Ten Things About The Hurricane

Not About The Hurricane

Yes, yes, yes... there's a goddamn hurricane bearing down on the east coast. Ocean City is under a mandatory evacuation order, blah blah blah.

I will, no doubt, write about the goddamn hurricane, but not now.

Now I want to talk about how I helped set a new world record!

My great good friend Andrea posted on Facebook about UkeFest 2011 and asked if anyone would like to go with her. Now how, I ask you, can anyone resist going to a ukelele festival?? I couldn't, especially since the main event at the fest was the attempt to break the Guiness world record for simultaneous strumming! The record is 851 ukelele players strumming and singing at once.

So Andrea and I met up at the metro station and hoofed it on over to the festival. The evening was perfect: warm, nice breeze, no bugs. Andrea registered to be counted as a player; I did not, because I did not have and cannot play a ukelele.

While Andrea registered, I scanned the crowd and found two wonderful clowns! Mark Jaster, who is a friend of one of my oldest friends, and Michael Rosman, a fellow Clown College grad. They are both supremely talented! Mark was in character; Michael is a character! (Heh.) If you ever get a chance to see these guys, go!


Andrea and I staked out a spot on the lawn, grabbed some supper from the barbeque shack, and settled in to listen to the various wonderful musicians. They included Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, The Sweater Set, and several other ukelele experts. I really loved an amateur ukelele group called The Riders, a group of seniors ages 68 through 94. They were great!


The crowd got bigger and bigger, but would there be enough strummers to breat the record?? The emcee kept encouraging folks to register, yet it seemed like we would fall short. There were 452 registered; there were 602 people registered! It was almost time, oh no!


 Andrea kept encouraging me to sign up, but first I would have to buy a ukelele. And wouldn't you know it? The House of Musical Traditions (a wonderful area music store) had ukeleles for sale, including beginner ukes for the princely sum of $40.

I caved -- it didn't take much, if I'm honest. I trotted over to the table, picked out a candy apple red number (no metal flake, alas!), forked over my cash, and registered. Andrea tuned up the uke and gave me a crash course in three chords: C, F, and G7. Those were the only chords I needed to play the two required songs.

Finally, the announcement! Did we have enough players??

YES! We had a grand total of 944 registered players!

Now it was time to strum. I did my best, but I'm glad there were so many other players there to drown out my clumsy attempt to play. At any rate, we played enthusiastic versions of This Land Is Your Land and Aloha O'e.

So yeah, I helped break a record! And I own a candy apple red ukelele -- luckily, I can take lessons starting in September.