On 22 December the Groningen Ukulele Society (GUS) held the first Grote Ukulele Kerst sing-a-long .
The initiative was an amalgamation of the GUS and Dr. Dick and Ton founders of the Harderwijkse Ukulele Club. A handy partnership, not least due to the fact that the GUS is a relatively new club in Nederland, having had its first meeting in May 2012, and also being possibly the only Ukulele Club in the North of Nederland.
The date was set and the planning began, Dr. Dick decided to do a sing a long show at the GUS venue comprising of a short 50s/60s set followed by a 1 hour xmas sing and play-a-long set. In the end, four members of the Harderwijkse Ukulele Club, Dr. Dick, Ton, Piet, Bert, along with Danny, the founder of UkeClub.nl formed the group and led the two sets with a tongue in cheek proficiency that is the hallmark of a good ukulele evening.
On a cold, dark and wet 22nd of December the plan became a reality as Ukulele enthusiasts from Groningen and the surrounding areas converged on Café Viva La Vida (some with Ukes and some with curiosity) to dip their toes into the world of ukulele sing-a-longs.
With a good start from the ‘band’ and a valiant play-a-long attempt from the GUS, the night began.
More people rolled in to watch and join the fun, for the less brave, a scattering of ukuleles, lying around the bar, made it possible for people to ‘grab a weapon’ and get stuck in, (with the help of a beer or two and a wonderful performance by the ‘Harderwijkse Connection’).
The 50s/60s was a good laugh and the xmas set was great success, I could easily have played along with a set twice as long without even noticing the time pass by! Looking around the room, more and more people where grabbing ukes and having a go, smiles where getting wider and singing was getting louder. When the set was finished, the cap was passed around and the boys recovered their travelling costs, with any extra money going to the charity – Serious Request. A wonderful gesture from the harderwijkers who basically went to all the effort and trouble for free – bearing in mind that as a first attempt at such an event in Groningen, it was a bit of a gamble – though it definitely paid off.
After the Sing-a-Long, to the surprise and delight of us all, we were treated to a short set from the wonderful Groningen ukulele band – Mannen met Kleintjes. An absolute bonus that boosted the ukulele spirit even more, prompting extra singing and a-playing of ukes.
The evening wound down with a feeling of a night well celebrated and hopefully some new blood in the Nederland ukulele community. A great success.
I would like to give a very big thank you to Dr. Dick, without who, such a night would perhaps havebeen very improbable. Thanks to the rest of the boys, Ton, Piet, Bert en Danny, well done, you where stars. Thanks to the – Mannen Met Kleintjes – for your performance and support, brilliant. Thank you to Erwin for letting us use the Café Viva La Vida and finally, thank you to everybody who came along to the 1st Grote Ukulele Kerst Sing-a-Long for making it the evening it was..