Monday, September 14, 2009


Dallas Ukulele Headquarters now has their name out there in enough places that we get calls for performances pretty regularly. Many of these come from shrewd activities directors who are looking for entertainment for their senior residents.

1) Some find us on our main site: Dallas Ukulele Headquarters Home Page

2) Some find us in senior publications, like The Senior Source: The Senior Source

3) We even have one who found us by searching YouTube: Yankee Doodle Dandy

The important thing is that we have phone numbers and emails out there in various places. And our Internet presence is strong enough that if you enter "Dallas" and "Ukulele" in a search engine...There was no Google when Dallas Ukulele Headquarters started, but it's a convenient name, isn't it?

"There was no Google when Dallas Ukulele Headquarters Started"
(Here's a trivia question for you: Who came up with the name Dallas Ukulele Headquarters?)

Dallas Ukulele Headquarters is committed to bringing the ukulele experience to the community, but we are also sensitive to the fact that our members also donate their time and energy to the program. Balancing the needs of our members and the needs of the community requires some investigation:

1) Some facilities are extremely well funded, and I always ask if they have a budget. It's not offensive, and usually doesn't impact our ability to perform a concert. However, a facility that is well funded can usually provide a small per diem, which is a great help to participating musicians. This can offset gas costs, music printing, and other costs associated with just heading out to perform.

2) Is a meal served? Sometimes, a facility without budget does have the ability to provide food and refreshments to the musicians.

3) What sort of performance are you anticipating? Usually, facilities are thrilled if we come in, set up our music stands, and play right out of the book. There's a lower level of showmanship here, but also the ability for a lot more musicians to participate. It's much easier for me to get a performance group together if I am pulling from 160 musicians, then if a more specific kind of concert is anticipated. If soloists and a higher level of play is requested, I have a much smaller pool of musicians to pull from! I also have to make sure we have microphones and amplifier equipment.

4) How big an audience should we anticipate? If it's 5-10 people, one musician can easily sit down with them in a circle and put on a very nice, simple show. If there arre 50 people, I want to make sure all my musicians can be heard, and what kind of staging area is available.

This is a little bit of pulling-back-the-curtain, but it doesn't mean "No pay, no play" -- On the contrary, I know we can go into a facility and make an audience feel special. I need to make sure my members feel special, too. We have traveled fairly significant miles outside of Dallas to do a performance just because the facility WAS underfunded, and the people we were performing for had very little in the way of entertainment available.

Of course, there's always the After Party. We usually do something like this regardless of the performance, but it's always fun to go grab a bite to eat and perhaps imbibe after strumming. Nobody is particularly worried about per diem or audience size after the show. Usually, everyone feels good about performing, and we can swap stories about a blown chord or missed cue during the show. All the preparation and organization in the world comes down to this: We perform in the moment. And the After Party is a chance to relive that moment together.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark, I approve of your really fine blog. You and I met at the Lone Star Uke Fest where I was really happy to come from Connecticut. You guys put on a masterful event and everyone is still talking about it. We had fun, learned quite a bit and played a lot. Love you Texans. Chris O'S