From curiosity to virtuosity - Uke Orchestra

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain new show charts the Ukes' rise from curiosity to virtuosity, from village hall to the Royal Albert Hall. The Ukes of GB have performed for the British Royal Family and at the BBC Proms. Now they are adding a little festive frivolity to the show.

Monday, 5th November 2018, 12:18 pm
Updated Monday, 5th November 2018, 12:21 pm
The Ukuelele Orchestra of Great Britain
The Ukuelele Orchestra of Great Britain

The Orchestra was formed in 1985 as a bit of fun, but the first gig was an instant sell-out, and they’ve been performing ever since. By 1988 they had released an LP, appeared on BBC TV, played at WOMAD and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session.

The current ensemble has been playing together for more than 20 years and has given thousands of sold-out concerts across the world, including Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, France, America, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

They have more recently performed sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House (2012), The Royal Albert Hall (2009, 2012) and New York’s Carnegie Hall (2010, 2012).

The Ukulele Orchestra’s music has been used in films, plays, and commercials, while film clips of the Orchestra’s live concerts and TV appearances on websites such as YouTube have been watched millions of times. Collaborators have included Madness, David Arnold, The British Film Institute, The Ministry of Sound, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) and The Kaiser Chiefs.

For this festive themed show the audience are invited to watch the tutorials online and learn the parts so they can join in on Good King Wenceslas, Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

Orchestra founder George Hinchliffe recalls “We were not thinking it was going to be a long-term project. What happened was that we found it entertaining for ourselves, and the audiences seemed to like it over the years.

“It was just a local pub. We said ‘let’s get something together as a group of friends’. It was almost like a karaoke really. We just put up a poster and more people came than we thought.”

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will be performing at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings on Novemeber 14.