Every year the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra has a party at Neudorf Vineyard – and the band says every year it gets better.
Last night a crowd of 450 once again enjoyed plenty of music, dancing, wine and hilarity as the orchestra performed for the fourth year in a row.
Orchestra member Steve Jessup said last night's crowd was "terrific".
"One of the best so far. There was a great response from the crowd, they were very enthusiastic."
During the concert he asked for a show of hands and at least two-thirds of them had come to the concert before, he said.
Mr Jessup thought the group's appeal was perhaps down to the fact that everyone knew the songs they played.
"That's the starting point, the singalong thing where people feel they can be part of the music. That's the key to it. It seems to be pretty infectious."
No longer a novelty, the orchestra regularly receive rave reviews. After one concert, TVNZ's Darren Bevan said the group was "heading towards national treasure status".
Neudorf co-owner Judy Finn said she was pleased to have welcomed the "magnificent" musicians back to the vineyard.
"There was a lot of humour. That's what the ukes do, it feels like a big party rather than a concert. It's just so happy."
They were "incredible musicians," she said. "How they can manage to make a ukulele sound acceptable I don't know. It shows how good they are that they can make a ukulele sound like that."
The last time the group was in Nelson it had used the doors of the Boathouse to make a two-minute music video for its cover of Dreaming of You, for a total cost of $5.98. Mr Jessup said the idea, which had come about during a soundcheck, was planned and filmed in about 11 minutes with the band members ducking, singing, swimming, blowing bubbles and kayaking behind the porthole as though they were under water.
"It just came together really quickly. [In the Boathouse] there's a double doorway with a couple of portholes so we shot [the video] straight after the gig through one of the portholes. It just occurred to us that it was a really nice frame."
"I wish we had a camera on the other side, anyone driving past wouldn't have known what the hell was going on."
The orchestra stayed at the winery last night and left this morning for Wellington. Its latest album, The Dreaming EP, is available from ukulele.co.nz.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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