Head to our new website!

Thanks for visiting our blogspot site. However, this is yesterday's news! We have a new site with updated information that is easier to navigate. Please head straight to www.lascrucesukes.com. We'll be waiting for you there!

New practice location

The Las Cruces Ukes have a new home! We now practice at Good Samaritan - Las Cruces Village, 3011 Buena Vida Circle in the Creative Arts Room (upstairs in the Social Center). Buena Vida Circle is just off Telshor. There is a convenient parking lot just past the social center.

On a few dates throughout the year, we'll be downstairs in the conference room. So, if you don't find us in the Creative Arts room, head downstairs next to the auditorium.

Thanks to Good Samaritan for being our new hosts!

Register for Las Cruces UkeFest 2018!

Join the Las Cruces Ukes!

Join the Las Cruces Ukes!

Las Cruces Ukes Kids Club

Kids Club schedule:

2nd & 4th Saturday monthly @ 10:30 a.m.

El Calvario Church, 300 Campo Street

Playing the ukulele is so much fun, we have formed the Las Cruces Ukes Kids Club! The club meets the second and fourth Saturdays from 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. each month at El Calvario United Methodist Church at 300 Campo Street in downtown Las Cruces.

If you have your own ukulele, bring it with you. We will have a few loaner ukes, but you will not be able to take them home, and you need to practice. Check with Hubbard’s Music 'n' More, 108 Wyatt Drive; they have a really good selection of ukuleles and will help you find the right size just for you. Tell them you are with the Las Cruces Ukes.

All of us are excited to see more folks, especially younger ones, learn to love the ukulele like we do.

Las Cruces Ukes Teen Club

Teen club meetings:
Wednesdays, 3:15 – 4 p.m.
Arrowhead Park Early College High School, Building 4

Teens and ukuleles are a great combination! In March 2016 we kicked off the Las Cruces Ukes Teen Club, hosted at Arrowhead Park Early College High School on Arrowhead Drive south of the NMSU campus and football field (its the building with lots of colored rectangles!). While the club is hosted at APECHS, we invite other teens (or near teens) who have a flexible schedule to join us. If you are home-schooled or don't have a class that precludes you from attending, come on out!

We have LOTS of loaner Kala Waterman ukuleles, thanks to our friends at Kala! And thanks to our friends at Ohana, we have ukuleles that Teen Club members can earn to take home as their very own! One ukulele has been awarded to Josh the first semester and five more ukuleles await their new home in the future.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Las Cruces UkeFest website is live!

We have another way to share information with you about the Las Cruces UkeFest: our new website! Click on over to www.lascrucesukefest.com for all the latest UkeFest information. We'll be adding more information soon, so check back often!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Las Cruces UkeFest 2017: May 19 – 21

Plans are well underway for the third Las Cruces UkeFest. We have the dates, May 19 – 21, the location, the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, and our host hotel for out-of-town visitors and our Saturday evening jam session, the Hilton Garden Inn.

We're most excited to announce our line-up of talented instructors:
• Jim and Liz Beloff, writers of The Daily Ukulele and the Jumpin' Jim music book series
• Danielle Ate The Sandwich, an indie-folk songwriter, singer, and instructor from Colorado
• Heidi Swedberg, the sweetheart of the ukulele world who will brighten your ukulele outlook
• Daniel Ward, a virtuoso with the strings who will help you improve your strumming and picking

Here's the basic schedule for the weekend:
Friday evening: Concert with the Las Cruces Ukes and our talented instructor/performers
Saturday: Workshops all day long with a catered lunch (included in your registration)
Saturday evening: Jam session led by Jim & Liz Beloff
Sunday morning: More workshops, including "The Gospel According to Uke," a morning gospel-play along session, led by our very own Gorton Smith, a retired pastor and ardent ukulele fan

Workshops (to be announced) will provide instruction for players of all levels. This is a great opportunity for people who have just purchased their first ukulele (or are considering it and want to borrow a ukulele for the weekend) or those who have been playing for years and want to add to their skill set.

The weekend will include vendors, prize drawings, and time to mix and mingle with other fans of the ukulele. The jam session will be held in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn, where you can also grab dinner or a drink.

Since our festival venue is the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, you can also explore the exhibits of this state-operated museum dedicated to preserving the history of our state's agriculture. Check out indoor and outdoor exhibits and the incredible views of the iconic Organ Mountains to the east.

More details will be coming soon and we'll be developing a website for the festival, so check back and get ready to register for this great weekend.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Little Ukulele History - Part 1

Those of us who first picked up a ukulele in this century owe a lot to those who blazed the trail before us. Most know that the ukulele has its roots in Hawaii, but did you know that it was actually the Portuguese who developed the forerunner to the ukulele we know and love today? It was an instrument called the "machete" that was brought to the islands by men who came to work on the islands in the sugar plantations in 1879. They began playing the little instrument to the delight of the islanders and their royalty. The instrument was soon being made in Hawaii by men who came to Hawaii on the same ship and it developed into the iconic instrument associated with the islands.

While the ukulele made incursions to the mainland before this date, it really caught on at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. Hawaii hosted a pavilion and had hula dancers, ukulele, and lap guitar performers that became the talk of the town. Hawaii's top performers came and delighted the crowds who visited the expo, spreading the love of the ukulele far and wide.

Martin Guitar Company, reports Ian Whitcomb in his book "Ukulele Heroes: The Golden Age," rolled out a ukulele in 1915, making a dozen. Two years later, they were selling 2,000. That same year, Hawaiian music and Tin Pan Alley songs with Hawaiian or ukulele themes gained popularity. 

In "Ukulele Heroes," Whitcomb (one of the heroes himself) tells the tales of pioneers of the ukulele who helped make it popular - or played it despite periods of unpopularity. You can find music by these ukulele pioneers on YouTube and get a feel for where ukulele music has been.

Whitcomb's list of heroes, in alphabetical order:

• Frank Crumit
• Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike)
• George Formby Jr.
• Arthur Godfrey
• Wendell Hall
• The Hawaiians
• Johnny Marvin
• Tessie O'Shea
• Lyle Ritz
• Roy Smeck
• Tiny Tim
• Ian Whitcomb

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Las Cruces UkeFest 2016

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick-off of summer, a season when many of us have more leisure time to enjoy the additional hours of sunlight. That makes it a perfect time to learn a new skill or add to your skill set at the Second Annual Las Cruces UkeFest! On Saturday, May 28, starting at 1 p.m., the Las Cruces Ukes are holding their event at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, the copper-roofed church on Griggs Street downtown.

Our special guest instructor is Jim D'Ville, who is on a mission, he says, to get ukulele players away from their dependence on sheet music and play by ear. He has traveled to many places in this quest and now he is adding Las Cruces to the list. He will teach two workshops, levels one and two, and he encourages even brand-new ukulele players to jump into his first workshop. We don't know when he'll be coming this way again, so don't miss this opportunity!

New players will also want to take Bob Hull's Ukulele Basics class. Bob is our very own Chief Musical Officer and will give a one-hour crash course on what new players need to know. We hope they will then want to attend our Thursday evening practices from 5:15 to 6:16 p.m. at Golden Mesa on Roadrunner Pkwy.

Hubbard's Music will be on hand during the day offering a wide range of ukuleles and other essentials. Get your first ukulele or add to your collection!

Then from 4:30 to 6 p.m., The Backyard food truck will provide a pre-concert dinner with items such as a green chile and cheese stuffed burger, Southwestern Philly, shrimp and avocado salad, and fried catfish. Meals come with a drink and choice of regular or sweet potato fries.

The day ends with a concert featuring Jim D'Ville after a set played by the Las Cruces Ukes. So, even if you aren't ready to learn to play the ukulele, you can come out and enjoy some fun music!

The full schedule and registration details are on our site. Click over and read the rest!