Review- Fifth Annual Allegheny Ukulele Soiree

This last weekend, April 20-22, 2018, I attended the Fifth Annual Allegheny Ukulele Soiree. It is a two-day festival put on by the Allegheny Ukulele Kollective. This is the fourth one I have attended in the last five years of the Soiree’s existence.

It was held at the Laurel Lodge in Duncansville, PA. near Altoona. The festival included workshops for all levels of ukulele players, jams, open mics and two concerts.

The workshops were taught by all the performers as well as a couple of clinicians. I attended many workshops and learned something new in each one. They were all well attended by an enthusiastic group of people who love playing the ukulele and want to grow as musicians.

As I did last year, I took advantage of the dining package which allowed me to stay at the lodge all day on Saturday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided and I got to hang out with fellow uke players the entire day without having to leave to find a place to eat.

There was a vendor area where instruments and accessories were sold. Mim’s Ukes was there as well as Mainland Ukes, The Hug Strap, Dewdrop Ukuleles, Leis & Things by Debi and Adaptive Ukulele System. All of this was in the same building which I found very convenient. The lodge is in the foothills which provided us with a fantastic view and plenty of room to take classes and hang out.

I stayed after registration for the Friday evening concert which featured The Dirty Hillers, Mim and Danielle Ate the Sandwich. It was so much fun! They are all so talented and personable plus they were instructors for the weekend.

Saturday was packed with workshops, meals and an evening concert. The performers for that evening were the Hula Class, Jim D’Ville and Craig Chee/Sarah Maisel. They are all great performers. A fun time was had by all.

There were also drawings for different prizes Friday and Saturday night at each concert. Kala and Ohana donated ukes which were raffled off Saturday evening.

For the third year in a row the Soiree was a two-day event. I know putting on something like this is a lot of work for many people not the least of which is Mike Holzer. He is the Allegheny Ukes Co-Director and Chief Uke Evangelist. He has a great team of people who help put this together and run it for the weekend. Add in the performers and instructors and it is as close to uke heaven as you will get.

I love what Mike and the Kollective have done in the last five years with the Soiree. It is a great value and provides a fun atmosphere to meet others and to learn. This year there were nearly 150 people signed up. It was sold out! The Soiree has grown so much that next year it is going to be on a different weekend and at a different place.

Mark your calendars and plan ahead. The dates are May 3-5, 2019. It will be held at the Altoona Grand Hotel. I have checked it out on the web. This is a great facility with all the amenities and it will allow the Soiree to grow for many years to come. Can’t wait!

My suggestion is to plan for next years event now. It will be the 6th year of the Soiree and who knows what they will come up with? I am sure it will be great!

 

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