Thursday, December 28, 2017



As our 10th birthday comes around the first week in January, we are about to celebrate in some small way,  but it may be interesting  for many of you to know the story behind  The Saturday Morning Ukulele Group and how it all began. 

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 the late Ron Atkinson, who kept 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. 
The Original Group at 2008 Christmas Party
In November some of us were decorating the Shriners' 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. "The Founding Fathers"(pictured below) were,l-r- Maurice Steeves, Ron Tallon, Allison Coles and David Campbell. This soon grew and by Christmas that year we were 12 strong and joined by two ladies, Leah and Darlene, to round out the gang.


Performing at a Saturday Morning Pancake Breakfast 2008
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 this updated version we are 44  ukulele players, most 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.
Performing for the Potentate 2009 at Rodds Royalty
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.
Performing for Lieutenant-Governor Christmas 2009 
World Ukulele Day Cake 2015

Mary and David Cut the Cake 

2011 Christmas Photo by Martin Caird

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


SMUG's last Christmas event of the 2017 Christmas Season, and the last event of the year happened today in the first snowfall of the season at Andrews of Stratford. Activity director, Sharon, introduced the 16 of us at 2 PM and we played Christmas tunes until the cookies and drink arrived around three. A wonderful turnout of residents from the home who all joined in the singing for a steady hour. Our Best Wishes to all at ANDREWS OF STRATFORD, staff and residents alike.Special thanks to Sharon for taking and sharing most of the photos with us. A reminder that all photos can be enlarged  by double clicking on them.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


With 10 more Smuggers than last year, SMUG once again returned to Razzy's Roadhouse for the Annual Christmas Sing-Along and Dinner . The picture taking area seemed to have shrunk as we tried to squeeze 31 Smuggers into the small end of the room, but we did succeed and some are only seen as peeking through heads. So, I printed all of the photos. As usual Dennis did the honours of directing the sing-song of carols for about an hour, after which the food was ordered and very quickly brought to the tables close to the noon hour.

President Maurice and Vice-President Leah performed the annual year-end ritual of embarrassing the director with their kind words and very generous gift from the whole group. Diane and I sincerely thank you for your thoughtfulness, and wish you all well as SMUG moves in to the second decade. Maurice also read a poem "Building a Bridge" by W.A. Dromdool, a most appropriate listen for us all......well thought out Maurice!  Treasurer Mary had counted the Toonie Bin and a report on the contents was passed on to the group. As our numbers increase it is hoped the Toonie Bin will hold a bit more to cover what are really only small costs, but of course growing each year.

Yesterday SMUG played at 501 Queen Street under the direction of Kelly Galloway.We were introduced by Cindy Murnaghan, the resident organizer, and yours truly was the fill-in bass player for the afternoon, and being totally absorbed in the music, forgot to take photos. But my thanks to the many who turned up for the concert(22), especially Kelly for taking over directing for the day when we know it is a busy time for her. SMUG had the largest turnout of residents and friends we have ever seen there. Even asked for and received an encore. All because of Kelly's fine directing, I would say.