Gary first picked up the ukulele while traveling and performing as a professional clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. After nearly 20 years of playing the same three songs, he stumbled upon a workshop led by the renowned musician and underground comic book artist, Robert Armstrong, and his world has never been the same.
In 2001, Gary also began editing the influential blog, Ukulelia.com, which chronicled the early days of the ukulele’s “Third Wave.”
A few years back, Gary decided to up his ‘ukulele game even more and now holds a Level 3 Certification from the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI). Last year, he was tapped by James to serve as a JHUI instructor for the Vancouver, BC program and later as a featured instructor at the Ukulele Hot Springs Retreat in British Columbia.
When he is not teaching ukulele, Gary is also the Managing Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, in Oakland, California.
We worked with Gary last year at Camp Oo-Koo-Lay-Lay and could see that his talent and generosity as an ‘ukulele teacher, his experience herding cats, and his proclivity for fun, would make him a great addition to this next ‘Ukulele Adventure, from Avignon to the Carmargue, April 25 – May 2.
Grab your ‘ukulele and join us in Provence, April 25 – May 2, 2020!
Recent cancellations have opened up two cabins (four people!) on our upcoming Uke-Bike-Barge trip from the lovely walled-city of Avignon, to the wild rugged coast of the Mediterranean at Carmague.
And, the best part is you don’t even have to ride a bike (or play the ‘ukulele) to have a smashing time, have a little private one-on-one with our ukulele maestro, enjoy a little music, get a little exercise, enjoy some amazing meals, see arts of Provence that few visitors do, watch the world go by, and make long-lasting, new friends.
From Papal Palaces to Pink Flamingos and a little Van Gogh in between, this is a spectacular journey in mystical Provence, from Avignon to Aigues Mortes, through some of the most beautiful countryside in all of France. Days of scenic and leisurely cycling will be followed by afternoons and evenings of ukulele instruction and fun, with a professional and renowned ‘ukulele “facilitator.”
And if cycling is not your thing, or you want to take a day off, the wonderful crew of the Caprice is ready and able to accommodate most every contingency. Should it be too warm, for example, we can get an earlier start and stop a little sooner. If the day’s ride seems a tad too long, we can knock off a few kilometers to shorten the ride, without missing the best part. And if you or your companion decide not to ride at all one day…or even more days…you can stay on board and see the sights from the deck as the barge moves along the river while strumming your ‘ukulele. (You might even convince our ‘ukulele maestro to stay on board and give you a private lesson!) And depending on where we are, the crew might also be able to organize a special shore-based excursion for you.
Most importantly, we will have the entire barge Caprice to ourselves, which is absolutely the key to ‘ukulele happiness since we really are “all in the same boat.” So, if you’re looking for an active vacation you can take with your ukulele in an exquisite part of the world, eat some wonderful food, and make some new friends at the same time, this could be the trip for you. Or, if you just want to float down a beautiful river and watch the world go by.
Here’s a little sprinkling of what’s in store:
We’ll be starting in the ancient walled town of Avignon, a thriving, busy town that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (I scouted this area last year and will, most likely, organize a few optional extra days here to make sure we don’t miss a thing!)
Then after daily bike rides through delightful Provençal villages, vineyards, fields of sunflowers, and the landscapes that were so dear to Vincent Van Gogh, we end our tour in Aigues Mortes, a completely walled town that has changed little in appearance since its glory during the Middle Ages…but not without a visit first to the Carmargue and its black bulls, white horses, and pink flamingos. And after each day of busy riding (or just enjoying the journey on the barge), we can retire to the lovely sundeck, ukes in hand, for a lesson with our ‘ukulele facilitator, a sing-along, or both. (You can view the full itinerary here.)
The total cost is $3,998US per couple in a double cabin; $2050US per person in a shared twin cabin; and $2549US for a single. The price includes seven nights aboard the barge and most meals, a bicycle guide, one ukulele facilitator, and a multitude of opportunities for formal and informal ukulele instructions and loads of play-a-longs. (we’ll be announcing who our ukulele “facilitator” is in the coming weeks.)