About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for September 21st, 2004

Ukulele Expo 2004 (Pocanos Mountains), Part 1

Tuesday, September 21st, 2004

Wowie, what a weekend we have had! Friday we drove (and drove and drove, and sat on the highway, and drove, and sat still) for about fourteen hours to get to Bushkill Pennslvania, in the Pocanos Mountains, almost to New York state. It was supposed to take just less than ten hours. However:

1. We had torrential downpours from Cleveland, Ohio, to the very eastern part of Pennsylvania. This was thanks to the aftermath of hurricane Ivan. Actually, on Saturday there was a huge rockslide on US-80 (the route we took almost the whole way there) and they had to close the highway entirely… and the local roads had water over them so folks going both directions had to take turns going through the shallow parts of the road… we were lucky to get there when we did.

2. The downpours were responsible for three accidents, two of which took about fifteen minutes and one that took almost two hours to get through/around them. We lucked out on the two-hour one, though, because they re-opened the highway less than a minute from when we would have been forced to get off and detour through the mountains to get around it.

3. There was a construction site less than an hour from our final destination, where the traffic was literally sitting still like a parking lot, for 45 minutes. I don’t know about you, but my state would never allow that. Yes, they did have signs on the highway that there was construction and they recommended an alternate route. However, they did not offer any suggestions as to what might be an alternate route, so all of us from out of town had to go through the thick of it.

We got to the Expo after the evening concert was done. Boo Hoo! We missed some excellent musicians and especially after getting to know folks it was even more sad that we missed seeing them.

We were not the only ones with 14-hour trip stories. There were actually a good number of folks from Michigan there, and we all shared stories about our journeys. Shorty Long, a band from Texas, lost their luggage and CDs after a rough airplane ride, and had to drive to Philly to get them back. I think I am glad we drove!

However…. once we were there, it was “Swonderful, Smarvelous” and we didn’t get disappointed with the expo at all. In fact, when we walked in, the first person I saw was Liz Beloff who we’ve known for a few years now and who always makes me feel at home, no matter where we meet. We also saw a number of folks we knew from Midwest Ukefest 2004, including Fred Fallin from Chicago and Bob Cuoco from Cincinatti. We jammed (played music together, taking turns playing our own favorite songs and the rest following along) until almost 4:00am. After getting a very short night of sleep before the trip, we were pretty wiped out! I slept until 10:30 and was still a bit draggy the next day.

On Saturday we had such a wonderful time! We said hi to all the folks we could find who we knew. At 11am (lunch for them, breakfast for me) we sat with our friends from Dearborn and Ypsilanti who we met at Midwest Ukefest last year (and have seen since at the Dulcimer festival in Evart and at Wheatland).

I bought some sheet music from Bob Cuoco who has a wonderful collection of all things Ukulele. I talked with the guys from Elderly Instruments who were watching the sales table. I said hi to Jim and Liz Beloff, and greeted several performers we saw at Midwest Ukefest: Mysterious John from Shorty Long, Joel Eckhaus, Lil’ Rev, and probably some I didn’t know.

I spent time talking with folks I hadn’t met before, and that was fun also. I am living in fear that I won’t know someone’s name when I need to remember it next, but I truly had a wonderful time getting to know folks.

We played the Open Microphone session, and heard such a variety of styles there. From washboard playing, to a 7-yr old playing Itsy Bitsy Spider, to Andy Wolf (sp?) from New Hampshire who did this amazing song where each verse was done in a different dialect. He sang only in gibberish, but wowie could you identify the languages! Spanish, German, French, Chinese, and several others. It was remarkable and very musical. There were several couples doing all sorts of musical styles, and a uke club playing traditional and novelty tunes. It was great fun.

We meet a lot of folks when we play open mic sessions. After folks see us play, the approach us with stories of this or that song they love, or how they love that style of music, or whatever. It is a great way to meet people who are on our same wavelength. This time was no exception.

We changed out of our stage clothes and visited folks more in the late afternoon, and had a nice meal together at the little cafe (I found a nice salad with garlic-seasoned grilled chicken that was pretty darned tasty). Brian wanted to jam with more folks and all I wanted was to sit alone in the peace and quiet of our room. I really appreciated how quiet our room was, it was wonderful. So he went off to play tunes and I went back to the room.

In the room, I knit (I’m designing a sock for Heritage Spinning right now, on the road) for a while, and then I took a nap, so that I would be rested and refreshed for watching the evening concert.

I have so many pictures I made them a little smaller, to fit as many photos as I could, and to give an overall slide show sort of feeling here. These are the photos I took up till the time of the Saturday night concert, plus some open-microphone photos from Sunday.

Today’s photos are- Friday jam session (Brian standing at far right), friends from Michigan (Brian on far left), Open mic photos from both days, in no particular order: Brian and I as The Fabulous Heftones, Liz and Jim Beloff, Greg Hawkes who used to be the keyboard player for The Cars, the unmistakeable Uke Jackson who is DJ of the Flaming Ukulele Radio Hour and who has been playing our tunes on the air, Nigel and Sylvia (Nigel is the president of the George Formby Association in England), seven-year-old girl playing Itsy Bitsy Spider, five-year-old girl playing a one-note song, Jim and Pat from New Jersey… who were absolutely stylin’ the whole weekend, Andy Wolf(sp?) from New Hampshire who does wonderful musical gibberish in different accents, gentleman playing uke that looks like an airplane to me, duet on ukulele, voice and lap steel (slide) guitar, a couple playing a washboard tune (she said there was genuine residue from suds on her washboard), Wendy and Donna.