We mean no disrespect when we say this performance by Stuart Fuchs was a real Fluke.
He says as much in the video, where we learn about a musical instrument with more uses than a Swiss Army Knife.
It’s just one of many surprising takeaways from last weekend’s Uke New Jersey Too!, the Folk Project’s second annual festival in Morris Township celebrating all things ukulele.
For starters, we learned that Scott “Scooter” Ferguson is a man of his word. It’s a challenge taking anyone named Scooter seriously. But darned if he didn’t deliver on both of his pre-show promises. Everyone who attended the weekend workshops really did learn to play something resembling music. And as far as we could tell, everybody left with a smile.
As performers Jim and Liz Beloff sang on Friday night, you can’t help but smile when you play the ukulele.
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“I just love playing it,” said Ed Fitzgerald, who traveled all the way from Scranton, PA, with his wife Michelle, who got hooked on ukes after reading an article about the instrument’s classical repertoire. “I fell in love with the concept,” Michelle said.
Sean Rafferty, a 10-year-old from Bergen County, said his uke is a good fit for him.
“I like it because it’s kind of like a guitar, but more portable,” he said.
Morristown couple David Codey and Nicki Anderson were so impressed that they bought new ukes at the festival; learning to play is a project they will share.
David was charmed by the “the sense of whimsy” at the two-day event, which included performances by Pete and Maura Kennedy, Uncle Zac, Honor Finnegan and Marcy Marxer and Cathy Fink, in addition to the Beloffs and Stuart Fuchs, on the stage of the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship.
“It was a happy place to be,” David said. “Not only were you learning something new, but you were doing it in an environment of happy people.”
Indeed. Maura Kennedy played a uke and sang a song in Hawaiian while twirling a hula hoop. Not to be outdone, Stuart droned into a didgeridoo while strumming his Fluke.
Scores of people of all talent levels attended Saturday workshops by the performers. Maybe Scooter will add sessions on hooping and didgeridooing next year. There will be a next year, right?
“God, I hope so!” Scooter said.
Until then, you can get your ukulele fix on Sunday mornings on the Morristown Green, and on the first Wednesday of each month at Anthony’s Pizza, across from the Green. Details about these casual jam sessions are here.
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