The Pop-Up Ukestra

....... is a group learning approach to playing popular music on the ukulele in a fun, social setting! Ukestra makes sounding great on the Ukulele easy from the beginning, while developing skills and confidence in both singing and playing. Ukestra Music is arranged in differentiated parts to suit all players from beginners to advanced, enabling everyone to play a part with ease.



The Pop-Up Ukestra is an experience of Community Music making involving intensive learning on the Ukulele over a short period of time. Embedded in the execution of 2 -3 songs, we cover: 
                                            Melody ~ notes, scales, riffs, solos & chord melody                                             Rhythm ~ counting, timing, speed, strum and plucking
Singing ~ warmup techniques, chorus and lead singing
Tone ~ clarity and projection, use of thumb and consistency
Best Practice Learning ~ embedding song structure, memorise lyrics & good practice
Ensemble playing - dynamics, tempo changes, following a conductor and performing tips

 For more info on getting a Pop-Up Ukestra in your community, please read on....

So....What is a Pop-Up Ukestra?

The Pop-Up Ukestra is a Ukulele Orchestra made up of the people in your town! So many people have a ukulele these days or are interested in giving it a try, everyone has a voice and who knows what other musical talents lie hidden.  Ukestra is an engaging Community Activity for your next regional Event/Festival  and can involve many different social/leisure groups, including senior citizens, schools & kindy’s, choirs, instrumental & uke groups, all together in one co-ordinated project. The Pop-Up Ukestra  bridges differences of age, ethnicity & skill level and offers something quite unique yet accessible to a wider demographic, promoting linkages & relationships between social groups. The Pop-Up Ukestra also provides an entertaining Performance piece for your next Community Event. 

How Does it Work?

From 2018, Anu Grace Music will be mobile and ready to come to your town 3-4 days before an event. Word has already gone out through radio & newspaper interviews, local street banners, contacts made to schools, senior citizen groups, your local choir or you may already have a uke group, inviting all to participate regardless of previous musical experience. We can supply a limited number of ukes for those newbies. People just may want to sing, play percussion or just watch, which is all fine.

We plan for 3  -4 public rehearsals preferably in open civic spaces so others can watch and be encouraged to join in. Our aim is to have fun learning 2 - 3 popular & relevant songs to a public performance goal. For a few days, the Pop-up Ukestra brings your community together to rehearse, build new musical skills, sing, perform and get together socially in  new ways..... and it’s great fun for all age groups!

How is this possible?

 The music is arranged into parts of varying skill levels ~ beginners with a one chord strum ~ intermediate with simple chords  & riffs ~ advanced players, solos & advanced riffs. All ages from 8 - 88 are encouraged and there are parts for lead singers and other instrumental soloists as well. Everyone gets a folder of the music and together we work through the basic plucking, strumming chords, chorus lines in view or a polished conducted final performance.  Immersive learning is embedded in the practice sessions and people are offered scaffolding for practicing at home along with on-line practice sound files. Private coaching sessions in uke or singing are also available for the duration.

So how does it Sound?

Surprisingly good! The performance is not supposed to be perfect as Community music is a ‘give it a go’ scenario. Saying that, the performances always do sound good because  there is nothing like a performance goal to motivate practice. Besides, only the better players are amped including a Uke Bass and good lead singers, so the audience effect is enhanced and it becomes an entertaining, even infectious event. Performances can be held at a Festival finale or the local market, pub or community hall.

Fun safe environment

The Pop-Up Ukestra offers ‘safety in numbers’ for those that just want to have a go. Music and performance is often intimidating for people which we well understand and make the process as reassuring as possible with lots of repetition and clear learning scaffolding. The core idea behind the Pop-Up Ukestra is about 'everyone' being able to connect with music in the body, with ourselves and each other, participating and trying something new and having fun & socializing.

Who facilitates it?

Anu Grace is a fully accredited James Hill Ukulele Teacher and has taught Uke in NZ and Australian schools and community groups for over 15 years. She has been a professional musician for over 30 years, most recently with Jazz band Chocolate Fish in NZ, her original 5 piece band Halelujah Baby in TSV and currently her Folk /Jazz duo called LUX NOMAD with Laurie Bycroft.  Anu writes much of the material and currently specialises in writing historical songs about the people she meets when travelling. Together they have recorded 3 albums and are travelling Outback /regional Australia/NZ, spreading the joy of uke and community music making.

So how do I get this to happen at my Event Festival or gathering?

Contact Anu Grace through the website with plenty of lead-up time before your event as there is a lot of planning involved. Together we can come up with a suitable plan, budget, choice of music & performance venue etc. You can also text Anu on 045858 6648 or phone the landline on 07 4721 3462 in Australia.
RADF and Pulse grants like to fund this kind of community access activity as well.

Ukestra Participants

Townsville Pop-Up Ukestra ready to perform!

Kids Ukestra

Kids love Ukes. We can bring a Ukestra to your school which is educational and fun. We enjoy teaching kids the happiness of Ukulele. 

Ukestra Crowd

Ukestras are entertaining and make for great audience participation!

Here’s what people have said about Pop-Up Ukestra’s held in Townsville & Charters Towers:

Clarrissa with ukes

Dragon Uke Show

Clarissa the Cheshire Cat & Ralph the very naughty dog will entertain kids with favourite stories and songs and even get them strumming along to their favourite nursery rhymes.


~ New Zealand ~
The Re-Connect Tour 2018

Lux Nomad & DragonUke Show are touring NZ from Jan- March 2018. The Re-Connect Tour will be revisiting places & people we met last year and sharing new songs and stories written about them! Look at our 'Whats on' page and subscribe to our newsletter for tour dates and locations.


Group Uke Lessons

Anu Grace Music is interfacing James Hill's 'The Ukulele Way' Course, to make it available for Distance Education groups in a full yearly schedule as well as one-off creative activities for Cluster meets and Outreach events.

Anu and uke Ecofiesta

Community Ukestra

Make an enquiry on our Contacts page below to enquire about having The Pop-Up Ukestra come to your town.