Portland Ovations Presents Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at Merrill Auditorium Tonight

Portland Ovations brings the all-singing, all-strumming Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain to Merrill Auditorium tonight, November 8 at 8pm.

Believing that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the ukulele the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain formed in 1985 as a bit of fun, but the first gig was an instant sell-out, and they've been performing ever since. By 1988 they had released an LP, appeared on BBC TV, played at WOMAD and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session. The current ensemble has been playing together for over 20 years, and has become something of a British institution. The Orchestra has given thousands of sold-out concerts across the world, most recently at the Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall and New York's Carnegie Hall. Their concerts are a funny, virtuosic, twanging, foot-stomping obituary of rock-n-roll and melodious pop songs featuring only the "bonsai guitar" and a menagerie of voices. There are no drums, pianos, backing tracks or banjos, no pitch shifters or electronic trickery, only the rich palette of orchestration afforded by ukuleles and singing (and a bit of whistling). The Orchestra takes audiences from Tchaikovsky to Nirvana via Otis Redding, the Talking Heads and Spaghetti Western soundtracks using the many possibilities of the instrument to reveal unsuspected musical delights. The Orchestra demonstrates how sometimes a foolish song can touch an audience more than high art and how music which takes itself too seriously is revealed to be hilarious. One may never think about music in the same way once exposed to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

One hour prior to the performance at 7pm in the Green Room at Merrill Auditorium, Ovations Offstage offers a pre-performance lecture, Building and Playing Ukuleles: A History where Joel Eckhaus, a Maine musician, teacher, and instrument builder/designer will discuss the history and construction of the ukulele, as well as provide examples of different ukuleles, various parts, and tools for a hands-on experience.

Tickets for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain range from $32 to $38 for Ovations' Members and $35 to $42 for the general public. The Maine Arts Commission and Maine Humanities Council provide support for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's performance. To purchase tickets, visit www.portlandovations.org contact PortTIX at207-842-0800 or walk up to the box office window at Merrill Auditorium.

About Portland Ovations

Each year since 1931, Portland Ovations brings a dynamic season of exceptional performing artists from around the world to Maine including classical music, jazz, opera, dance, theater, and Broadway national tours. In addition to live performances, Ovations brings the exhilaration of the performing arts out into our community with season-long educational and outreach activities known as Ovations Offstage. A Maine-based non-profit, Portland Ovations contributes to the cultural, social and economic well-being of our community by presenting an array of high quality performing artists from around the world and creating diverse educational experiences that bring the enjoyment, energy and enrichment of the arts to all.

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