Today I made my third appearance on Central PA Live!, our local CBS affiliate’s sort-of variety hour. This was my third time on the show, doing a third different topic! The segment is below. Enjoy!
Wow! Did anyone see me on TV or hear me on the radio last week? What a fun time that was:) I’ve assumed head-organizer status for my uke club, the Allegheny Ukulele Kollective. We’re based in Altoona, PA and just recently had our first big ukulele quasi-festival which brought in about 125 people from all around the area! I’m just so pumped about it. Our next jam session is this coming Sunday. We had about 20 people last month, hopefully we have just as many this month!
To see all the ukulele shenanigans I’m involved in, check it out here!
I know it’s bordering on cliché to make a New Years’ resolution. I thought about it this year, and really, there is more than one thing I need to do or at least try to do this year. So, I made a list. Or as my wife would call it, a Happy-wappy List of Fun.
In 2014, I Resolve To:
Reduce the things in my life
I have too many things. Our basement is a trove of ‘maybe someday I’ll need this’ items. And so is my garage. In 2014, I want to get rid of anything that is not providing immediate or imminent usefulness.
Reduce my activities
I am happily involved in many, many things. However, they start to accumulate and consume my life. In 2014, I want to stop doing anything that has lost its fun and has simply become an obligation to continue to do.
Be more involved
In the activities I will continue to participate in, I don’t want to continue to put in the same amount of time and effort. In 2014, I want to become more involved or at least participate at a more productive level.
Be more conscientious
I have a very big problem with letting my needs get ahead of others. In 2014, I want to be sure others’ needs are taken care of before my own. When I say something will be done, I will do it, and on time.
I am fat. I am out of shape. And for the most part, I don’t care. But I know that everyone who counts on me needs me to be able to do my part. In 2014, I want to lose 18% of my current body weight and to stop eating refined sugar as often.
In 2014, I want to make sure my emotional stability and self-worth is not predicated on my paranoia and perceived slights by others.
Be more frugal
Going along with reducing my things, I need to stop buying things because they ‘complete a collection’ or ‘would be cool to have’. In 2014, I want to save the money I have for better uses, like paying down debt or putting money into the kids’ college funds or visiting far-flung family.
Be a better musician
I only have 3 or 4 songs I know well on the ukulele. I don’t know as many chords as I feel I should and I have almost no technique for my right hand. In 2014, I want to learn (and know) at least another 10 songs.
It’s been a few years since I have acquired a new shofar. When I found this one on eBay, enough stars were aligned that I deemed it beshert that I get it. I’ve never seen anything like it. The carvings depict two hands in the form of the priestly blessing as well as a magen David (star of David). The mouthpiece is also carved. This is a really impressive piece of art. No ide a who made it, but it really is a hiddur mitzvah. Continue reading
Here’s the Ukulele group I play with singing “This Land is Your Land”. Enjoy!
The Allegheny Ukulele Kollective entry for PBS American Masters Woody Guthrie tribute: This Land Is Your Land Project.
And here is the tuba in use! Presenting the Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe in State College, PA!
Playing the ukulele the other day for Ethan, he broke out in the cutest smile!
To answer the semi-rhetorical question in the title of this post, because I can. Also, I joined a shanty choir called The Allegheny Bilge Rats Shanty Choir. A shanty choir is a group of people who get together and sing sailing/pirate/working songs, occasionally accompanied by instrumentation.
Which is where the tuba comes in. A few of our songs are quite raucous and needed some oompapa. I was asked by the head of the group if I knew anyone who played tuba. I had mentioned that I had played tuba my senior year of high school (13 years ago, mind you). So we went looking for tubas, sousaphones, helicons, etc to add that special blatting to our songs and I was able to borrow one from my former Sunday School principal. It had been her brother-in-law’s tuba and had been sitting in her and her husband’s basement for years and years. Albeit needing a little TLC, it still works great!
So to really answer my question, I have a tuba because I’m able to acquire one and play it in amusing situations. Isn’t having a tuba a reason enough to have one?
If you’re sick of the same 30 Christmas songs, why not try the same 30 Hanukkah songs? Personally curated by me, this list includes some traditional songs as well as new tunes and and even a few Heavy Metal takes on the holiday.
Happy Hanukkah, enjoy!