Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Under starter's orders

The big day arrives and we ukulele playing masses are digesting the marching orders the BBC sent us yesterday. ‘What should I do before the performance?’ wonders a helpful letter. Answer: ‘Please take a look at our online tutorial’. Bit late for that, I reckon, and by now we fall broadly into two camps: those who can play the chords and those who can only get their fingers round the tune.

The night before the grand event I seek out Proms supremo Roger Wright in an Albert Hall watering hole. An accord is met: we are tune men, but are bringing along talented young chord players to help us out.

Back at the BBC letter, there are some strict instructions. There is to be a ten-minute rehearsal before the Prom. ‘Once the rehearsal is done please put away your Ukulele,’ says Aunty. ‘Ode to Joy will be performed towards the end of the concert, please refrain from playing along during any of the other pieces in the concert!’

And there’s more: ‘Enjoy the performance! You’ll be told from the stage when to get your Ukulele out and led by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain in the first Proms mass Ukulele Orchestra.’

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