York Park and Ride was buzzing around 9.30am on Tuesday 13th June – not with run-of-the-mill commuters, but with ukulele-toting members of Rotherham u3a’s band Thirty Chords of Grey.
Their destination? York St John’s University, where an all-day u3a Music Fest, organised by Yorkshire and Humberside Region, was tuning up for a 10.30am start. There was a varied programme from many u3as, showcasing a wide range of talent, from singing groups, and choirs, to different instrumental groups, including four ukulele bands.
With two performance spaces available, audience members chose their own concert menu according to musical taste.
Thirty Chords played their half-hour set to 200 appreciative u3a music-lovers, offering a playlist of well-known favourites, old and not-so-old, a choice almost guaranteed to raise voices in song and set fingers and toes a-tapping. Who could resist joining in with songs like Jambalaya, Rave On, Da Do Ron Ron and When the Saints Go Marching In? Certainly, not this crowd.
Listening to them, it’s difficult to believe that, less than two years ago, an initial group of 15 to 20 people, from absolute beginners to more experienced ukulele players, hesitantly played their first chords together. Encouraged by the stronger players, beginners learned and practised more chords, and with increasing confidence worked their way through an expanding repertoire.
The band has 30 members, and a waiting list. To avoid overwhelming new beginners, it has introduced a ‘buddy’ system, admitting two would-be players at a time from the list, each paired with a buddy.
Contact John Todd on 07760 203982 for more about the ukulele group, or visit www.u3asites.org.uk/rotherham to see all activities offered by Rotherham u3a.