Las Cruces UkeFest
2020 Workshop Descriptions

Casey MacGill

My Three Strums
The three strums I use regularly are THE SWING STRUM, THE SHUFFLE STRUM, and THE RUMBA STRUM. We will spend the most time learning the swing strum technique to create a danceable rhythm feel with the ukulele.  We will learn the damping technique that is essential to creating the swing rhythm.

Damping the strings is also important in the shuffle strum, which comes from the rhythm feel of the classic rhythm n’ blues records of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, up to and including Elvis Presley.

Last, but not least, the rumba strum is a bit more complex, but we break it down to three bite-sized morsels, and learn to count and play it together. It comes in handy with 1950s anthems like Save the Last Dance for Me, Three Cool Cats, Lonely Teardrops, and Under the Boardwalk.

Slim’s Jam/Fun with the Music of Slim Galliard
Slim was a talented entertainer and musician who wrote lots of easy, fun songs: Flat Foot Floogie (with the Floy Floy), Potato Chips, Atomic Cocktail, Dunkin’ Bagel, Laguna O’Reenie, Vol Vistu Gaily Star, and Yep Rock. We will play and sing some of these classics. Great for parties and jams!

When You Wish Upon a Star; The Music of Cliff Edwards
Intermediate level with knowledge of basic chords.

Cliff Edwards has long languished in obscurity, but was a very big entertainer, singer, and ukulele player in the 1920s. He actually did the most to popularize the ukulele with his dozens of hit records featuring his ukulele and jazzy vocals.

This class will cover his three most well-known hits: When You Wish Upon a Star, Singing’ in the Rain, and Fascinating Rhythm. We will go over the charts and play the songs. There will be handouts. We will also explore Cliff’s playing style.

He was the voice of Jiminy Cricket and also introduced the other songs, Singin’ in the Rain on film (1929), and Fascinating Rhythm on Broadway in the Gershwin hit show Lady Be Good with Fred and Adele Astaire.

Daniel Ho

All The factors that contribute to it like right hand technique (rest stroke, free stroke, where you pluck the string), left hand technique, different woods, body designs, strings.

Aloha Pumehana
Learn a little Hawaiian language and how to play and sing.

Pineapple Mango
All kinds of things you can do with three simple chords: G, C, D. Bass lines, muted picking, harmonics, marimba, Mozambique percussion, and bass.

Dani Joy

Playing with Partial Chord fragments
Level: Intermediate & Beyond
Are barre chords getting you down? While they certainly are useful, no-one ever said you had to play all 4 strings! Learning to play partial chords up the neck on only 3 strings is super easy and a whole lot of fun. And it opens up whole worlds on soloing tactics like double stops and chromatic approaches and pattern recognition.

Memorize Stand by Me
Level: Beginner & Beyond
Learn how to memorize the chord structure and lyrics (in the right order!) through repetitious movement and gentle guidance from Dani Joy.  Accompaniment to this class will be the bass/baritone parts Perry will be teaching interested students. Together we will combine our parts to make a unified collective and a full song!

Intro to Music Theory
Level: Beginner & Beyond
Numbers and letters in music, oh my! In this one-hour workshop, Dani Joy will take your hand and lead you through the mysteries of the Nashville Number System (you know, Do Re Mi…. 1 2 3…). Understanding how notes are grouped into scales with adjoining “scale degrees” or “numbers” will open up the world of music to you for a greater depth of study. Finally you can join the jam of “one four five” chord songs your friends are always talking about. You’ll also understand how chords are formed and learn how to memorize song progressions, transpose, and play with confidence!

Del Rey

Ukulele Blues Party 1 & 2 (Different song each session)
Basic level
Jugband and blues songs orchestrated for the ukulele, with playing and singing parts for several levels of player. We’ll work on getting that old-timey sound on your uke, with the right rhythm, chord positions and where to find the melody. Plus we’ll try and listen to each other and play together. We’ll add parts for basic chords, strumming, picking and singing. Basic level: be comfortable and confident with first position chords and able to keep time while changing between them. By ear, no TAB. Re-entrant tuning preferred

Blue Uke
Fingerpick melodies and accompaniment on blues repertoire suitable for the ukulele.

Songs from 20th century guitar greats like Memphis Minnie and Mance Lipscomb suit the ukulele, but there are also little known ukesters Lemon Nash of Louisiana and Rabbit Muse of Virginia who were African American ukulele players and showmen with distinctive styles on traditional and standard jazz material.

We’ll listen to some sources then learn a song (by ear-no tab. Reentrant tuning preferred. Level: Right hand can pick out a melody and arpeggiate chords.  We will work on maintaining a quarter note rhythm with the thumb while playing a syncopated melody.

Gorton Smith

Gospel According to Uke
All levels
Sunday morning kicks off with a fun sing-along featuring traditional gospel music, led by Las Cruces Ukes’ own Gorton Smith, a retired pastor. He has led this session for years at both the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival and the Las Cruces UkeFest.

Perry Stauffer

Baritone Uke Integration
Learn tips, tricks, and licks for playing alone and also how to more easily integrate playing a bari with GCEA ukes.

Stu Fuchs

Reggae & Calypso for Ukulele: Grooves from the Heart
Open to ALL LEVELS of player, beginner to advanced.

The music of the Caribbean is a GREAT way to solidify and refine the basics of Ukulele strumming while exploring new syncopated rhythmic terrain.  Award-winning ukulele teaching artist Stu Fuchs will show you how to play the joyful Caribbean grooves of Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady and Calypso.  

This workshop is all about learning to groove better – You’ll learn lots of fun and uplifting songs, new syncopated rhythms & strums, melodic riffs, and level up on your rhythm & coordination.  

Stu’s fun, caring & holistic teaching style of “Ukulele Zen” make his workshops a not-to-be missed experience.  You’ll come away with new skills & powerful practice tips to help deepen your music journey.

Be prepared to have a blast getting into the groove!

The Life & Music of Chuck Berry (Rock ‘n’ Roll Uke!)
Open to ALL LEVELS of player, beginner to advanced.
Chuck Berry (1926-2017) has been called the father of rock n’ roll – he was a true musical pioneer whose fiery guitar playing and innovative songwriting blended rhythm & blues, soul, and swing into an entirely new and exciting style of American music.  In this very fun workshop you’ll play lots of great songs from Chuck Berry’s deep catalogue and apply Stu’s “Uke-a-billy” method to give your ukulele playing that classic Rock n’ roll style & edge.  You’ll learn new rhythms, song forms and learn tricks to improve your ability to strum and sing at the same time.  In addition, you’ll learn several of Chuck Berry’s awesome lead guitar intro riffs and hot solo licks – and how to use them to take a rock n’ roll solo!   It’s easier than you think!  As Chuck once said, ”It’s Rock n’ roll, not rocket science”.  As we play tunes, you’ll also gain an insight into the creative ways Chuck Berry weaves storytelling and rhythm & blues to help create the style of Rock n Roll music.   

“If you tried to give Rock n’ Roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’ ” – John Lennon.

Ukulele stunts & four string circus tricks
Open to ALL LEVELS of player, beginner to advanced.
Be prepared to laugh—this workshop is a ton of fun!  Participants will learn many of the “ukulele stunts” from vaudeville ukulele master Roy Smeck “The Wizard of the Strings”.  When placed with the right timing, these ukulele tricks can add a great deal of showmanship to a performance and bring a lot of joy to everyone around you!  You’ll be tossing, spinning, and even rowing a boat, with your ukes — all while playing music.  In addition to learning stunt ukulele from Stuart, participants will create their own imaginative ukulele tricks and stunts.  Don’t worry — no ukuleles will be harmed during this workshop!