Earlier this month, I had the tough choice of picking 4 winners for my Play It Forward Video contest. Now that they’ve all received their prizes, I asked them to send me a picture and some info about themselves. I thought it would be fun to share with everyone else, so here goes…
Dominator began playing the ukulele after visiting the island of Kaua’i in 1999, where he discovered the “joy of such an unassuming instrument.” Returning home to Northern California, he put his musical background to work, puzzling out how to capture the joy and nuances of the songs he’d heard on his trip. The results of his efforts are posted on his website, which features a myriad of Dominator-created tabs and transcriptions from a treasury of ukulele artists. Dominator’s enthusiasm for the ukulele—as well as his generosity in sharing his wealth of knowledge—has touched the hearts of hundreds of ukulele players around the world. His detailed tabs, transcriptions and now, YouTube video lessons, guide “new” and “old” ukulele musicians to become better players, one song at a time.
Winning entry – Triplet Rasgueado, Scratch, and Fandango
“As for my day job, I’m a Senior Energy Transactions Analyst for the City of Riverside, CA. It’s a long title for someone that analyzes wholesale energy purchases and sales for the municipal utility. In other words, I look at numbers all day! Playing ukulele is a wonderful reprieve from the daily grind and easily puts my mind at ease on any occasion. I love that unless you live in Hawaii, the ukulele is somewhat of an abnormal instrument to play. I know that I’m just one of millions of people to have played ukulele, but I still feel unique when I perform with it and it still garners a great amount of interest from fellow musicians.”
“I’m a post-grad researcher in a composites lab at UC Davis. I first played the ukulele about a year and a half ago. My girlfriend had one laying around and I thought it was a neat ‘toy’ to play around with in my spare time so I borrowed it for a while. Little did I know that this would lead to an obsession that not only led me to discover that the ukulele is much more than a toy, but that it’s also a great break from lab-oriented technical work. I played her uke so much and so poorly that my house-mates probably got sick of it for a while. Youtube was instrumental in getting me inspired to play, as well as teaching me how to play. Somehow, I gained enough confidence through books and internet tutorials to start posting my
own ukulele videos on Youtube. After browsing through probably hundreds of youtube ukulele videos, I noticed a link to your site and your ukulele contest. The rest is history, and I hope I can provide more videos and tutorials to add to the ukulele community.”
Winning Entry – Ukulele Hawaiian Style
“When I was in high school I started playing the guitar. As a college student I went to school in Hawaii, and took a ukulele class. I was hooked. I love the ukulele! It is just the right size to hold and carry around. I am an elementary school music teacher and I use the ukulele a lot. I can keep better eye contact with the students than sitting at the piano. I also use it with our family when we go Christmas Caroling or sing around the campfire… it’s alot easier to carry than the guitar.”
“I have taught several ukulele classes to teachers in my school district, and I teach the ukulele to all my students in grades 3, 4, 5 and 6. Right now I’m doing a ukulele accompaniment on two songs in my 4th grade “Salute to Arizona” music program, and I have 9 students in my school choir playing the ukulele to accompany the choir on one song….”Humuhumunukunukuapuaa” from “High School Musical 2”. Sometimes my husband and I play in a Hawaiian band for luaus along with a couple of ukulele friends. One who is a native Hawaiian, and one who plays with a six string tenor Kamaka ukulele. It is really fun.
I’m definately not an expert like some of the other ukulele players that were in the contest! I feel honored to be even remotely counted among them. I am excited about my new ukulele and want to thank you for the ‘forward thinking’!”