Wednesday, May 12, 2010



The questions have been asked, “Where did the name come from?”, “How did you get started”?
It all began in the winter of 2007 when my friend Ron Atkinson, who keeps me up-to-date on the interesting things on the internet, sent me that well known You Tube video of Jake Shimabukuro playing the Beatles “My Guitar Gently Weeps” on his beautiful Kamaka Tenor Ukulele. I got to thinking it would be nice to have a real good ukulele instead of the $20.00, 30 year- old one hanging on my wall, and maybe I would get around to playing it more often. My interest in Jake soon brought along The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, James Hill and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole with his famous rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. This was too much enticement and a visit to David MacDonald at Sobers in May 2007 came up with a new Greg Bennett “Samick” concert ukulele which I quickly purchased after looking at a soprano they would have to order for me, and then might not be able to obtain I was told. However, it did arrive in July and I went to take a look and of course had to purchase it too. Shortly after, I got a call from Sobers asking if I was interested in taking ukulele lessons in September. In talking to Allison Coles and Leah Ziegler about the renewed interest in the ukulele, the “third wave” as they say, they both became interested in the idea of ukulele lessons. Allison, who is a member of the “Just For Fun” guitar group, bought my Greg Bennett concert and Leah acquired a Kay soprano and the class began in September under the direction of Jim Rumson, who Allison and I had known from the Masonic Lodge.( There were initially seven in Jim’s first class until Christmas, but the group got smaller during the next two semesters.) At a Masonic Lodge meeting in October 2007 I mentioned that Jim Rumson, who was not in attendance that night, was teaching some of us to play the ukulele. The remark brought the usual smiles , snickers and snide remarks from the sidelines, but following an invitation for anyone interested to chat with me, brought forth Ron Tallon and Maurice Steeves telling me they both had ukuleles at home. Wow….. something needed to be done about that.

In November some of us were decorating the Shriner’s float for the Christmas Parade one Saturday morning, and Allison, Maurice and I took along our ukuleles and had a get together after the decorating party. Several of the other Shriners there became interested and as a result, after Christmas those showing interest, along with Ron Tallon, went to take lessons with Jim in a new class. Unfortunately the class was short lived as there were time interruptions in their group and they couldn’t continue. In January 2008 we started going to the basement at the Lodge Hall on Saturday mornings and together learning to strum a few familiar songs. It got so we were meeting every Saturday morning and became known as the Saturday Morning Ukulele Group, from which the acronym SMUG became apparent.
Our numbers grew slowly at first from the initial 7 or 8, and has increased several times since to a point where as of this writing we are 19 committed ukulele players who look forward to the weekly Saturday morning jams along with coffee and cookies, and have become busy preparing for engagements at some local nursing homes and other community events as well as some churches in and around the Charlottetown area.

Since our first performance at the Potentate’s Annual Visitation in Charlottetown in October 2008, we have performed at several pancake breakfasts at the Lodge Hall, many different churchs, and several nursing homes and residences. Smug was honoured to be invited to perform at Fanningbank (Home of the Lieutenant-Governor) for a Royal Commonwealth Society Christmas party in December 2009, when one of our members, Errol Monkley, was president of that organization.

1 comment:

  1. It all starts so innocently, doesn't it? :-)

    At the rate SMUG is growing, you'll pass us soon.


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