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View Full Version : Mya Moe Picnic Recap and Pics! :-D



Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 02:37 PM
WOW!!!! A most wonderful trip was had this past weekend down in White Salmon, WA to attend the Mya Moe (I learned it's pronounced "my-ah mo-eh" -- I hope that I got that right!) Picnic! My hubby and I, along with about 60 plus other ukulele enthusiasts, ventured to the Mountain View Grange in White Salmon to share our love and passion of Mya Moe ukuleles, uke learning and, of course, uke jammin'! Here's a snapshot of the Mountain View Grange front entrance:

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(Please note that pics should open up correctly if you click on them -- they appear sideways -- but, if you click on the pic, it should open up the right way!)

Just through the front door and to the left, there was an assortment of beautiful Mya Moe ukuleles on display for attendees to admire -- and yes, absolutely, I SHOULD have indeed snapped a picture here, folks, but I didn't get it done, so my apologies! (Anyone else capture one that attended?)

We all gathered at the Grange around 1:30 pm on Sat. Aug. 17th, where our hosts, Gordon and Char Mayer, along with Aaron and Nicole Keim, welcomed us to the event. Here's a pic of the workshop back entrance, a pic of the picnic schedule to give you an idea about the flow of the day's (and evening's!) activities, and a pic of Jim D'Ville kicking things off:

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I started off with Ben Bonham's workshop called "Novelty Songs." Ben selected four different tunes to teach us during the hour-long workshop. So, this was the first time I ever played my uke in a group and it was TOUGH for me (anyone else ever experience this for the first time?)! I admit, I did have a bit of a time keeping up...but, I was REALLY lucky because...my Skype ukulele teacher, Danielle Anderson (of "Danielle Ate The Sandwich"!) was sitting right next to me! And, yup, I DO have a picture to prove this!

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(Note gal with HUGE grin = ME!)

The next section of my day was spent taking a wonderfully detailed tour of the Mya Moe workshop! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! In order to be respectful of Mya Moe and their trade secrets, I didn't take any pics during the workshop tour. That said, I will do my best with the written word to help you envision what I saw that day!

During the workshop tour, we visited the different stations set-up throughout the workshop area; Gordon and Char shared their 14-step process which goes into building each one of their beautiful instruments. If memory serves me correctly, two new uke orders are started each day and two ukes are completed each day.

Gordon discussed where and how the fretboard was applied to the neck; he also demonstrated the technique that he employs to create the radius in the neck. Though I don't recall the exact names of the tools that he used to do this, one tool had been initially invented/designed to build wagon wheels; it appeared to be a semi (half)-circle blade of sorts. Another tool he used looked very similar to a cheese grater. Gordon used this "cheese grater" tool used to finish the radius on the entire neck. It was so cool to watch him do this with such precision!

Char showed us where and how the bend is created in the sides of the ukuleles, noting that, over the years, she's learned how some woods tend to be more cumbersome in maintaing the bend. In those circumstances, Char said that the machine that's used to create the bend might need to have a bit higher temperature used to create the bend/shape in the wood; or some wood may require some additional "spritzing" (spraying with water); or perhaps the wood needs to stay in the machine a bit longer to ensure the bend is retained.

One of other the things that Char discussed during the tour is how varying responsibilities in the uke building process are divided amongst the Mya Moe team: Gordon, Aaron Keim, and herself. Each one of them has their own areas of specialty in creating a Mya Moe ukulele; as a uke order comes in, all the way up through it's completion, the team adheres to tried and true methodologies in creating these incredible instruments. I would garner to say that part of their success in the building process is because of how organized and streamlined everything is in the workshop. It's a finely-tuned operation, and Gordon, himself, even mentioned how the process has been specifically designed with eliminating, as much as possible, the chance for human error.

The final workshop I attended was Jim D'Ville's "Play Ukulele By Ear" workshop. I found him to be QUITE the info-tainer/trainer! Very sadly, I did miss Aaron Keim's workshop in which he taught "Roxy's Waltz." I hope to be able to, somehow, catch up on what I missed!

Jim's workshop was as A LOT of fun; he kept us all very involved as we learned about the structure of songs. Jim talked about the concept of a chords creating a comfy "home/resolution feeling" (he called this a "1"), like C in the key of C; then, there are chords which create "tension" (he also called this the "5"), for example, G7 in the key of C; they're also chords that "ask questions" (he called these "4's), like F in the key of C.

Some of the songs we learned to demonstrate song structure and these (1, 4, 5, 1) techniques included John Denver's "Leaving on Jet Plane," CCR's "Bad Moon Rising," and even a Buddy Holly tune. We also learned some 12 chord blues progressions. Jim, if you're reading this, I know that there wasn't a hand-out for this workshop, but I would still love one if you ever made one!

About 6 pm, folks gathered for a scrumptious dinner, conversation, and some jammin' of course! At 7 pm, our evening concert/open mic was kicked off by Jim D'Ville. Guest performers included Adam Stockdale of "Albatross", Israel Nebeker of "Blind Pilot", Danielle Anderson of "Danielle Ate The Sandwich," "The Quite American" (Aaron and Nicole Keim), and Mya Moe's own "Employees Only Band" (Gordon and Char Mayer, Aaron and Nicole Keim, Ben Bonham, and Kerry (Kerry, I am sorry, I don't recall your last name!). Of course, there were a TON of other wonderful open-mic performances by workshop attendees! And, no, in case anyone is wondering, I wasn't brave enough to perform -- I get so nervous just making a YouTube video! :-)

(I tried to insert pics of the concert, but just learned I am only allowed 5 pics per post, so I'll post those pics in a separate thread!)

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the 2013 Mya Moe Picnic! The picnic was the first time I've ever been to a ukulele-related event and it was also the first time I've ever visited a ukulele workshop and had a tour. I was absolutely blown away with wonderment at what I saw and experienced! I'd also like to say that I was so happy to hang out with so many folks who are just as crazy about uke'in as I am -- we are all peas in a pod, for sure!

In conclusion, so many heartfelt thanks -- and a great deal of gratitude -- to Gordon and Char Mayer, and to Aaron and Nicole Keim, for organizing and hosting such a memorable, fun-filled, and educational event! Thank you, also, to our workshop leaders Ben Bonham, Aaron Keim, and to Jim D'Ville! Of course, much gratitude goes to the guest performers, too! Israel Nebeker, Adam Stockdale, and Danielle Anderson! Woot woot!!! :-D

Happy Strummings, all!
~ Chelle "hochapeafarm"

Jim Hanks
08-19-2013, 02:52 PM
Cool! You can reply to your own thread to post more pics.

Hippie Dribble
08-19-2013, 03:01 PM
Great story Chelle, thankyou so much for taking the time to post this. Sounds like it was so much fun, and edumacational too. Now, the big question is...were you the ONLY one without a mya moe uke? And did you order one before you left? :p

Dan Uke
08-19-2013, 03:10 PM
Thanks for sharing...They seem to be great people from what I've seen and read.

kvehe
08-19-2013, 03:32 PM
Thanks for posting such a wonderful, informative report. That was a great day!

Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 04:21 PM
Hi, folks! As promised, a few more pics from the Mya Moe picnic! And, for some reason, even though the pics are being uploaded in the correct format, they are coming out turned sideways...and this time, clicking on the pics isn't straightening them out -- my apologies -- not sure what's going on with that!

This is a shot of dinner time enjoyment; btw, I had a fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich -- ok, did your mouth just water? Mine did remembering it! Absolutely DELICIOUS!)
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I was a little worried about taking pics during the concert/open-mic performance -- whether it was alright to do so or not -- I also didn't want to distract the performers or audience members with my camera's flash -- but, here are a few that I did get! :-)

Here's Aaron and Nicole Keim ("The Quiet Americans"), Jim D'Ville, and Ben Bonham jammin':
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Here's Jim D'Ville welcoming Danielle Anderson ("Danielle Ate The Sandwich") to the stage (Kerry is working on a sound check!); Danielle played one of my favorite DATS songs, "Some Other Girl," as well as "Faith in a Man":
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So, team Mya Moe has their own band! Appropriately called "The Employees Only Band" and here are Char, Gordon, Nicole, Aaron, Ben and Kerry playin' and singin' their hearts out (a fantastic performance!):
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Finally, as an added aside/related note: After the picnic, my hubby and I camped out overnight at gorgeous Memaloose State Park in Oregon, just a few miles down I-84 from White Salmon, WA, where the picnic was held. The morning after the picnic, we actually ran into some other Mya Moe picnic folks who had also camped out at the park (Hi, Susan and Christian, if you're reading this! It was great to meet you guys!).

Here is a shot of the Columbia River, not too far from Memaloose State Park; pic is taken from the Oregon side, heading westbound on I-84) on our drive home:
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Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 04:30 PM
Great story Chelle, thankyou so much for taking the time to post this. Sounds like it was so much fun, and edumacational too. Now, the big question is...were you the ONLY one without a mya moe uke? And did you order one before you left? :p

Ha! Ha! Just a handful of us without MM ukes; I SO do wish I had an order in, Jon! One day, I hope! :-)

Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 04:31 PM
Thanks for sharing...They seem to be great people from what I've seen and read.

Yes, really great people! So glad that I could participate in this super event!

Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 04:34 PM
Thanks for posting such a wonderful, informative report. That was a great day!

Thanks for your comment, Kathryn! I am a freelance writer, so I tend to get a little overly enthusiastic when it comes to writing things down! But, let's face it, it was a Mya Moe function that I was recapping, after all, and one just can't help but be enthusiastic as such! :-)

Hochapeafarm
08-19-2013, 04:36 PM
Cool! You can reply to your own thread to post more pics.

Thanks, Jim, for checking out the thread! Thanks, also, for the tip on loading more pics!

mds725
08-19-2013, 09:11 PM
Thanks for the detailed description of the picnic. It sounds like a wonderful time!


.... The next section of my day was spent taking a wonderfully detailed tour of the Mya Moe workshop! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! In order to be respectful of Mya Moe and their trade secrets, I didn't take any pics during the workshop tour....

Mya-Moe has posted a short video tour of its ukulele shop on YouTube. The video is three years old, and the shop may have changed somewhat during that time, but this video provides what I believe is a good idea of the place.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiU9MFhjzBI

myamoe
08-20-2013, 03:34 AM
Gordon here... ...all credit goes to Aaron & Nicole. An email from Jim D'Ville was the catalyst, and Aaron/Nicole organized and ran the entire event. Thanks to all who attended! No trade secrets in the shop, so pics and descriptions are fine next time. We're already looking forward to next year!

BWright
08-20-2013, 04:37 AM
It was a great picnic. As Chelle was on the shop tour during the second workshop, I'll mention the fun group lesson of "Roxy's Waltz" taught by Aaron. In less than an hour a group of 30 - 40 players did a great job playing the two part song.
Hope there is another picnic next summer. Thanks to all.

Bill

Hochapeafarm
08-20-2013, 10:47 PM
Mya-Moe has posted a short video tour of its ukulele shop on YouTube. The video is three years old, and the shop may have changed somewhat during that time, but this video provides what I believe is a good idea of the place.

Thanks, mds725, for this great video link! :-)



Gordon here... ... No trade secrets in the shop, so pics and descriptions are fine next time.

Hi there, Gordon! Please accept my sincerest apologies for making that erroneous statement in my lil' description of my visit that day to your workshop, re: "trade secrets." In my write-up, I was trying to relay to readers why I hadn't personally taken any pics; I truly only meant to be respectful of you and Char, Mya-Moe, and your workshop practices. Again, I am very sorry!

mm stan
08-21-2013, 03:34 AM
Aloha Chelley,
Wow I missed your post on your fantastic weekend at theMya Moe workshop...thank you for taking time to write and take photos of your experience....I wish I was there girl....
it must have been a fun packed weekend and sharing......woo hoo Happy Strummings...

jimdville
08-26-2013, 09:09 AM
"Jim, if you're reading this, I know that there wasn't a hand-out for this workshop, but I would still love one if you ever made one!"

Chelle, thanks for the nice recap! You brought a lot of great energy to the event. I'll tell you why I NEVER give handouts at the Play Ukulele By Ear
workshop. First it's called Play Ukulele By Ear. Second, if I did give a handout it would be the first thing you looked at when you got home even before you gave yourself (and your perfect mind) the chance to recall, and find on your instrument, what you had heard. Playing while reading from a piece of paper and playing what you are hearing in your head are two different things. I'm teaching the later approach. Hence, no handouts.

Ukejenny
08-26-2013, 09:22 AM
Sounds like a great, energizing weekend!