke. You'll be playing songs and whistling Dixie within 50 minutes!
Nina Miller founded and directs the FLUKES (Falmouth Library Ukulele Society) and has been blissfully plucking, strumming and singing along with 35 of her new best friends who make up the FLUKES.  When not parading around with ukulele in hand, Nina can be found tooting her own French horn in the Portland Symphony Orchestra.  

2:00 - 2:50 TABS for Ukulele, Rick Gammon

Level 2: Early Intermediate/Upper Parish Hall
This session will be a basic introduction to the concept of Tablatures (TABs) and how to use them.  This workshop is right for you if you’re not an advanced player (yet) and you may not read music or know where the notes are on the fretboard, but you want to figure out how to pluck simple melodies on your uke.  By the end of the workshop, you should be able to play the first few bars of “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” and know how to work through the rest of the song.

Rick Gammon, a member of the FLUKES, started teaching himself to play the ukulele four years ago and learns something new about it every day.


3:00 - 3:50 Enhance Strumming Skills, Duncan Perry

Level 3: Experienced Intermediate/Upper Parish Hall
Ratchet up your strumming skills and add some ornamentation to your playing. In this workshop, we’ll explore the Swing Shuffle, Half Bar, Calypso, Cowboy, and Folk strums. Fanning, chunking and basic hammering-on will round out the session. To get the most out of this workshop you need to be able to sing, strum, keep the beat and make seamless chord transitions.

Duncan Perry, a recovering banjo and guitar player, was smitten by the ukulele nine years ago. He teaches ukulele in the Greater Portland area, entertains both old and young, and is a member of the FLUKES.


3:00 - 3:50 Music Therapy and the Ukulele 

Level 0: No Musical Experience Necessary/Emmanuel Chapel
Learn about the field of music therapy and how the many aspects of music - including playing the ukulele! - can help people reach their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional goals. Learn theories through hands-on practice in songwriting, improvisation, and relaxation.

Kate Beever is a Board Certified Neurologic Music Therapist with a Master’s degree in Music Psychotherapy from New York University. While in New York, she interned at Beth Israel Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Kate returned to the fresh air of Maine to open Maine Music & Health. She works with clients of all ages with cancer, autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, depression, developmental disabilities, dementia, and respiratory diseases.


4:00 - 4:50  Parents and Children: Uke Can Do it!, Alex Adams

Level 1:  Beginner/Emmanuel Chapel
A beginning Ukulele lesson for all ages, particularly for parents and their children who want to learn to play together.  Parents and children will learn to play two songs on the ukulele. We will cover Holding the Ukulele, Chording, Strumming and more! A great way to dive into playing the uke
songs “Clementine”, and “The More We Get Together”.

Alex Adams is a musician and educator from Brunswick and teaches Ukulele, Guitar,  Bass and Clawhammer Banjo at Midtown Music in Biddeford.  He also provides music classes free-of-charge at the afterschool R.A.D. Music  program at Mayo Street Arts in Portland for students age 7-12. Alex has been a private teacher of fretted strings for more than 10 years. 


4:00 - 4:50 Understanding Chord Progressions on the Ukulele, Steve Roy

Level 4: Advanced/Upper Parish Hall
In this workshop we will examine various chord progressions that are commonly encountered.  We'll talk about how those chords relate to the key, and learn how to transpose songs into other keys.   We'll also learn how to find the melody notes within the chords. 

Steve Roy is a multi-instrumentalist from Portland and is fluent in a vast array of musical styles, including jazz, bluegrass, folk, rock, jam, funk, classical, country, old time, rockabilly, heavy metal, and much more. Steve is most well known as an upright bassist, but also performs and teaches ukulele, mandolin, guitar, and fiddle. In 2013, Steve traveled to Hawaii to immerse himself in the rich ukulele tradition of the region. He currently teaches at 317 Main St. Community Music Center in Yarmouth.



6:00 to 8:00 

6:00 - 6:20 - Amanda Panda of Music & Magic Magic 

6:25 - 6:45 - The Peaks Island Ukes

6:50 - 7:10 - The FLUKES

7:15 - 7:35 - The Urban Ukuleles

7:40 - 8:00 - The Public Grand Finale.   For everyone who wants to sing and strum together three songs  - “What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor”, “Sloop John B”, and “Portland Farewell” (using just our favorite chords - Am, C, F, G, and G7).  Bring your ukulele and join in the fun! 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

WHOA!  It's happening again!

WHAT:  The Second Annual CascoBay UkeFest

WHEN:  Friday, July 1, from 1:00 to 8:00

WHERE:  St. Luke’s Cathedral at 143 State Street in Portland

WHO:  Anyone who wants to learn to play a ukulele, who has just started playing, or who has been playing for years

WHY:  It will be a fun and educational afternoon and evening with like-minded ukulele fans.

Please stay tuned for more details on our CascoBay UkeFest Facebook page as we get closer to July 1. There’ll be workshops, opportunities to uke with new friends, and performances in the evening.