Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's a Ukulele Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Dallas Ukulele Headquarters!

This weekend, DUH celebrated our 3rd Annual Christmas Party at the Fuqua Winery. This has become a very popular event amongst the DUH-ites, and one which sells out quickly.

Hmmm – Maybe that’s not the best way to put it: We don’t actually “sell” tickets to DUH events: There’s very rarely any cost. However, we do request reservations. Would it have been better if I’d said the 3rd Annual DUH Christmas Party was “Reserved Out”?

Perhaps it’s the free wine tasting provided by the winery. Perhaps it’s just jamming in a holiday environment. Perhaps it’s the tasty foods being pot-lucked by everyone. Is it the ribbons? Is it the tags? Is it the packages, boxes, or bags?

(Here’s the secret: My wife, Kathy! She makes sure that EVERY DUH event has her personal touch in every detail. But don’t tell: I like getting some of the credit!)

Reservations closed at 27, since the facility has 27 seats. However, we wound up cramming 32 people in there! A crowded, joyful, partying 32 DUH-ites.

People arrived early, and dropped in late. As usual, an amazing miracle took place: No matter how many people came, there was a ton of food for them to eat! And it was delicious: Everything from Spam Sushi to a queso with sausage dip, served with red and green holiday chips. Desserts were everywhere: I think I single-handedly ate most of the sugar cookies with green frosting.

I drank an entire bottle of the Fuqua’s fine Syrah, but the most popular bottle seemed to be delightful chilled champagne. I have to say there is something oddly normal about drinking wine while playing ukulele: It just seems natural and organic. Plus, there’s Dallas Ukulele Headquarter’s second motto: The more you drink, the better we sound.

(And our first motto? Come on, now! Without U, it’s just Kulele!)

My sincerest apologies to Doctor Uke, but we turned one of his Christmas Songs into a Drinking Song. This all started during our Christmas Concert rehearsals, during which wine was drunk. The song in question is Jingle Bell Rock. Here is how the drinking rules work.

1) Star playing Jingle Bell Rock.

2) Play until you hit a C6 chord.

3) Since the C6 chord is open fretted, hold the chord until everyone has used their chord hand to drink from their wineglass.

4) Continue playing until you get to the next C6 chord.

I hope Doctor Uke will forgive us. I do have to acknowledge Mark Taylor, our rehearsal videographer, who perfected the technique. For those who want to play along at home, here’s the music:

Our party also featured a Yankee Swap. For those not in the know, the idea behind the Yankee Swap is simple: You are supposed to wrap up a hideous unwanted gift, and put it on a table with everyone else’s hideous, unwanted wrapped gifts. People pick numbers, and then select a gift from the table, or steal a gift someone has already opened.

At our DUH Christmas Party, not all the gifts were duds. In fact, there were actually two ukuleles in the packages of gifts! Well, they were the $7.00 ukes from the Christmas Tree Store, so not easily played, but still they were ukes after all! They were TREASURES to someone! Especially someone who changes out the strings and lowers the action. Diamonds in the rough.

And that’s the fun of it: You’d be amazed at how often some things get stolen! And at this year’s party, I was robbed often! My first item was a bottle of port wine, which I originally stole. The wine, of course, was stolen from me. Then I managed to get a gift bag with a thermos, two little airline bottles of liquor, and two packets of instant coffee – That got nabbed, too! Finally, I thieved a nice, leather covered flask set – Does there seem to be a liquor theme here? Well, I WAS drinking! Anyway, the flask got nabbed, too! Can you imagine?

The wild variety of items in the Yankee Swap included a bright purple handbag with a Playboy logo on the side, complete with two pink pom-poms. There was a pasta maker. There were lottery tickets. There was a bag with a serving tray and a travel diary. There was a Zhu-Zhu Pet. There was a hot chocolate a chocolate collection. Craziness!

I believe a good time was had by all. And when we got home, somehow all the leftover sugar cookies with green frosting made it home with me. Now how did that happen?

But the best news of all is the DUH Annual Christmas Party as economic indicator: I spoke with Winemaker Lee Fuqua after the party – The Fuqua Winery has hosted all three events, and Lee told me he sold more wine at this third event than any other. Drink up, America! Things are looking up!

(Thank you for reading Uke Plucks! My goal is to continually provide something interesting and of value to uke fans, uke players and uke group organizers. Please see our official website, for more information, and DO sign up even if you are out of the area. That way you can see first hand what Dallas Ukulele Headquarters is doing. Also, DO click on the FOLLOW BLOG button at the top of the page. This helps me to know who is reading and what topics to cover. Plus, it's a little stroke to my ego every time someone adds me. And finally, DO leave a comment. Did you like this post? Not like it? What would you like to see me cover? Again, everything helps! And remember: Without "U", it's just Kulele!)

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