Posts Tagged ‘Ukulele’


Pemaquid Point Lighthouse – The End of the World

Anyone who has spent more than twenty minutes with me knows that I draw much of my creative energy from my experiences in Maine. They also know that I have a passion for the ukulele.

More than once I’ve toyed with the idea of bringing these two things together and holding a MidWest UkeFest style ukulele retreat in Maine. At various times I’ve reached out to inns, resorts and even windjammers, but there’s always something that I can’t work around.

This week I’ve stayed at a delightful old Inn — The Hawks House. It’s a perfect spot for a retreat. There are 3 instructional areas (two large common rooms and a barn) and 12 charming guest rooms. It’s located on a state highway (easy to find) on a neck that ends in a small village (not much traffic). It’s ten minutes from U.S. Route 1 and all the comforts of home and tacky


Hawk House Inn – Walpole, Maine – Twelve Guest Rooms, Two Large Common Areas with Fireplaces, Many Smaller Common Spaces and a Community Kitchen

tourism of the Maine coast. It’s also minutes from some of the best coastal access in the state including Rachel Carson Salt Pond and Pemaquid Point Light.

This is the kind of place that groups will gather around fireplaces and play and sing and laugh into the morning.

The one element that makes this proposal look possible is the innkeeper, _MG_0004Steve Hawks is the most enthusiastic and accommodating host that I’ve stayed with. I asked about sitting at a table and drawing and he moved a desk into my room. He’s the kind of guy that could make this idea work.

I’m thinking out loud. I’ve done this before. It’s time to do it again.

What I’m looking for is interest. Is there an interest? What would you like to see?



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imageAre look for a great holiday gift? Perhaps a great family activity? Consider taking ukulele lessons on the Palladium stage at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. For just $27.50 you can enjoy 3 one hour lessons filled with great information, music and fun. Dozens of folks have attended and they just keep coming! Beginning Monday, December 2 we will meet for three Mondays. Ukulele 101 (beginner) will meet at 6:00 and Ukulele 103 (advanced beginners) at 7:15. You will need to bring your own uke. This class is offered for mid teens and adults. For more information email 50littlebirds@gmail.com

Registration information is available at http://www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org

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That Tiki Thing


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From the current issue of TravelIN.

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I’ve been working with Traditional Arts Indiana for many, many years–performing, running workshops and demonstrating.  This Thursday I will be joining my daughter, Hannah Davis and Traditional Arts Indiana intern, to talk about social networking.

My initial reaction, when approached to do this, is that I’m no expert in social media.  Upon reflection I do have something to talk about.  I’ve been networking with traditional artists since I began writing letters to wooden boatbuilders in the late 1970s.  The internet has made these kinds of interactions cheap and immediate.  I’m no expert, but I do have something to share.

From the Traditional Arts Indiana website:

Social Networking for Artists and Performers: Developing and Maintaining an Online Presence

Want to use social media — sign up for a Facebook page, begin to tweet, start a blog — to promote your work, but don’t quite know how? Feel like what you’re already doing isn’t quite enough? Join TAI and Hamilton County artist and social networking afficionado Geoff Davis online on April 5 at 4:30 p.m. EDT (UTC−04:00) for our next webinar.

Davis, a woodcarver, musician, and educator, will introduce sites and explain how to use them, describe the best methods for attracting more fans and followers, and explain new opportunities to sell work online. In addition to covering the basics, Davis will also introduce new tools to improve what artists are already doing.

Read the rest of the article here.

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This is a very exciting time for me.

On my not-so-very-good-days I’d say it differently.

I’m scared as hell!

The face of public education is changing.  My job (urban grade 5-6 teacher in a once progressive school) is no longer to inspire and challenge kids. I’ve become part of a test giving data analysis machine.  Once I’ve digested the data I follow (often) pre-prescribed lessons and procedures to plug the holes and raise the scores.  I see no boat building, inflated cities or working hovercraft in the future (These are all projects that I’ve completed in my classrooms at this school).  Much of the joy has left the building.

I was going to teach for five years.  I was going to do something exciting and creative at the end of those five years. (To build wooden boats was the plan then.  It’s still on the list.)

Things happened.  I bought a house and a car.  I married a lovely women with two lovely children.  We had two more. I got stuck. I’ve been teaching 27 years and I have no regrets, but I’m stuck!

This morning I began to plan my way out.  It’s not the first time and probably not the last, but by sharing in a public forum I hope to build a little dialog and some accountability.

Jim Eck, a ukulele and carving student and friend, and I exchanged a few messages yesterday.  We were sharing a bit about being stuck.  He ended his last message with, “You have such amazing talents.”

I’ve heard this stuff before.  Three hundred and fifty years of Quaker heritage make these kinds of statements roll off my back.  This time it didn’t.  It was what I needed to hear — an unintentional pep-talk. (Thanks Jim!)

So this morning I began to really examine these talents.  Along with the Quaker thing, I’ve a very informal approach to learning and teaching so I don’t often give my “amazing skills” the importance and weight that I should.  They seem to just be things that I’ve picked up along the way.  I also carry a very old load of weight from a grandfather and a father (both engineers and both named Keith Davis)  that completely discounted most of my skills and talents.  (My father once told me that I wouldn’t understand my parents’ failing marriage because I was only a teacher.)

An older teaching friend (and wise sage) tried to convince me of the value of my skills many times.  I always shrugged and blushed a lot and went right on my way.  (Hazel, you’ve always been right.)

Anyway, I began cataloging talents this morning.  I didn’t get far.  I listed a few that are particularly strong and that I do better than most folks.  There are others.

I then focused on three, ukulele playing and building and carving birds.  Now I’m brainstorming ways to make these skills into meaningful and creative work.  Income.  Fulfillment.  Joy.

I’ve spent a lifetime learning cool stuff.  I’m an expert at teaching this to others.  This formula should work.  It has to work.

Thanks for reading this far.  I need your input and help.

I’ve a few ideas that I’ll share later today.

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Earlier this week I wrote about my sadness regarding the end of Pods and my ukulele program at the Key Learning Community.

My principal (a wonderful and supportive woman) is not ready to give in.  She sent an email yesterday letting staff know that she has a plan that may preserve Pod in some fashion.

We’ll know more soon, but I’m very hopeful!


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