We have amazing instructors for you this year (again!). Meet them here.
Originally from Redondo Beach, California, Dennis has been an avid drummer since a teenager and only recently transitioned to a cajon (box-drum) when BEAT-LELE was born in 2015. He performed with various bands in the L.A. area before relocating to Hawaii in 1996. In Hawaii he performed with several groups including a 12 piece African marimba band which is where he first met Alastar McNeil, who would later join forces with Day In the Life, the Beatles tribute band that preceeded BEAT-LELE. In 2008 Dennis met Nolet Quiason at a church function and both realized they shared a similar love for The Beatles and sought to form a Beatles Tribute group. After tapping Alastar to perform as “George”, Nolet then reached out to his old friend from the Philippines, Sonny Aquino, to perform as “John”.
Day In the Life re-grouped as BEAT-LELE in 2015, donned ukuleles for the first time and decided to take things to the next level by recording their debut album. Dennis lives in Kailua on the island of Oahu and authored a Beatles inspired autobiographical conversion story titled, “Mother Mary Comes To Me, Words of Wisdom From Medjugorje”.
Alastar was raised on the island of Oahu in Hawaii where he was surrounded by music and musicians. First picking up the guitar at around 10 he began teaching himself and learning from friends. As he was exposed to the music of bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and, of course, the Beatles, his passion grew stronger until he realized that it was his destiny to play guitar. Later, in his 20’s he began building ukuleles with Kanile’a and the passion for playing was renewed with the love for ukulele. It was extremely fortuitous when he was asked to join the group that eventually became BEAT-LELE. His love for the Beatles and ukulele has provided him an opportunity to express himself in a unique and challenging way. He has since become a touring member of RAIN and found incredible satisfaction in diving into the seemingly endless world of the Beatles catalogue and perfecting as well as reinventing the music that has revolutionized the world.
MANOLO “NOLET” QUIASON
Nolet was born and raised in Manila and learned to play the guitar at around age 7. After having watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan television show in February 1964, he avidly followed their music, listening to album after album as they were released; learning and absorbing the melodies, harmonies and chords. He also developed a strong inclination to sing and to play the bass, due mainly to the influence of Paul McCartney’s vocal style and inventive lines. Eventually, Nolet expanded his musical interests and delved into folk, rock, soul, jazz and religious genres but has always had the Beatles as his bedrock.
In 2009, he and Dennis met and formed a Beatles Band. They covered the roles of “Paul” and “Ringo” and called on their friends Sonny and Alastar to fill in the parts of “John” and “George”. As “Day In The Life”, they performed around Honolulu for about 3 years before going into a hiatus in 2012.
It was during this period that Nolet discovered the fun of performing Beatles tunes by accompanying himself only on the ukulele. To test out the viability of this newfound approach, he challenged himself in 2013 and posted 60 Beatles Ukulele Cover videos on YouTube. Fully convinced about its exciting uniqueness, he then persuaded the guys to reinvent the band by transitioning to 3 ukuleles and a cajon for percussion. And so, in 2015, BEAT-LELE, the “Fab Four on Four Strings”, was born.
Coming from a musically gifted family, Sonny was naturally drawn to music at an early age and learned to play the guitar at age 10 and over the years learned to play the piano & keyboard. In 1966 his Dad and brothers saw the Beatles when they came to the Philippines. It was magical experience and from that day on, Sonny became an avid Beatle fan. Forty years later he would see Paul McCartney in concert in San Francisco.
Growing up, Sonny played in various bands playing the music of Billy Joel, Elton John and Chicago among others. After college, he joined a very popular ensemble group called the New Minstrels as its lead guitarist. Joining the New Minstrels took Sonny throughout Asia to perform in the best clubs & hotels in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia
After Sonny relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, he still played music but his concentration was on his career and post-graduate studies. Sonny completed the formation of the pre-BEAT-LELE group, Day In the Life, and the rest is music history.
Brook Adams sings and plays guitar and ukulele. He has performed pop, soul, and rock n’ roll in bands and solo since his teens. In 2019 he is presenting his show, “Abbey Road On Ukulele” where he plays and sings the iconic album from start to finish with just ukulele. He lives in Eugene, Oregon. He co-founded and directed the Eugene Uketoberfest and the Ukulele Club Of Lane County (“Ukulaneys”). He has played in the United States, France, Mexico, and Guatemala. He has recorded 6 albums.
The Albuquerque Ukulele Festival welcomes back Andy Andrews, co-founder of the world-famous Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz and producer of the now legendary 2004 “UkeFest West” festival. After nearly a decade of leading the Santa Cruz club he relocated to Hawaii and there formed the Puna Ukulele and Kanikapila Association – aka “PUKA” – on the Big Island of Hawaii. He also created the three Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz Play-a-Long Songbooks, which are well loved and widely used by ukulele clubs and players worldwide.
Andy teaches many diverse ukulele workshops, performs at local clubs, and has led innumerable ukulele play-a-longs at festivals and uke club events. He has been a featured instructor and performer for over 15 years at ukulele festivals, including Bend Oregon’s Uke University, Tunes in the Dunes, the West Coast Ukulele Festival, the Hawai’i Island Ukulele Retreat, the New York Ukulele Festival, Michigan’s Mini Mighty Uke Day and many others.
He teaches ongoing adult ukulele and music theory classes and conducts over 30 ukulele workshops annually in Hawaii. He is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of all thing’s ukulele, his well-honed instructional skills, and most especially his inimitable and famously inclusive style of leading fun play-a-longs.
On a “strange but true” note, he owns over 200 vintage ukuleles plus an amazing assemblage of ukulele ephemera from all eras of the 140-year history of the amazing little instrument. This collection has been exhibited in several museum shows. Andy and his ukes were featured in two ukulele documentary films, “The Mighty Uke” and “Under the Boardwalk.”
Andy and his wife Pam reside on Hawai’i Island.
Jim D’Ville is a music educator and facilitator who is on a mission to get ukulele players off the paper and playing music by ear. For nearly a decade Jim has taught his Play Ukulele By Ear workshops to thousands of players in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Jim has taught and performed at major ukulele events including the Ukulele Festival of Scotland, Kerrville Folk Festival, the NAMM Show, Melbourne (Australia) Ukulele Festival, West Coast Ukulele Retreat and many others. Jim is the author of the Play Ukulele By Ear DVD series and hosts the popular Play Ukulele By Ear website (www.PlayUkuleleByEar.com). Jim is a Contributing Editor to Ukulele (magazine) and is sponsored in-part by Ukulele and the Deering Banjo Company.
“Jim’s Play Ukulele By Ear workshops are a high-energy roller coaster of learning and laughs. He is a one-of-a-kind. Buckle up!”