Virtual Christmas Sing & Strum

Hello Everyone!

The Nanaimo Ukulele Festival is happy to announce a virtual Christmas Sing & Strum on Sunday, December 13th beginning at 2:00PM.

Since we were unable to put on our Spring Sing & Strum, as well as our Fall Festival due to Covid, we thought we would try our hands at a ‘virtual festival” like so many out there are doing. With that in mind, what better way to kick off the Holiday Season than with a short Christmas Sing & Strum?

We will be posting the Zoom registration link shortly, so please “Save the Date” and start tuning your ukes, stretching your fingers and warming up your voices!!

Why learn music theory?

Why learn music theory? I know, I know, I often hear this from my ukulele students and I know when I see their eyes glaze over that they’ve had enough. But, that is a good question. Why learn music theory?

First of all, what the heck is music theory. Well, that’s a big question with a really, really big answer. Essentially, it’s the language and the rules of music. The theory explains what we hear: the why, how, where, when of playing an instrument, singing or listening to music.

Let’s say you are on holidays in a big, strange city. You pull out your map (we are all old enough to remember a map) and look for where you want to go and how to get there. If you don’t know how to read a map then that very colourful piece of paper becomes a bunch of lines, dots, names and colours that make no sense. Understanding music theory becomes your map to understanding the music. What are all those black dots on those lines mean, the flags on the lines of those black dots, the numbers, the squiggles, the funny Italian terms and all the marks on the page all have meaning and guide you, the musician, in interpreting the music.

Knowledge of the basic elements of music will enable you to read most forms of sheet music: how a melody changes depending on the time signature, musical terms, notation, key signatures, rhythm and melody writing, harmony, pitch, clefs, intervals, and chords all help you understand what you are playing.

Understanding the language of music opens up a world of communication with other musicians, not just ukulele players. You won’t feel left out of a conversation with other musicians when they start talking about a tune they are working on and using terms that sound like gobbledygook to you. Why not learn a little and be part of the conversation. You don’t have to know much, just enough.

Know why these chords sound good together and why these notes sound good over this chord. Why do these chords sound so dark. What is that chord progression all about? How can I copy that? Where else can I use this? What that tablature means and what the heck am I playing anyway? Know why that combination of notes sounds weird? Learning a little about music theory explains why something sounds the way it does. What if you want to make that sound again. Will you know how to do that? What sounds good together and why would you ever want to make something sound “off.”

Know that each note has a pitch and on a ukulele those notes occur on different frets on different strings. When I press down up higher on the fret board the pitch gets higher. Why is that? Music theory even explains that.

If you are into improvising, learning even a little music theory will help you improvise over the chord progressions in the piece of music you are playing freeing you from the printed page. Besides, you will sound darn good and impress yourself and all your friends. That’s when you really enjoy what you are playing and start having fun.

You will feel pretty darn good when the music theory light bulb goes off and you get what you are trying to play. When that happens you might find that you are learning tunes much faster and trying songs that are only written in musical notation. The possibilities are endless. Give it a try.


For all of you who have, perhaps, been neglecting your ukuleles, it’s time to dust them off.

Liz DeBarros has a couple of online Zoom workshops for you to get back into playing again.

Both aimed at Beginners or “uke neglecters”, these are the perfect way to get back into playing or improving your current skills.

COOL HAND UKE – or How To use your chord hand

Available online on  EITHER Thursday July 16th at 11am  OR Saturday July 18th at 11am via ZOOM

This 45 minute workshop looks at how to develop good chording skills. The importance of good posture, how to use your arm, elbow, wrist and fingers to produce clean sounding chords.

Develop skills to anticipate chord changes and make clean chord changes.

Fee is $15


Available online on EITHER Thursday July 25th at 11am OR Saturday July 25th at 11am via ZOOM

This 45 minute workshop introduces exercises, tips and tricks to help you learn new chords.

A new way to learn the Bb chord and why it is so useful

Fee is $15


Full details at

Ticket Sales Suspended

We have decided to suspend ticket sales for this year’s festival until we have more information regarding the COVID-19 situation. We hope to make a decision in May/June as the whether the Festival will be go ahead.

If you have already bought tickets, thank you. If we do feel that cancelling the Festival, in an abundance of caution, is the right way to go, you will receive a full refund.

Keep well, stay safe and uke on


We are adding a new event this year; a Sing and Strum to be held on Sunday March 22nd at The Neighbourhood Church, 4951, Rutherford Road, Nanaimo, between 2pm and 4pm

Doors will open at 2pm and you will be able to buy tickets for this year’s Festival being held on Friday September 18th & Saturday September 19th.

The Sing and Strum will be led by members of The Revolving Doors and chords and lyrics will be projected onto a screen, so you can leave your music stands at home. If you just want to sing, that’s OK too.

This is a free event but donations are welcome.

Anyone buying tickets for the Festival at this event will receive a free Nanaimo Ukulele Festival tote bag.

Not Long Now…

Just a few days to go before out third Festival at the Neighbourhood Church in Nanaimo. Tickets are flying out the door, so if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, don’t wait too long.

Online tickets sales will close at 10pm on Thursday September 12th. After that, you will only be able to purchase tickets at the venue from 6pm on Friday 13th September and 9.30am on Saturday 14th.

Where to play your ukulele when the festival is over




Ground Zero Ukulele Club – Unit 8, 484, Island Hwy E., Parksville. Meets on the 2nd & 4th Monday of each month 7pm for Sing & Strum. By donation, suggested $10, for full details

Qualicum Beach Seniors Centre – 703 Memorial Ave, Qualicum Beach. Ukulele drop in, Sing and Strum Mondays, 12.30pm – 2.30pm. Members $1

Uke Lessons with Liz – Parksville Ukulele Group Orchestra starting September 20th 2019. Go to for full details. Workshop, Group & Private Lessons go to


Arbutus Music School – 6324 Metral Drive, Nanaimo – Private Lessons –

call 250 933 1900 to book lessons

The Music Chord – Private Lessons with Flavio & Louise Cianflone –

call 250 619 5871 to book lessons

Nanaimo Harbour City Seniors – Nanaimo Parks and Recreation

*These classes require a Harbour City Seniors membership and registration for the group.

  • Ukulele in the Classroom Absolute Beginners – Booster Uke – October to December

  • Ukulele in the Classroom, Beginner Level 1 – Moving On – January to May

  • Ukulele in the Classroom, Level 2 – Step UP – October to May

  • Nordli Ukulele group. Tuesday afternoon from September to June 2020

  • Folk n Oldies Music Group – ukuleles and guitars – ongoing but limited spaces available.

  • Beginner Bluegrass Slow Pitch Jam – Friday morning – ongoing throughout the year

  • Bluegrass Band – Friday afternoon – ongoing throughout the year

  • Open mic and circle performance – Tuesday afternoon – ongoing throughout the year

  • Country and Western style band – Tuesday morning – September to June


Evergreen Ukulele Club – Comox Valley, B.C. The group meets regularly every 2nd and 4th

Tuesdays as part of the “Evergreen Seniors Club” in Courtenay. Since starting up 2 years ago, the group averages between 25-30 members for some fun, singing and strumming on the uke.

For more information contact Terry Hall: eMail – Ph. (250) 338-2163

Fretted Friends – Black Creek, B.C. The group meets every 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings at the Black Creek Hall. The meetings provide instruction and group playing for beginners and experienced ukulele enthusiasts in the Black Creek area on Vancouver Island.

Contact Lous Lucieer: eMail – phone: (250) 337-5447


Valley Seniors Ukulele Players, 198 Government St, Duncan
Contact: (250) 746-4433

Byron Thomson group, Mill Bay area

Brenda’s Brats, Mill Bay area

Chemainus Legion Ukulele Group (newly formed)

The Small Block Brewery, meet on Sundays for 2 hours. Contact Al –