Susi Q’s Popular Ukefest Appeals to All Ages

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The Susi Q’s Ukefest is back. Victoria Vox and Jack Maher are teaming up once again to lead a ukulele workshop and offer a concert that will set feet tapping and heads bobbing.

Renowned ukulele musicians Victoria Vox and Jack Maher will host a workshop and performance at the Susi Q on Nov. 19. Submitted Photo

“Stylistically, it’s a bit Americana, jazz, folk, and pop, but really, there are no boundaries,” said Maher.

This fun event, one of the Susi Q’s most popular, takes place Nov. 19, starting with the workshop from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a concert from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Susi Q is honored to host the talented musical duo who, since eloping in 2016, have been writing and performing together in between their seperate gigs. They’ve frequently been featured on the national stage, including Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and in the Wall Street Journal, so their presence is quite a coup for the Susi Q.

A few questions answered

Did you know that the word “ukulele” means “jumping fleas?” It’s said that when Portuguese sailors arrived at the Hawaiian Islands, locals were fascinated by the speed of their fingers on the strings of a small guitar that would later evolve into the ukulele – hence the name.

Susi Q caught up with Vox to ask a few questions.

SQ: What do you believe it is about ukulele music that makes people feel so joyful?

VV: Ukulele music, or rather, the instrument, has got it all. Some people feel nostalgia for the ukulele from their childhood or a trip to Hawaii, and others love the instrument for its musical versatility. The beauty is that anything can be played on a ukulele. People love its playfulness, but it can also be unassuming and heart-warming.

SQ: What attracted you to the ukulele?

VV: I used to play guitar, but someone gave me a ukulele in 2003. By popular demand, I fully traded my guitar for the uke by 2009. The ukulele proved to be a great tool for songwriting and travel.

SQ: Your mouth-trumpeting skills are amazing. When and why did you first develop this skill – or is it an art form?

VV: It’s what happens when one spends too much time alone in the car. I discovered my mouth trumpet in the summer of 2006. Once I decided that I was going to stick to it, I began listening to Chet Baker to hone in on emulating trumpet tone and technique. It helped that I played trumpet in high school, too. Being invited on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and featured in a cultural piece in the Wall Street Journal were some high notes. Not to blow my own horn!

SQ: What did you enjoy most about the last time you performed at the Susi Q?

VV: Gosh, That was before the pandemic. We are so excited to come back. It’s a great facility. I’ll teach a ukulele workshop followed by a performance with projected images/animations that inspired my new album, Nirvana in REM.

Whether you pronounce the word “oo” kulele” or “you” kulele, you will have a fabulous time at the event, learning how the most jolly of all instruments is played and listening to the fabulous sounds of Jack & the Vox.

Susi Q encourages interested people to sign up soon as this event is popular. Light refreshments will be served, and beer and wine will be available by donation.

For more information about Jack & the Vox, visit www.jackandthevox.com.

Register online at www.thesusiq.org and click on Classes. To RSVP by phone, call (949) 715-8105.

The Susi Q offers a wide range of educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed, and independent. For more information on The Susi Q, the portal to access the best of Laguna’s community resources, visit www.thesusiq.org.

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