A ukulele player is calling for fellow musicians to pool their strumming talents to welcome a flotilla of guests to Picton.
Neil Gibbs from Picton is searching for players of all ages and abilities to join in a ukulele orchestra of around 100 people.
They are set to accompany children from schools across Marlborough who will sing to welcome the Tuia 250 Voyage Flotilla.
The Blenheim Ukulele Group (BUG) member says anyone can learn.
“There are a lot of people who have ukuleles stashed away or their grandkids might have them.
“It’s a lot easier than most people think, there are only four strings and you don’t have to have a musical background at all.
“I could teach someone how to be productive on the ukulele in an hour,” Neil says.
Accompanied by his singer wife Jessie, the pair join other members of the BUG group and play their ukuleles at rest homes around the region.
Two gigs a week keeps them “pretty busy”, Neil says.
The guitarist was inspired to start playing about 10 year ago after he watched a tribute concert to former Beatle George Harrison.
“There was a song by Joe Brown called See You in My Dreams and it was the highlight of the evening.
“I had played the guitar for years but hadn’t really devoted much time to it so went out and bought a $20 ukulele and played the song on that,” he says.
The flotilla is set to arrive in Picton on November 22 at 10am as part of the historic milestone marking 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Pākeha during James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand
Kapa haka and other community groups will join the mayor in greeting the crews from Tahiti, Aotearoa and Australia.
A 3D animation and light installation will take place that evening along the foreshore.
Neil hopes to hold three rehearsals ahead of the big day. To find out more, email Neil at [email protected]