We have amazing instructors for you this year (again!). Meet them here.
Jim & Liz Beloff
Finding a ukulele at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market in 1992 inspired Liz and Jim Beloff to start Flea Market Music, Inc., publisher of the popular Jumpin’ Jim’sseries of ukulele songbooks. This series is sold worldwide and includes The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs For Better Livingand The Daily Ukulele: Leap Year Edition, two of the biggest and best-selling ukulele songbooks ever published.
Jim Beloff is the author of The Ukulele—A Visual History(Backbeat Books), producer of Legends of Ukulele, a CD compilation for Rhino Records and has made three how-to-play DVDs for Homespun Tapes. Jim is also an active songwriter. His 2014 two-CD set, Dreams I Left In Pockets, features 33 songs he wrote or co-wrote with uke legends Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta and Lyle Ritz.
In 1999, Jim composed and premiered “Uke Can’t Be Serious,” a concerto for solo ukulele and symphony orchestra. Since then the piece has been performed many times, most recently in 2016 with the Choate School orchestra in Germany and Austria and also with the Michigan Philharmonic.
Liz Maihock Beloff, with a background in film and television graphics, designs the covers and art-directs all of FMM’s songbooks, CDs and DVDs. She is also a talented singer who, before teaming up with Jim, sang with a cappellagroups in college and New York City.
As performers, Liz and Jim have become known for their breezy, close harmonies on standards and Jim’s original songs. Theyperform together regularly throughout the USA, playing their family-made Fluke, Fleaand Fireflyukuleles. They have also toured Japan, Australia and Canada and believe in their company’s motto, “Uke Can Change the World.” www.fleamarketmusic.com and facebook.com/jimbeloffmusic.
Fred & Lynn Sokolow
Fred Sokolow is best known as the author of over a hundred and fifty instructional books and DVDs for ukulele, guitar, banjo, Dobro, mandolin and lap steel, that are sold all over the world. Fred has long been a well-known West Coast multi-string performer and recording artist, particularly on the acoustic music scene. He has led bluegrass, jazz and rock bands and has been sideman for musical luminaries like Bobbie Gentry, Jim Stafford, Tom Paxton, Jody Stecher, The Limiters, Jerry Garcia and Ian Whitcomb. He has also played in many TV and movie soundtracks and in commercials and “other people’s recordings” too numerous to list. The diverse musical genres covered in his books and
DVDs, along with several bluegrass, jazz and rock CDs he has released, demonstrate his mastery of many musical styles. Whether he’s playing Delta bottleneck blues, bluegrass or old-time banjo, ’30s swing guitar or screaming rock solos, he does it with authenticity and passion.
Fred’s “Fretboard Roadmaps” series is an international best-seller. He has taught at many uke retreats and festivals as well as the National Guitar Workshop, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, and Pete Wernick’s banjo camps. Fred continues to perform and create instructional material, and is regarded as an authority on many musical genres, particularly what is now called “Americana.”
Gerald Ross is comfortable with just about every type of “roots” music there is, from western swing, bluegrass, Hawaiian, blues, jug band music, jazz standards, Tin Pan Alley, New Orleans rhythms to boogie-woogie, and he plays it all on guitar, lap steel, Dobro and ukulele.
He’s performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee and many others. Gerald won the Solo Artist Category of the 1993 WEMU Jazz Competition and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
These days, Gerald is one of America’s best-known performers, entertainers and advocates for the ukulele. He’s released six ukulele CDs, published instructional materials, and is very much in demand as a music festival instructor.
Sage Harrington is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She cultivates an upbeat and supportive atmosphere where students of all ages can learn essential technique and build performance skills. Sage teaches private music lessons with multiple focuses including songwriting: anything that can be said out loud can be said as well or even better in a song. She’s helped many adults and kiddos get started on their songwriting journeys.
The ukulele is her main squeeze—it’s a joy to play and fun to learn. As a singer-songwriter, it’s lovey to strum simple chords and sing along but she is also intrigued by more complex chord/melody arrangements and explores the ukulele as a solo featured instrument.
She’s been teaching since 2012 and has learned how to present music in a way that is fun, challenging, and rewarding to both grown-ups and kids alike. We keep up a brisk pace of learning to keep things interesting and slow it down when the time is right for some real polishing.
Craig is a professional musician (bass, guitar, ukulele, and tuba) and instructor with over 30 years’ experience. He studied bass at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles and has a BA in Music from the University of New Mexico and a MA in Humanities from California State University-Dominguez Hills. In addition to teaching and theatre work, Craig can be seen around the country in such diverse musical ensembles as the Vespus Marimba Band, Sukey Jump Band, Crossing 32nd Street, Links Ensemble, The Gazebo Guys, and America’s only heavy-metal vaudeville troupe, Skumbaag. In 2012, Skumbaag was chosen as Ensemble in Residence for the University of New Mexico International Composers Symposium, featuring a wide range of his music, including selections from his original musical, The Lubbock Lights.
Five years ago, Craig’s music director at a theatre company with which he was working inquired if Craig could add some ukulele to the orchestra, reigniting a passion for the diminutive instrument. He now does workshops all over the country from Wisconsin to California and all points in between. When Craig is not sharing his love of ukulele he most enjoys being at home with his family in the beauty of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Judy Muldawer enjoys learning and performing songs on the ukulele that were popular during the Tin Pan Alley era,
She currently performs, with her husband Michael on guitar, as a duet. The Muldawer duo won the prestigious SW Pickers “Entertainer Duo of the Year” award in 2015, and Judy was honored by being named runner up in the national “Save the Old Songs Contest” for her Youtube performance of a 1915 song. The Muldawers recently released a CD of 24 Tin Pan Alley Tunes, “Back in Time.”
Judy’s journey into ukulele playing began when she realized that her first instrument, the five string banjo, played clawhammer style, did not gel with her belting out songs from the twenties. The purchase and playing of a ukulele has resulted not only in her learning songs, but sharing them with others at the banjojudy.com web site.
The Muldawers are responsible for beginning the ABQ Library Foundation Lending Ukulele Library in 2017, and are proud that three libraries are currently lending ukuleles out to those who want to learn, but might not be ready to buy.