Author: Peter Alexander

BOULDER WEEKLY: It will be ukuleles and a Broadway witch for the holidays

Ah, the holiday season. That wonderful time for your favorite carols, colored lights, egg nog and — ukuleles?

Sure enough, it’s all part of the eclectic mix of holiday music on the Boulder classical scene, featuring not only the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, but also Elphaba from the Broadway hit Wicked, alongside other events that have become part of the annual December concert schedule. The perennial best-sellers — the Nutcrackers and the CU Holiday Festival — are already behind us, but there is still plenty of music to look forward to.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) will be at Macky Auditorium Thursday (7:30 p.m. Dec. 8) as part of the CU Presents series. Known for their iconoclastic, not to say wacky, programming, the group promises to perform their usual combination of rock and pop covers, including music from Joni Mitchell and Pharrell Williams, some jazz and country songs, and classic Christmas carols.

The group’s origin is almost mythological. When he was child, founder George Hinchcliffe w sas given the choice of a model train or a ukulele. Unexpectedly, he chose the uke, and eventually banded together with other aficionados to form the eight-member singing and strumming “orchestra.”

Playing instruments known more for their association with Tiny Tim and Hawaiian ballads than whatever you might consider “serious music,” the UOGB has become popular embracing the ukulele’s light-hearted image. They mug gleefully in their publicity photos — no glamour shots for them — and even invite Boulderites to bring their own ukuleles to the concert for a sing-along, play-along session during the concert.

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