Welcome to Ukulele Bedford
We are a community ukulele group based (oddly enough!) around the Bedford area. We meet weekly at The Kings Arms (24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 OAS) on Wednesdays at 7.30pm. On occasion, we 'play out' for charity events. We are always delighted to see new members - so come along one evening and give it a try!
Always wanted to play an instrument? Try the ukulele! We welcome anyone, with any level of experience or expertise.
Just learning? Come on in. Been playing for years? Welcome - we'd love to benefit from your talents.
All you need is enthusiasm - we can even lend you a ukulele for the evening!
The short answer to that is "Anything the members of the group want to!". From 1930's tin-pan alley to jazz standards. From 60's novelty pop to 90's rock to last year's hits. Admittedly, when we try them we find that some things work better than others on massed ukuleles - but just trying to play the seemingly unsuitable can be great fun. And sometimes surprisingly successful.
Members old and new are always encouraged to select songs they'd like to try playing.
From the last meeting:
"What brought so many people out last night? Was it the open mic? Was it the prospect of the open mic being in the middle of the evening? Was it a decent evening to be out but just too cold for a barbecue? Who knows, but we reaped the benefits of a great evening with up to 31 people present, including guests and visitors. Norman brought two guests who sloped off to a prior engagement part way through – they were keen to mention that their leaving wasn’t a criticism – and we welcomed Michelle and Algernon for the first time, although many of us knew them from BLUD. Last week’s new Ron returned, and we had a good turn out from the regulars.
When given the choice of what to play, we kept coming back to the GigBook, partly to reassure ourselves on some details but mainly because these are songs that we like to play, and we like to play them well. So we did. It would be fair to say that there weren’t many rarities in our songs from last night, but if there is one thing that being a lifelong birdwatcher has taught me it is that rarities are much less common that other things, however much we sometimes wish otherwise.
Songs of note for me were Memories are Made of This, the Rudy/Tide is High mash-up and It’s All About You, and all for the same reasons. When split, either between the sexes or between tables, our singing was so strong that everything seemed to work. That gives a nice added depth to our sound. It’s also worth mentioning that Oliver’s Army is now certainly gig-worthy. We have resolved the ending by simply cutting off all the ohs and ahs – no ending is a better ending.
The sound quality of the open mic is to be commended and it was good to be playing to a fuller audience than when it is in its usual early evening slot. Opinion is a bit split on when to have it, but the experimental move was certainly worth the effort. I would love to hear what you thought about the timing, whether you were one of the brave souls who performed last night, were a member of the audience last night or just couldn’t make it. It was slightly disappointing that no one who was asking for the timing to be moved at the AGM got up and sang.
As to the music of the open mic itself, Lydia performed George Ezra’s Shotgun – a great song done well last night; David performed a different version of Teenage Dirtbag that he hopes we can adopt; and Jon and Mark got away with an unrehearsed For What is Chatteris? Along with Joy Division Oven Gloves later in the evening, this gave us an unprecedented double of HMHB songs. Does that make it One Man One Biscuit? If I have missed anyone from the list, I apologise – one consequence of having the open mic at the same time as the break is the possibility of missing someone's performance when nature calls.
Next week counts as a normal (and therefore assuredly excellent) week – no open mic, no learning session, just a whole crate of fun from 7.30pm. Please come with some ideas of what you’d like us to play. Perhaps we can give some of our rarities a bit of an outing. Surely we can’t have two weeks with double HMHB and no Beatles? If it hadn't been for Ukulele Lady last night, surely the Uke gods would have been alerted to strange goings-on in Bedford.
This Saturday, because a Royal Wedding and an FA Cup Final aren’t entertaining enough in one day, we will be playing the street party at the Wellington Arms, Bedford. Be there by 1.30pm to set up and play between 2-4pm. There will be time for beer and scones as well, and the weather forecast looks great, so come and join us.
Until then, strum well."
Regular meeting: Every Wednesday at: The Kings Arms (24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 OAS)
7.30pm - 10pm.
All very welcome.