Friday, 2 May 2014

Retreat 2014 Wrap

Class Of 2014

The retreat and concert were put to bed last week, and I have finally emerged from bed myself – fully recovered from all the hard work. Thanks to all who attended for helping to make the retreat and concert such a big success – yet again! The WA ukulele community is getting a bit of a national – and international - reputation for putting on a great show. We had guests over from Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne, as well as the Fong Family from Honolulu and Salt Lake City in the USA. The early feedback from tutors and guests has been universally upbeat.

We have already started planning for next year, and are seriously considering holding the retreat on the East Coast. After holding three retreats in three years in the west, we think it might be time to share the love with our eastern ukulele communities. Perhaps also shifting to later in the year. If you have an opinion on this, please let us know what you think.

After working on the Perth International Arts Festival in the two months leading up to the retreat, then on the retreat and concert itself, I’m taking a short break – three months in Europe! – but will keep everyone posted about developments.

In the meantime, check out some of the new pics throughout this blog and stand by for some new movie footage. We videoed the tutors’ concert at the retreat along with some great interviews. Well also be on Facebook soon.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Class of 2013

The Final Countdown:
Late Friday night, Scott Wise stopped off on his way to the Andaman Islands, to  drop off the uke he’d just finished for Kimo to play at the retreat and concerts. It’s a long-scale tenor that looks absolutely beautiful and sounds even lovelier. He has also finished the uke that he’ll be giving away at the retreat again this year – everyone who attends is in the draw! You know the retreat’s getting close when Scott’s ukes arrive. Like all whose talents are in great demand, he always runs close to deadline.

Less than two weeks to go now. Everything is in place down at Quaranup and the tutors are packing their backs in Hawaii, Melbourne and Fremantle. So are the guests: they’re coming from all over Western Australia and from as far afield as Victoria and New South Wales – and five are even coming from Hawaii!

Important heads-up:
If you live in WA and are planning on skipping this year and maybe coming next year, you might have further to travel than you planned, as we’re probably going to hold the next retreat on the East Coast. So if you’re from WA, that means more exciting places to see – but also more money to spend.

We still have a few places left for this year’s retreat. While the cost of attending is great value for money, we do understand that some people may have difficulty getting the whole amount together before the event. If you’re one of them, contact me and I’m sure we can reach an agreement that will make it easier for you to attend.

Tickets are now on sale for the Zenith Workshop and Recital (Zenith Workshop/Recital), and the Kidogo Arthouse Concert (Kidogo Concert). 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

So much news... so little time.

Easter Weekend: 18 to 22 April

We now have just under a month to go until our Third Annual Ukulele Retreat in Albany. Kimo Hussey will soon be making the long haul back from Hawaii for his third visit. He’s as stoked as a kid to be coming back again, which is quite remarkable considering it takes about 18 hours to get here!

He won’t be alone, though. We have several guests coming all the way from Hawaii to join the retreat, along with others from New South Wales, Victoria and all over WA. We still have a few places left, so contact us soon if you’re considering joining the retreat. (Registration).

Concert at Kidogo Arthouse. 23 April 2014.
Bather’s Beach in Fremantle is going to sound like Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, when Kimo Hussey, Sam and Lucy Lemann, AJ Leonard and Jenny Rowlands take to the stage at the Kidogo Arthouse. It’s going to be a cool night of hot music. (Kidogo Concert).

Zenith Workshop and Recital. 16 April 2014.
Those who can’t make it down to Albany can still benefit from the teaching skills of great musicians and professional tutors, Kimo Hussey and Sam Lemann, at Zenith Music in Claremont. And after all the hard work, you can sit back and chill out as the masters deliver a ukulele recital. (Zenith Workshop/Recital).

Monday, 23 December 2013

Our 3rd Annual Retreat is Ready To Go

Easter Weekend : 18th to 22nd April, 2014.

We’ve held our planning sessions with Kimo Hussey and the tutors in Hawaii and back in Oz. We went through all the feedback from the 2013 retreat, which was overwhelmingly positive (thank you!) and has led to some exciting changes for 2014.

Getting the Band Back Together.

Kimo Hussey will be back again for 
4 Wise Men (+ Scott)
his third retreat - neither the long flight nor the brisk weather could keep him away. Sam and Lucy Lemann will also be back, as will AJ Leonard and Jenny Rowlands, and Scott Wise. They’ve been travelling to retreats and festivals across Australia and internationally – Hawaii, China, New Zealand, USA – yet still can’t wait to get back to Albany. Unfortunately Zanuck can't make it next year.

We are also likely to host five students from Hawaii (yes, the home of the ukulele). They’ve already said they’re keen to come and are just waiting for us to open registration.

Registration will open on Monday, 13th January, 2014. Online registration will be available on this site. The numbers are definitely capped again at 50. As we’ve explained before, this allows all students to attend the same classes together, with all tutors present at each session. Most other retreats split students up across different sessions, which allows for a much bigger intake, but limits the ability of the tutors to run a programme that builds on itself as the sessions progress.

This does put a bit more pressure on our budget, as costs have risen while the number of students have not. Even though we run the retreat on a shoestring, we won’t cut corners on the main items: the best tutors, great food and a beautiful location. (And great news about the bunk beds: we’ll have new ones next year!)

Significant changes in the 2014 Program.

We’ve retained the best features of 2013 and added some great new stuff. (Program)

A common theme in the feedback was that four solid sessions a day was a lot of information to absorb, especially for the less experienced players. So in the 2014 programme the  first 3 workshop sessions of each day will remain the same. Kimo, Sam & Lucy and AJ & Jenny will take these. The 4th session will be a review with all the tutors, of the 3 previous sessions that day. You’ll be able to ask for clarification on anything you didn’t quite get.

The most common suggestion from this year’s students was to include vocal classes at the next retreat. The ukulele is meant to be accompanied by singing, whether solo or in groups, but many players are a bit shy to croak along, while others would love to learn more about creating harmonies and so on. So we’re delighted to announce that Teresa Hughes, a local Albany musician, choir and guitar/ukulele teacher, will be joining the team of tutors to run vocal sessions (Tutors).

We will also continue to have voluntary Breakout Sessions at the end of the day. These were previously called One-on-Ones, which was a bit of a misnomer. This year, the tutors will each conduct one-hour sessions on a variety of subjects they feel will be of further interest to you. Subjects could include genres, like Blues, Jazz, Latin and so on, or Lead/Melody playing, Chords Beyond the 3rd Fret, Transpositions – whatever they reckon you’d like to learn more about. This is also when Teresa will be conducting her Vocal Sessions. Attendance will be optional, so you’re also free to practice on your own, or just relax if you prefer.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Planning for our third annual Ukulele Retreat over the 2014 Easter Weekend is well under way. So soon? Yes, it does seem like the last one has just finished, but it was such a resounding success that we have our work cut out making the next retreat even better.

Here’s a video from this year’s retreat that’ll help you get a feel for what it’s all about:

The 2014 Retreat is a work in progress, but this is what’s already been confirmed:
We’ll be back at the beautifully remote Camp Quaranup, near the historic port of Albany at the very bottom of Western Australia.
Once again, there’ll be four full days and nights of workshops, concerts and kanikapila jams, with unfettered access to some of the finest musicians and teachers in Hawaii and Australia.

Kimo Hussey will return yet again, gracing us once more with his virtuoso playing, inspirational teaching and gentle Aloha spirit. He’ll be supported again by Australian duos AJ Leonard and cellist Jenny Rowland, as well as brother and sister act Sam and Lucy Lemann. The world-renowned Australian luthier Scott Wise will also be back to demystify the origins and construction of the ukulele.

The tuition programme will incorporate and build on what was covered at previous retreats, so first-timers won’t feel left behind but returnees will find much that is new.

The numbers will again be capped. Last year’s retreat had 50 students - twice the number of the first one - but we still managed to keep everyone in the same class without it feeling too crowded. We’re capping the intake at 50 again this year.

The value of having everyone, including all the tutors, in the same class - regardless of which tutor is leading the session - means that no students miss out on any sessions, while tutors are able to create a smooth flow throughout the retreat, with each new session building on the others.  There will again be breakout workshops after the regular sessions. We’ll keep you posted as the programme details develop.

Registration is not open yet: we’ll keep you posted.