Fun's in the music at Uke-fest

Feb. 26, 2011

The ukulele is not the guitar's little brother.

The "uke" possesses its own power, as the third annual Gorge Ukulele Festival demonstrates each March in Hood River.

This year's array of concerts, workshops and musical events takes place March 2-5 at Hood River Middle School and other locations in Hood River. Classes, concerts and jam sessions inquire and express the pleasures of the ukulele, which run from the simple to the complex.

Things get warmed up on March 2 at 7 p.m. with an acoustic concert in The Dalles by ukulele maestra Victoria Vox (see details on A6).

The opening concert, featuring festival instructors and guest musicians, will be March 4 at 7 p.m. at the middle school.

"It's going to be a fun concert," said Char Mayer, who with her husband, Gordon, organizes the festival. "The instructors see each other throughout the year and share songs with each other and plan to play them at our festival. What you get are one-of-a-kind performances and everyone having a really good time with the music."

The lineup includes Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Hood River's Moe Dixon, James Hill and Anne Davison, and Boulder Acoustic Society.

Proceeds from the festival support local school music programs. Last year, the concert raised $11,000, and helped purchase 150 ukuleles and paid for training for five teachers.

Other concerts next week will be the Uke Camp Instructor concert Saturday at 6 p.m. at The Pines Tasting Room; the event is free. A post-concert jam follows and is open to the public as well.

The Pines event will include Hood River's Hapa Hillbillies, and Dave Mullany, Craig Chee, Shelley O'Brien, Lil' Rev, Brook Adams, Ralph Shaw, and The Canotes, performers ranging from Eugene to Toronto, Ontario.

Lil' Rev gives a House Concert at 401 Montello Ave. on March 6, 7 p.m. Lil' Rev is a Wisconsin-based award-winning multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music-historian.

"He has his audience in the palm of his hand from the very first note," Mayer said.

Gorge Ukulele Camp goes March 4-5, and classes are available for children 12 and under ($35 per class). See www.gorgeukeleles.org for full details.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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