Wishing you a very Kiwi Christmas: Back row: Thelma Fisher, Tyler McInnes and Kerry Shephard; and in the front row: Christine Thomson, Su White, Jen Cattermole, Philippa Hawker, Fiona Stuart and Kathryn Williamson.
Along with performing the New Zealand Christmas Tree for this year’s Otago Christmas video, the Uni Ukes have had a busy year. The group of staff and students started out with their ukuleles and some tunes to practice in July 2012. Since then they have grown in popularity, and are in demand for their performances of a mix of songs from New Zealand and overseas.
Jen Cattermole leads the group and says mainly popular tunes combining oldies but goodies as well as more contemporary tunes are key ingredients to Uni Uke’s success. The group enjoys regular rehearsals and learning new tunes.
“I think it's mainly the joy of making music together that really keeps people coming along. There's just something a bit magical about making music with others. It's hard to put that into words. For some members, it's the challenge of learning something new - in other cases pursuing a long-held dream to learn a musical instrument,” says Jen.
Jen sees a positive future for the group and says some great friendships have been formed.
“The group's also been a wonderful way to meet staff and students from across the whole University; people who you probably wouldn't necessarily socialise with otherwise.”
Highlights for 2013 include the group’s performances at May graduation with the RSA choir, and when they combined with a local choir whose members have Parkinson’s disease. Next year the group has increased community engagement on the agenda, and this will include performances and possibly workshops in schools, rest homes and hospices.