We are the Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding, and this is what we do ….
The Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding first came into being in September 2008.
An article had been placed in the local Spalding Guardian newspaper inviting any beginner ukulele players to a free introductory course at the town’s South Holland Centre. The 18 potential players who turned up that evening had only 11 ukuleles between them!
However, six weeks and three chords later, they gave their first, very nervous, public performance. Their repertoire consisted of just six songs. That first event was a harvest festival supper at Long Sutton Parish Church.
Since those humble beginnings back in 2008, the orchestra has now grown to 50 regular players of all ages and abilities, who perform voluntarily throughout the year for many and various audiences within the South Holland and Peterborough area.
The orchestra plays for its own enjoyment and hopefully for the entertainment of those who come to listen and sing along.
Beatle George Harrison said:
“Everyone should have and play a ‘Uke’ it’s so simple to carry with you and it is one instrument you can’t play and not laugh. It’s so sweet and also very old, some are made of wood some are made of armadillos. I love them, the more the merrier. Everyone I know who is into the Ukulele is ‘crackers’ so get yourself a few and enjoy yourselves”
Since it very earliest days the Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding has been proving that statement to be very true.
All performances are given free of charge. Since 2008 to the present day no fee has been charged, but donations are accepted, and these are redistributed to local charities and worthy causes in the area.
The orchestra will play almost anywhere and the venues over the years have been many and various – indoors and outdoors, on flower festival floats as part of the Spalding Tulip parade, in majestic Fenland churches, such as Boston Stump, in the stunning Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding, at the Peterborough Key Theatre and of course in Spalding’s own South Holland Centre theatre in the market place. Music has been shared in village halls, sports fields, caravan sites, supermarket foyers, garden centres, hospitals, even afloat, on the Boston Belle on the River Witham.
Some community ‘outreach ‘ work has been done with local schools in the area such as the Ayscoughfee school and the St John’s Primary in Spalding.
The orchestra is constantly adding songs to its repertoire and at all events, whether large or small, audiences are encouraged to join in and sing along and have fun!
The orchestra has entertained WI groups, church societies and clubs, wedding and birthday partygoers, and a wide and ever-increasing spectrum of fund-raising groups.
In their tenth anniversary year of 2018 they played to a sell-out audience at the South Holland Centre in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society raising around £4000 in just one evening.
Along with concerts throughout the year, daytime and evening, the musicians have found time for three CD recordings to be made:
The Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding… And this is what we do…..
A Uke a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Singing, Strumming and Smiling: Live at the South Holland Centre
All are currently on sale at gigs and can be purchased on line www.makingmusicmix.org.uk/ukuleleorchestraofspalding
The orchestra is continually challenging itself musically, but it’s one aim to make people happy through music remains constant and will hopefully do so for many more years to come.