Instructors/Performers:

Bernice and Mariah Lewis
For the Berkshire’s national touring artist/educator Bernice Lewis and daughter Mariah Colorado Lewis, playing the ukulele is a family affair. Mariah began playing the uke at age six and has been performing her own songs with her singer-songwriter mother in front of crowds since she was 12. Bernice Lewis has been a touring singer/songwriter and arts educator for almost four decades, performing at festivals, clubs, house concerts and theaters from one coast to the other as well as Ireland, Canada and Mexico. Mariah was recently invited to join the a capella group Rather Be Giraffes. A wonderful songwriter in her own right, she became a member of The Ladies during her sophomore year of high school, because somebody needed to sing harmony! bernicelewis.com

Lil’ Rev is well known on the international ukulele scene as a protector of old songs and playing styles including early blues, Tin-Pan Alley, old time, Yiddish and American folk styles. He is also known for his passionate endeavors to preserve antiquated right hand strokes and strums. lilrev.com

Ron Gordon has been teaching and performing traditional American music for well over a half century at this point. Fretted instruments ( banjo, guitar, ukulele, and mandolin) are his passion, and in teaching at Old Songs, Dance Flurry, SUNY Schenectady SCCC, and many festivals, he’s decided that what he is really teaching is Musical Thinking! It has also been a pleasure producing festivals for ukulele and guitar with Old Songs : the goal is to bring a combination of innovative learning experiences and instructors together, so students have an affordable opportunity toexpand their musical horizons and technique. Many free learning resources are at his site, learnyourfrets.com.


Full Saturday Schedule:

  • 9:30—Registration
  • 10:30—Workshops/Classes, Session 1
    1. Beginner Ukulele with Bernice and Mariah Lewis
      • Using a popular folk song, we’ll start from scratch and get your fingers moving! You’ll learn at least three basic chords and one strumming pattern that will give you a foundation to access music simple music online and continue learning. Bring a recording device.
    2. Fingerpickin’ Good with Ron Gordon
      • The secret to fingerpicking : an educated thumb! That’s your time/beat keeper. We’ll delve into two patterns, arpeggio and alternating thumb using a systematic approach based on keeping the beat.On the way we’ll learn two songs, and these styles will apply to a host of other genres.
  • 11:30—Lunch
  • 12:30—Workshops/Classes, Session 2
    1. Songwriting For Ukulele with Bernice and Mariah Lewis
      • We’ll go over the anatomy and physiology of songwriting and talk about what makes writing on and for the ukulele unique. We’ll take a look at the structure of songs, components, story line, use of poetic devices, chord structure, melody, and talk about how contemporary song has evolved historically. Bring your songs, and plan to write a song or two to share with our group. 
    2. The Rock n Roll Strum For Ukulele with Lil Rev
      • Learn the rock n roll strum, boogie-woogie patterns and the The Rock Strum with Boogie Notes. 8 great songs, and a variety of approaches to playing rock n roll on the ukulele will be taught by acclaimed uke master Lil Rev. All levels are welcome. Must know basic chords.
  • 2:00—Workshops/Classes, Session 3
    1. Learning To Play Roll Strokes On The Ukulele with Lil Rev
      • A Roll Stroke is a gradual unraveling of the fingers, or r–r–r–r–u–p sound, that adds percussive flavor to a songs arrangement. It’s easy to learn, and fun to integrate into your strumming technique. Let Strum Master Lil Rev show you how to do 4 different roll strokes, and how to integrate them into a simple blues song. Open to all levels.
    2. Jazzin’ Up The Uke with Ron Gordon
      • We’ll take a look and listen to a few chord progressions that are good examples of jazz chord voicing, and how they got there. There will be a few songs, and some practice exercises- approaches to improving those diminished, augmented, and other challenging changes. 
  • 3:30—Uke Potpourri Concert
  • 5:30—Pot Luck Dinner and Uke Networking: bring a dish, and/or drink.
  • 7:00—Open Mic

Old Songs, Inc. is a not-for-profit, educational, 501(c)3 corporation

Office Hours: Monday–Friday, 11 am–4 pm.
PO Box 466 • 37 South Main Street • Voorheesville, NY 12186-0466
(518) 765-2815 • Fax: (518) 655-0061 •
oldsongs@oldsongs.org