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:
"I always like to be positive about our evenings, not just because they are a highlight of my week, but also because we have had some genuinely great times in all of our venues. What I have always left out of my weekly reports is the poor lighting, the stickiness of the tables, the vagaries of assorted landlords and bar staff, questionable acoustics, ropy beer and less than plush seating. You don’t need to know about that, and our playing surpasses such mundane concerns. No more. It’s time for a full and frank disclosure about our new venue, The Kings Arms, 24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 0AS: it’s brilliant! Good beer, amenable host, decent acoustics, a proper pub feel, but with just enough privacy to give us that club feeling as well.
For me the only issues will be whether it proves big enough – it was fine for the 22 of us last night – if we carry on expanding, and remembering to bring a cushion for the wooden benches if I have been cycling again on a Wednesday. Even the parking (free in the pub car park, by the way, not the rumoured £2.70 in the nearby rob-and-display) was easier than expected, and there were still spaces at the end of the evening.
So, that’s it. The various Foxes and Hounds can fade into sticky memory. It was useful to have a private function room. I am not sure our open mic evenings or learning sessions would have got off the ground without it, but we can find ways round that. Our new home is The Kings Arms, and very welcoming it is, too.
Musically, last night, we rediscovered the joys of BrungStrum1, a slightly neglected volume that has all sorts of delights, and then we played around with BrungStrum4 again, along with a modicum of Bumper Book favourites, and it was a great evening, full of the right buzz.
Next week, we’ll start early, with the first performers for the open mic ready to launch themselves to the rest of the world for 7pm. Usual rules apply: new performers have priority, everyone else is first come first sung. One song per person. Solo, duo, trio or other small groupings are all fine. No crowd surfing. Any song is acceptable, up to and including Bohemian Rhapsody in length (but perhaps not Tubular Bells). The power is cut at 7.30pm, when we revert to normal. Expect a little preliminary faffing as we work out where to plug things in and where to stand.
From 7.30pm, we’ll recharge glasses and have our usual blend of choices from the floor and more attempts at new songs from BrungStrum4. Remember, they were all choices from our current membership so it would be rude not to give them all a thorough test, even if a few don’t make it on to a regular play list.
Now for something special. Most of you will have heard of James Hill, arguably the best ukulele player in the world. Here's proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEDHdBG_5ac . I have been lucky enough to see and meet him several times at venues large and small and can confirm his brilliance and easy-going nature. Anyway, he and his equally brilliant cellist wife, Anne Janelle, are playing at Upwood Village Hall in Cambridgeshire on Wednesday 18th and Thursday 19th April. Thursday is already sold out, but Wednesday tickets cost £15 from email@example.com or 07709 930398. More info can be found on the Facebook page for Upwood Village Hall Performing Arts or Upwood Ukuleles. The pair are also playing at Vine Theatre, Berkhamsted, on Friday 20th April, but I don’t know about ticket availability.
Before all that Canadian brilliance, come and join us at The Kings Arms next week and prove that last night wasn’t a fluke. You’ll enjoy it. Honest.
All the best"
Regular meeting: Every Wednesday at: The Kings Arms (24 St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 OAS)
7.30pm - 10pm.
All very welcome.