I just got back from the wonderful eighth annual Guitar and Uke Summit at the Strathmore arts center in North Bethesda, Maryland. Four days of outstanding guitar and ukulele seminars, concerts, and jams culminating in a great show by the super talented instructors.
You may recall my post about the Summit a few years back. I've been there every year!
This year was the first time the final, free concert was held in the Music Hall. I love, love, love that building. I'm not a perfeshinul moosician, just a hack, so I was thrilled to get the chance to be on the stage there.
In this instance, it's the Ukulele Orchestra of Washington, aka a group of us students. We had the pleasure of playing
We were the opening act. Don't have much of a following yet - note all the empty seats. The place filled up for the main acts - the whole orchestra level and the first balcony tier were full.
Made us look like we knew what we were doing.
Dress code is...casual. Need to be comfortable when you're wailing on the uku.
In addition to being simply beautiful, the acoustics are amazing. What a place.
Cathy Fink later described David's voice as "made for Broadway," and I agree. He's a first-class vocalist, and a heck of a uku player to boot.
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. If it has strings, they play it - incredibly well.
I am honored to be pals with these two ambassadors of music.
Cathy's playing her gorgeous tangerine burst Collings tenor uku, while Marcy is holding down the bottom end on her signature model Gold Tone cello banjo.
Tobias Elof, who came in from his native Denmark to teach and perform.
Tobias taught advanced classes on traditional Scandanavian dance music, harmonics, scales. He also taught one of his own compositions - and conducted us ala Esa-Pekka Salonen.
He's a fantastic composer and performer. It was a privilege to hear him.
Jeff hails from the island of Maui, and is one of the finest guitarists on the planet. He's a master of the slack key style, but also plays jazz and classical styles with aplomb. He's jaw dropping and spellbinding - I don't know enough superlatives to describe him.
He's also extraordinarily knowledgeable about Hawaii - it's cultural, political and musical history. And a super nice, unassuming guy too.
Did I say I love it there?
Here we see Cathy Fink channeling her inner Stephane Grapelli on violin while directing the band.
The Summit is great fun. I encourage you to come next year!