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, and 'play out' quite regularly. 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:
"This is, sort of formally, my last email to you all from Ukulele Bedford, so please excuse any rambling. Weekly missives will continue, but mostly from other hands.
Last night, as I see it, we had a session of three parts: the Special General Meeting (SGM); a good musical blast to blow away any festive cobwebs; and a bit of a thank you from me for your collective kindness.
Some 17 members were in attendance for the SGM, rising to around 22 for the rest of the evening. This included a new John, who seemed to be having a good time, and we saw the welcome return of Norman, Rebecca and Pat.
We will issue formal minutes from the (rather informal) SGM separately, but the main decisions are that your new Chair is Trevor Collins; your new Membership Secretary is Andy Chinn; and your new Vice Chair is David Neale. All other Committee positions remain as previously (without me, obviously), until the AGM in the spring. I have every confidence that this just represents a changing of the guard but that what is guarded – the spirit, values and activities of Ukulele Bedford – remain intact. I intend to watch Ukulele Bedford flourish, with all your help.
Following the election, we had a bit of a chat about the direction Ukulele Bedford may take in the future. We have come a long way with our choice of music now being as wide as any group's, but there was a feeling that we could do with a few more gigs than in 2019, so long as they were of the right sort. There was also support for the idea of more learning sessions and possibly finding more modern songs that stretch our chord repertoire (although, as Martin pointed out, most modern songs rarely exceed four chords) and perhaps encourage more vocal harmonies. There was talk about a cajon as an occasional addition, provided we could find someone who could play it well and was happy to not play it if a song didn’t warrant such accompaniment. Generally, though, people were happy with the group as it stands. Whether you were with us last night or not and have any more thoughts for the group to consider, please talk to Jon or Trevor. It’s quite rare for anyone’s concern to be individual.
On to the music. We started with Urban Spaceman as a rousing tribute to the late Neil Innes and then spent the first half of the evening in the current Gig Book, reminding ourselves that we can sing and play these little four-string wonders to decent effect. It really was suspiciously as though we had practised them before.
At the start of the break, I was ambushed by your kind generosity with leaving gifts that are right up my street – a case of Dorset beers, and engraved glass to drink them from and a deluxe bird-feeding station for my new garden to watch while drinking, and a leaving card to read between beers/birds. Just perfect! Thank you all so very much. I have my suspicions that Marion and Kathryn were behind some or all of that (an aside to the new Committee: Marion single-handedly sorted our current and previous Wednesday venues and Kathryn has responded to every plea for new songs or playlists going. They are useful people.).
Ukulele Bedford has been an important part of my recent life and I will think of you all fondly. I will still have some work in the area, so may be able to drop in occasionally on a Wednesday or perhaps even for a gig . . . at least until I can find a more local outlet for my ukes. There will be groups nearby, but not in Holt itself so far. Who knows, perhaps we can twin UB with UH if and when it exists. I still don’t have a moving date, so expect me to be skulking at the back for a Wednesday or two to come. But hey, I leave on good terms and won’t feel that I am crawling back after an argument where I discover I have left my car keys on the table. We all know that feeling.
Anyway, the second half’s music all came from BrungStrum 5.3, and mostly went very well. We perhaps played the Five Foot Two instrumental too fast for some people, so that was a little ragged, but we made good headway with Don’t Look Back in Anger, Downtown, Do You Love Me and other songs beginning with different letters. With a bit of practice, there is plenty in this book to spice up our Gig Book for the 2020s.
Next week, bring bits of paper with song suggestions, perhaps a whole list, or even a head full of ideas and enthusiasm and prepare for another great night with Ukulele Bedford. How could there be anything else?
All the best for wherever life and your ukulele take you in 2020."