THE HISTORY OF THE UOK
The love of music has been the beginning of many great things; it is with great appreciation that we thank Colleen Nielsen and Awna de Haan for their desire to start a Ukulele group in Kamloops.
They began in March, 2012, by approaching Long & McQuade asking them to please pass their phone number along to other ukulele players, or to those desiring to begin playing the ukulele. They checked out coffee shops and small meeting rooms, certain their vision would come to fruition. The first ukulele group meeting was held in their living room, March 19th, with Ray Perreault and Barb Bourdon in attendance.
At that first meeting Ray Perreault said Vernon had a ukulele group and he provided contact information. Awna and Colleen drove to Vernon on April 1st, and attended the “Ukes for Fun” group. Colleen said it was great fun, everyone was welcoming and encouraging. Vernon served as further inspiration for Kamloops, thank you to those in Vernon who continue to be a part of our ventures.
In October of 2012, Colleen and Awna attended the Langley Ukulele Workshop and were greatly encouraged by the instructors and people they met. Members of the Bellingham Ukulele Group (BUG – Catch the Bug) stayed at the same hotel as Colleen and Awna and invited them to jam with them. The group also introduced them to the “Daily Ukulele Songbook”, as well as their own song book which can be found on their website along with other resources. While at the workshop, James Hill introduced them to Julia Maika, also from Kamloops. They were all further motivated to start a uke group and decided to work together.
Julia set up a Facebook Page and the group became the Kamloops Ukulele Circle, with the first meeting held on Wednesday, November 7th. Along with posters that were displayed around the city, the Facebook page served to attract many new members. One of them being Nicolette Eadie who hosted the third circle on March 13th, 2013. From that time on Nicolette has been an energetic, dynamo who has worked hard to support and grow the group. The group has grown to about 40 members (in addition to many other non-members who support a beginner/intermediate group).
The Ukulele Orchestra of Kamloops (UOK) adopted it's name in October, 2013 and has developed into a vibrant and busy group that meets regularly, (living rooms no longer contain the group). They host ukulele workshops, lessons, circles and perform frequently at various venues.