Jan 12th 2013.
Ossett Observer has a Ukulele Club … not just a Ukulele Club but a ‘Philharmonia’ if you will. We started out a year ago. It was a small way that I could give something back to our community, to run a free music club, and so it began.
We started out in Eller Coffee, a small coffee shop in the centre of town, and from the first week it was clear that folks in Ossett LIKED playing their ukulele. About 25 folks turned up and we started from the beginning, how to tune your uke, learning to play one chord and then to sing as many songs as we could get away with in that one chord … then we learnt a second chord and a third and a fourth, then some folks who could play a bit started turning up and before very long we started to make music.
It was a monthly club and by the 4th month we’d been offered a gig … yes a gig. The open hearted, warm spirited folks at ‘Two Valleys Radio‘ invited us to play as part of Holmfirth Festival of Folk, we took a charabanc to Holmfirth for the afternoon and a very jolly time was had by all.
We’ve grown in number since then and the commitment of those who attend the club has lead to us being invited to play at various venues and events.
We lead a mass Uke Jam as part of Flock To Ossett. Over 6o ukulele players from as far afield as Leicester, Bradford and Sheffield turned up and we played some jolly songs in the pouring rain. The rain did not diminish our spirits and we never missed a beat.
We brought cheer to Wakefield’s first Literature Festival as part of their Poetry Party event. We’ve entertained SlungLow, Kala Sangam, Bradford Cathedral and The Hepworth Gallery with our Festive Repertoire and withstood the test of both man and ukulele by playing in freezing fog for Ossett’s Festive Feature. We’ve proved if nothing else that there is passion and commitment for our little guitars. Folks have made friends, created their own bands, offered one another lifts, brought biscuits, baked cakes and made tea.
Some of our members have already upgraded their Ukulele to newer shinier posher models. We’ve acquired a percussionist, a bag full of shaky things and a member who can play Bass Guitar, which we REALLY LIKE … Sadly One of our members invested in a Banjolele but we’ve had a word with him and he seems to be OK now.
It’s become a success. Our swelling numbers have meant that we’ve had to move from the lovely coffee shop to a new permanent home at Trinity Church Parish Centre where we meet every Wednesday 6.30pm – 8.30pm. The emphasis at these Wednesday sessions is now preparing for upcoming performances, improving our performance technique and learning repertoire alongside drinking tea and making one another laugh.
When we did our first public performance we needed a name, I jokingly referred to us as the ‘Ossett Ukulele Massive’ we needed something fast and it worked and it stuck for a while, but increasingly we’ve become about more than just a big group of folks all learning to play an instrument. Philharmonic actually means ‘devoted to or appreciative of music’ and I’d say that’s us. The level of commitment, care and effort everyone has put into the development of this club certainly merits the title ‘Philharmonia’. Prepare your ears Ossett. Who knows what 2013 might bring.
HOW TO JOIN.
Beginners sessions at Eller Coffee are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 6.30 – 8.30. Just turn up with your little ukulele in your hand. You will be asked to contribute £1 towards the running of the club.
Ossett Ukulele Philharmonia is currently operating a waiting list for those who want to join. If you would like your name to be added to the list please write to firstname.lastname@example.org