Las Cruces UkeFest 2023 features only instructor/performers from the Land of Enchantment: The Smoking Jackets, Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg, Craig McClelland, and John Bartlit. We will also be inviting additional instructors from the Las Cruces area, so watch for updates.

Join us to learn from this year’s talented instructors. Each instructor has a page featuring biographical information so you can learn more about them. As we get closer to festival time, we’ll also post their workshop offerings.

Heidi Swedberg

Heidi Swedberg is passionate about people, which is why she loves the ukulele — the people’s instrument.   Encouraging all ages to engage and connect through music, she teaches, writes, lectures, and performs for the youngest children to older adults. She has been a performer for more than 30 years, working in music, film, and … Continue reading Heidi Swedberg

John Bartlit

John Bartlit is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and life-long New Mexican.  He has spent decades as a classical percussionist, composer, teacher, accompanist with professional dance companies, and producer. For the past 30 years, he has primarily made his living as a jazz drummer whose talents richly enhance the performances of other musicians, however, this does not … Continue reading John Bartlit

Gorton Smith

Gorton Smith will be the first to tell you he is not an instructor, but a workshop leader. He will be guiding the festival’s Sunday morning “Gospel According to Uke” sing-along session, which he has conducted with great success at every Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival and Las Cruces UkeFest. One of the Las Cruces Ukes board members, Gorton is … Continue reading Gorton Smith

Daniel Ward

Daniel Ward is an accomplished musician, composer, and educator, who has become one of the country’s top clinicians and performers on the “ukulele circuit.” He is known for his command of Latin styles and teaches right-hand techniques, adapting his style and knowledge from the classical and flamenco guitar. He has been a featured performer and … Continue reading Daniel Ward

Craig McClelland

Craig McClelland has spent the last few decades playing music in highly diverse venues. From improv duos to symphony orchestras, performing in dive bars and concert halls, Craig makes music that both entertains and challenges his audiences. A professional musician (bass, guitar, ukulele, and tuba) and instructor with over 30 years of experience, Craig studied bass at Musician’s … Continue reading Craig McClelland