On Oct. 10, UMM Ukuleles Play to Benefit Themselves

More than 20 members of the UMM Ukulele Club are raising money to fund a four-day trip to play in an international ukulele event in Nova Scotia in late October. They are hosting a public supper and "Uke-Box Performance" on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Holy Name Parish Hall on Broadway in Machias.

Ukulele Club 2009"We've supported the community, and now we're asking for community support in return," said Gene Nichols, the longtime University of Maine at Machias music professor. "We'll play any tune on the ukulele that anyone wants – just put your money in the jukebox, only this will be a uke-box."

The group will travel Oct. 22-26 to Liverpool, Nova Scotia, to the third Ukulele Ceilidh, organized by a local group of ukulele aficionados there. The event, which draws more than 300 ukulele fans, is held every two years.

The UMM Ukuleles attended the same event in 2007, and were a considerable hit with their unconventional rock-and-roll style. The group were the talk of the festival because of their songbook exceeding more than 1,000 tunes. Two years later, the Ukes work from a songbook of more than 1,400 tunes. They try out tunes new and old every Friday at UMM's music room, and play gigs – sometimes three times in a weekend – between their practices.

The public is enjoyed to join in the fun by enjoying dishes prepared by club members, then trying to stump the club by calling for a song, uke-box style. By getting $5 or $10 or even higher to playing someone's favorite tune, the Ukuleles earned more than $1,200 at a similar fundraising event in 2007, just two weeks before the group traveled to Liverpool.

That event was billed as a "Bring 'Em Back!" show – because club members at that point had enough money to get themselves to the international festival, but needed more to "bring 'em back" from Nova Scotia.

For more information about how to donate to the traveling UMM Ukulele Club, call Gene Nichols at 255-1229.

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