For those in the know, the hot instrument to play today isn’t the guitar or drums…it’s the humble ukulele. Yes, you heard that right, the ukulele.
Musical instrument stores all over Long Island are bulking up on the ukes. Sammy Ash, COO of the legendary Sam Ash Music Stores, recently said that he sells more ukuleles in one month than he did in a whole year ten years ago. Jeff Frohman, owner of Murphy’s Music in Melville, says ukuleles are his number one seller, and he will soon be coming out with his own line. And Uke City, a store in Queens, only sells ukuleles and has over 150 in stock. A recent concert at the Patchogue Theater by superstar Jake Shimabukuro brought out nearly 600 fans on a Monday night.
On Nov. 17, ukuleles take center stage at the First Annual Ukes For Youths Ukulele Festival and Expo at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater at Landmark on Main Street, Port Washington.
This family-friendly event has something for everyone and will showcase Long Island’s uke lovers of all ages. Participants will include 10-year-old beginners to veteran players.
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., the Ukulele Expo portion, which has free admission, will have booths set up in the Landmark gym. Exhibitors like Murphy’s Music will sell ukuleles, and there will be a clinic and workshop booth with noted ukulele teacher Adam Wilbur, where kids can learn some basics or bring their own ukulele for tuning.
Noted performer and headliner Ukulele Ed will sign autographs and sell his CDs, and the Long Beach Ukulele Orchestra will show everyone how to have fun playing the ukulele and perhaps join their award-winning group. Other sponsors, including the Ukulele Kids Club and Westy Storage also will have booths showcasing their products and services.
The concert starts at 2 p.m. Admission is only $20, and all profits from the event go to the Ukulele Kids Club, which distributes musical instruments to children in hospitals. This national organization is well respected, and its vice president, Port Washington native Eric Kraus, will be there to answer questions about the charity.
The concert will kick off with a half-hour performance by Ed Snyder, better known as Ukulele Ed, a well known Long Island ukulele player who has released several albums.
He’ll be followed by the Long Island Ukulele Ensemble, a group of individual players joining together. They include students, near pros, anyone who loves to jam on the ukulele, co-ordinated by ukulele instructor Adam Wilbur. Next up will be the Murphy’s Music Trio, featuring Liva and Caleigh Camarata and Josephine Sullivan, ages 10 and 12 years old, from Huntington. These youngsters will show how it’s done; their musical skills go way beyond their years.
Following them there will be a performance by Port Washington’s own Bach to Rock, who will do a set of material they selected. They’ve been working on this for months, and are excited to be part of the festival. Bach to Rock is a well respected music school in Port.
Moving into the home stretch, the acclaimed Long Beach Ukulele Orchestra will do a set of more intricate songs. Their last number will be a rousing ukulele version of “Stairway to Heaven,” and all players will join a monster jam at the end of this famous song.
This great family event is co-sponsored by the Landmark on Main Street and Good Times Magazine. The Landmark is known for its great shows, so don’t miss the fun.
Tickets are available at www.landmarkonmainstreet.org or call the Landmark box office at 516-767-6444. Tickets are also available at the Landmark day of the show. .
You can also call Rich Branciforte at 516-280-2100 or reach him at email@example.com
Submitted by Rich Branciforte.