Ukulele Workshops: The Fascinating Rhythm of Ukulele Ike / My Three Strums / Performance: Finale Swing Band Leader
Casey MacGill performs music that swings. Nat “King” Cole Trio meets the Mills Brothers. Fats Waller meets Fats Domino. Slim Galliard meets Fred Astaire. It is American music of many decades and no decade in particular, all happening at the same time, woven into a seamless, beautiful whole. He plays boogie-woogie, swing, and stride piano and blows a lyrical jazz cornet. But his most unique instrumental voice is a 6-string steel body resonator ukulele.
Casey is the heart and soul of the band and is a classic Hollywood character in appearance and style. MacGill has been singing and arranging vocal harmonies for over 40 years, in a career that stretches from feature films in Los Angeles (“Frances” and “Swing Shift”), to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, to Broadway.
Casey will lead our Swing Thing Band, backed by Gerald Ross on ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar, James on double bass, and Rick Metz on saxophone. Casey’s other half Jessica McKinney will teach swing dance lessons during the day!
Ukulele Workshops: Three Note Bluesy-Jazz Chords / Take it! The Easy Path to Single-Note Soloing / Earlybird “Ted-U Talk:” A Master Musician Considers a Song.
Gerald Ross is one of the finest instrumentalists on the scene today. Whether he is playing the guitar, the ukulele, or the Hawaiian steel guitar, his music expresses a sense of rhythm and melody that is rare in contemporary music. His musical virtuosity and entertaining mix of swing, blues, Hawaiian, American roots music and Tin Pan Alley are a joy to hear. And eclectic? When the mood strikes him, he’ll pick up the Cajun accordion, mandolin, bass, banjo, harmonica, charango and, as mentioned, the ukulele.
Gerald has performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee, and many others. He appears in the award winning film documentaries “The Mighty Uke” and the PBS syndicated “Wheatland – The First 40 Years” and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Dead Man’s Uke
Earlybord Bonus Performance Halloween Night & Much More! Ukulele Workshops: Building an Act—Stage Presence & Beyond / Everything I Know I Learnt from Glen Campbell / More TBA / Performances TBA
I stumbled across the incomparable “Dead Man’s Uke” at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in 2017 and immediately began devising plans to have them visit our festival. Dead Man’s Uke is the father and son team of Tim and Jake Smithies and they are definitely a one-of-a-kind (two-of-a-kind?) entertainment phenom, with big daddy Tim on vocals and uke and the impeccably dressed Jake on double bass. Their name comes from a celebrity that Tim and I both appreciate much: Tim’s resonator ukulele once belonged to the legendary Tiny Tim and was played by him up until his death in 1996. You won’t want to miss them!
Victor & Penny
Ukulele Workshops: Interactive Performance, Arranging
Victor & Penny deliver antique-pop, swing-infused, folk-jazz in their signature high-energy style with joy, humor, and soaring musical improvisation. Victor & Penny were named “Best Folk Ensemble 2015” by the PITCH; “Standout Concert of the Year” by the Joplin Globe; and are two-time Folk Alliance International official showcase artists. V&P feature tight vocal harmonies, dazzling guitar work, and a fiery ukulele. Their performance workshop is still one of the best ukulele based classes I’ve ever witnessed, and their 2016 full-length CD, “Electricity” is still one of the few albums that I’ve every fallen in love with at first listen. But better than all of that, Jeff Freling (Victor) and Erin McGrane (Penny) are terrific human beings that I am honored to know.
Ukulele Workshops: Earlybird Bonus: Malegueñas, Arpeggio Meditations, Melody Meditations
Daniel Ward is an accomplished musician, composer and educator, who has become one of the country’s top clinicians and performers on the ‘ukulele circuit’. He is known for his command of Latin styles and teaches right hand techniques, adapting his style and knowledge from the classical and flamenco guitar. He has been a featured performer and workshop instructor at festivals across the country.
As a guitarist, Daniel has toured the world playing flamenco guitar with Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra as well as performing with the flamenco dance ensembles of Maria Benitez, Dance Espana, and Yjastros.
Workshops: Family Friendly Intro to Ukulele, Others TBA
Probably like many of you, Heidi first entered my life in movies and on television, most notably as the only character ever killed off on prime time television by licking envelopes. Now, she’s as much a ukulele fixture as anyone else in our humble corner of the music world. Heidi is a true, multi-faceted performer with a huge heart, regularly performing at children’s hospitals and working with kids. She and partner Daniel Ward have been cranking out childrens books, music instruction books, and much more. I’m extremely pleased that they could make our desert soirée this year!
Ukulele Workshops: Earlybird Bonus: All of Me for All of You! Others TBA
Dani Joy is a California based singer/songwriter/instructor and Ko’aloha Ukulele featured artist. She is also an accomplished music instructor, following a legacy left by the Herreid family and most especially her Dad, my old friend Stu. I have watched her mature as an artist, a songwriter, and an instructor and I’m proud to include her in my festivals whenever I can because she’s a truly talented individual. If you’re a newer player, you’ll definitely want to get under Dani’s wing—she’ll lead you down the power path! Her world-influenced style is soothing, romantic and fun, blending vintage jazz with latin rhythms and contemporary classics. She is most noted for her crooning alto vocals and tasteful fingerpicking accompaniment. She performs with Perry Stauffer on Double Bass, who adds a brilliant fullness to their act. Watch for Dani Joy & Perry throughout the festival.