The Dude and Ukulele Celebrities

One of the neat things are all the great people that I have met through the ukulele.  I have had the opportunity to learn from, listen to and watch perform some amazing musicians.  And every one of them has been warm and friendly. These will become individual blog posts.

Midwest Uke Camp – 2016

This was such an amazing time, I made a separate page for it.

I was surfing round YouTube and what should appear?
But Julie Nunes with Jake and Amir
Playing “Tubthumping” and having such fun
Said to myself, “Got to get me one!”

So I went out to eBay and I placed me a bid
Dug up an Amazon gift card I’d hid
Tracked those packages right to my door
First came one and then came more!

Learned to play the ukulele on the Internet
How to play a chord and find a fret
Learned how to play a couple of tunes
But I’ll never be as good as Miss Julia Nunes!

The above is from my original composition “I Learned to Play the Ukulele on the Internet” which I have performed at numerous open mikes. The other verses scattered about this page are also from this composition.

Right – Julia Nunes and me at The Ark in Ann Arbor, 2010.


Julia and me at a house concert in the Lansing area, 2012.

Julia and me at her house concert in Detroit, 2013.

November 2014 concert at Hill Auditorium. It was a great concert, I had a front row seat and could see every movement of his fingers! He even broke out a vintage Kamaka Baritone and played Hiilawe and a couple of other tunes before going back to his Kamaka tenor. Afterwards I got to ask him about his instrument holder, Jake designed it and took the design to a jeweler who made it in silver. It is lined with felt to protect the wood and replaced the hook on a commercially available strap.

Above – Jake Shimabukuro and me at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, 2010.
Right – Jake and me at The Ark in Ann Arbor, 2011

Someone shot a Central Park Video
Of an ukulele pickin’ virtuouso
Learned his Triple Strum on D’Addario
Gotta love Jake Shimabukuro!

I’ve seen him perform five times in person.

Left – James Hill and me after a workshop at Elderly Instruments in Lansing during Mighty Uke Day III, 2013. He and Anne Jannelle played at MUD III and I recently saw them at The Ark.

Below – Ryan Rodriquez and I connect after he reconnected to the ukulele crowd at MUD 6. He was one of the opening acts for both James Hill and Kalei Gamaio when they did their Mighty Uke Day Concerts.

Victor & Penny (Jeff and Erin) with the Dude after a performance workshop at MUD 6. They were the guests at Mini Uke Day last fall as well and taught a great strumming workshop.

Mighty Uke Day Six featured Kalei Gamiao. The Dude spent over five hours with him in workshops and between classes.


After a workshop with Gerald Ross at Elderly Instruments. Got to take another workshop with Gerald at MUD4.


Alicia, Ryan, myself and Tony Coleman. Tony is the producer of Mighty Uke, an award winning documentary on the ukulele, its history and the social impact this small instrument has had. Ryan is a talented player and becoming more well known with every video his does. Photo was at Mighty Uke Day II in Lansing.


Jim and Liz Beloff, what a great couple! They have added so much to the ukulele community with their music and song books. In addition to over two dozen music books for Flea Market Music, his brother-in-law runs The Magic Fluke Company that produces the Flea, Fluke and Firefly instruments.


Lil Rev and me after his workshop, 2013. We even talked martial arts!

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
With Kitty and Hester I am quite smitten
Their music’s amazing, the humor contagious
Their shows are nothing short of outrageous!

I’ve gotten to watch the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain live three times. Their videos on YouTube are wonderful! My favorite is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Right – Will Grove-White and me after the concert at Michigan State University.
Below – George Hinchcliffe
Below right – Talking with Peter Brooke-Turner and Richie Williams.

Mighty Uke Day III – Danielle Ate The Sandwich and me after the morning strum.

Mighty Uke Day III – Susan Picking on of the opening acts for Danielle.



Left – Marlowe and me after the flash mob in Lansing Center at noon on Friday before Mighty Uke Day 6. Marlowe rocked the theater that night with her heavy instrumentals.

Above is about half the flash mob that was playing away.


Mitch Chang showed up at a meeting of the Motor City Ukes one night.
He’s been conducting workshops and introducing lots of great things at club meetings.
In return we introduced him to things such as cold, snow and lightening bugs.

Mike Upton, founder of Kala Brand Music Instruments at Elderly Instruments. Kala is a sponsor of Motor City Ukes and we are both wearing the MCU badges.
Mighty Uke Day 4 was a great time! The headliners were Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee who conducted some great workshops in addition to being awesome performers and just fun to hang with. The picture on the left, taken by Sara Wagner, highlights the earrings I gave Sarah, she wore them all weekend! I can officially say that the female performers on the covers of Ukulele magazine all have a set of my ukulele earrings. The first was Heidi Swedberg, who got the earrings through Kay, the second was Daniel Anderson, aka, Daniel Ate the Sandwich.

Stuart Fuchs, aka Stukulele, and I after one of his Mighty Uke Day workshops at Elderly Instruments.

The beautiful Victoria Vox and I after one of several Mighty Uke Day workshops I took with her at Elderly Instruments.

Dave “Dawg” Grisman and me at Pickin’ in the Pines, Flagstaff, 2012. An amazing mandolin player, he rocked the place with his music on Saturday evening. You may know him from the theme music for “Car Talk” with Klick and Klack on NPR.