by Greta Yeoman
A ukulele-wielding band of Liverpudlians are set to entertain and educate South Canterbury residents next month.
UkeBox, a five-piece band from Liverpool in England, will hold a series of workshops and shows in Geraldine early next month.
The South Canterbury “mini festival” has been organised by Geraldine UkeFest founders Fi and Hugh McCafferty, with support from the Geraldine Community Arts Council and Creative New Zealand communities funding, through the Timaru District Council.
Co-organiser Mr McCafferty said it would be the only New Zealand show the band would perform.
He joked that his wife Fi had been “stalking” the band since she discovered it was due to play in Australia.
The couple got in contact with UkeBox to invite it to Geraldine and the band accepted.
The band will host a workshop on vocal harmony at 4pm on Friday, April 5, along with an early bird open-mic session at 7pm.
Events on Saturday, April 6, include a 10am funk/jazz workshop, a 2pm workshop on making medleys of songs and a 7pm concert at the Heritage Hotel in Geraldine.
All workshops will be held at the Geraldine Academy of Performing Arts.
Mr McCafferty said they wanted the group to perform a show but with a large number of ukulele enthusiasts in Geraldine – which hosts UkeFest and other uke-themed events – it was also a good chance to learn some “tips and tricks” from the players.
The five-piece band performs on ukuleles, u-bass (bass ukulele), kazoolele and banjolele.
“They are a fun group,” Mr McCafferty said.
Ukebox was established in 2012 after its members attempted to start a ukulele group while studying at the University of Liverpool.
However, due to limited interest, the uke players decided to start a band instead.
Since then, the band has performed at TedX Liverpool, clocked up more than 400,000 views on YouTube for its video of a Beatles medley, in tribute to its fellow Liverpool musical predecessors, and released several original songs.
“These guys are entertainers first . . . They just happen to play ukulele.”
Tickets for the April 6 show at the Heritage Hotel can be bought at Louk Clothing in Geraldine. Registrations for the workshops can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.