There was no question after working with Rhan Wilson and Rick Zeek at last year’s Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay, that we definietely wanted them to come back, especially after that amazing theater they created for us in the middle of the camp-ground on the last night. But there is so much more to them than that.
Rhan Wilson is an award-winning teacher and performer and author of All in Good Time: A Book About Playing Music for the Aspiring Ukulele Musician, who also brings nearly 50 years of music study and passion along with him. “The All In Good Time Orchestra,” his growing ensemble of ukulele, guitar, keyboard, and bass players, was the opening act for The United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz a few years back. He was recently voted “Best Music Instructor” in Santa Cruz County and, in addition to teaching privately, has conducted workshops at UC Santa Cruz, the Sebastopol Uke Festival, Bend’s Uke U., Burning Uke, and Carmel’s Smoldering Uke. Rhan will be bringing this and much more to Camp Oo-Ko-Lay-Lay once again.
And Rick Zeek is a man of so many talents, we lost count! He, along with Rhan Wilson, leads the increasingly popular “Matthew, Mark, UKE and John” Gospel Sing-along – a loosely structured workshop/gathering that sings and plays a variety of old and new gospel/inspirational music. But, not only is he song-leader extraordinaire, as a professional stage manager, he adds just the right amount of pizzazz to everything, including camp-fire sing-alongs. Not only will he be helping folks get ready for an Grammy-worthy Open Mic, we may get him to help us unleash our inner muse’ with a couple of song-writing workshops, as well.
And what would any of my events be without our beloved Dave Egan, who not only consistently comes out on top in the eyes of his students at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, and the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, it turns out he makes a pretty mean pot of chili, as well! As a sound technician, Dave has worked with artists such as The Rastafarians, Everette Harp, Jackson Browne, and Gregg Rolie, and he has a carpetbag full of behind-the-scenes stories that tell all. But, what he really loves to do is teach ‘ukulele, and Dave is as enamored with teaching beginners as he is with tackling the hot shots. He has achieved “faith healer” status among those who have taken his workshop on “ukulele ergonomics” and is always paying attention in class and figuring out what he needs to teach his students next. In a rut? Take a workshop from Dave. Got a question about anything related to music, your playing, or your instrument? Bring it to Dave. Hungry? He is your guy.
And…..Elaine de Man. Hey! That’s me. The buck stops here. I’m the one who answers your emails, takes your money, pays the piper, and tries to keep everyone happy. And though this is just the second Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay we’ve managed, I come to this year’s camp fresh from the ever-popular West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, held at Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula (now in its sixth year) and the Hawai’i Island ‘Ukulele Retreat, soon to be four years old. I also managed the eight-year run of the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, the two years of La Semana de Uke-Culinary Fiesta and the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta in Santa Fe, New Mexico, along with the Yankee Ukulele Invasion of Great Britain. My mission is to make wonderful memories for people. The pleasure I get from seeing people smiling, stepping out of their comfort zones, and realizing their potential is for me, what it’s all about. I also have a Master’s degree in animal behavior–handy when herding a large group of itinerant ukulele players.
So that’s it for now, but that’s certainly not all. We’ll be adding to this list as we continue to build the program. So stay tuned. There is more to come!