The Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra founded in late 2013 by third generation Hawaiian Sheila Martin finally had a chance after two previous dates were rained out to perform. On Thursday evening the orchestra entertained an appreciative group of fans at Way Park as the final act in the Custer City and Custer Area Arts Council 2016 Summer Music Series. The Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra performs music from the 17 century to current pop and is scheduled to perform at the Southern Hills Music and Arts Festival next weekend August 26-27, 02016.
Current members of The Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra:
Emma Lee Holllick
The 31st Annual Hills Alive Festival in Memorial Park in Rapid City was a hub of activity when I arrives at 5:00 pm saturday afternoon. Finding parking was difficult, but that was a good thing for the event. At 5:20, a light rain started falling and the event safety crew cancelled all live shows on both stages. Those that could, found shelter. Around 5:30, a strong wind whipped through the festival grounds upsetting tents and blowing over displays. God’s wrath, hardly, just the usual South Dakota Black Hills weather. I left the event at 6:00 pm and the weather started to brighten as more people arrived for the evenings entertainment. The event offered a chance to connect to a christian faith through prayer and community with a prayer tent where people will pray with you, or just take your time for quiet reflection. For the second year in a row a Water Baptism was offered in Memorial Lake.
Custer, SD July 12, 2016 – Arriving late at 6:15 pm Tuesday evening for the Summer Music in Way Park, meant I had missed the opening set of JimmyRay’s Wild Cats. The following 45 minutes made up for what I had missed earlier. This is a trio consisting of Jimmy Fechner on lead guitar, Mary Fechner on bass and Mark Mowry on drums. Playing jazz and blues at a comfort level that appealed to everyone, the group went into a few extra songs to satisfy the appreciative crowd. The group will perform in Way Park again on Thursday August 4th at Way Park starting at 6:00 pm.
Following JimmyRay’s Wild Cats was singer songwriter Steve Thorpe, a deceptive looking package that came alive once in front of a microphone. Steve said , “I like to write everything I sing, so there are no complications when I play my music”.( The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, (ASCAP), requires that a licensing fee is paid on every song that is played in a commercial venue.)
Steve Thorpe really woke me up when he started singing, and had me wondering why he has never been discovered by a record label. This guy has it all, playing on key with a steady tempo and strong unwavering voice, almost effortless. Most lyrics were about the black hills and life experiences sung in a matter of fact story line. Steve gives a solid performance that is from the heart and completely honest. Steve writes his own lyrics and music and will perform again, Tuesday, August 2nd at Way Park in Custer.
Thursday, July 14th Van and Rose Arp along with the Ramblin’ Rangers will perform at Way Park starting at 6:00 pm.
Contact: Custer Area Arts Council