Oakridge Ukulele Festival

The Oakridge Ukulele Festival took place this weekend which included classes, performances and all around ‘ukulele jamming. A variety of workshops were taught ranging from an introductory beginner class, to learning your favorite Beatles’ tunes, to advanced chord melodies styled with finger picking. With the range of skills and topics covered, their was something for everyone. I also felt a strong sense of community as the more advanced players helped out struggling beginners and the beginners kept an open ear and mind to what the more advanced players were doing.

The first day of classes were concluded with performances by all the instructors. Having only met in passing it was great to finally hear the different backgrounds and stylization of each instructor. From Steve Yant’s finger picking version of Pink Panther, Jim D’Ville’s sultry murder ballad, and Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel’s uplifting Guava Jam, yet again their was something for everyone. Here is a video of Milo Fultz and myself playing Autumn Leaves. Thanks Milo for jumping on stage with me!

A second day full of workshops finished the instructional part of the festival. The local watering hole Keg and Cast extended their works to the streets and had a festival of their own including vendors, beer and wine tasting, and live music. A block of time was allotted as an open mic for participants of the Oakridge Ukulele Festival. Hosted by ‘ukulele teacher and member of the Refreshments Patty Sage, the open mic gave students a chance to show their stuff and play their favorite tunes. It was a great way for everyone to kick back, talk story and connect.

Wrapping up the festival on Sunday was a morning of coffee, fresh scones and a full fledged jam session with the floor open to anyone who wanted to lead. With everyone singing songs like Crying Time and Three Little Birds, it was a nice communal way to end the weekend.

This was my first time down at the Oakridge Ukulele Festival and I really enjoyed myself. I look forward to next year’s festival!

-Neal Chin


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