Our illustrious members

These are our illustrious leaders:

Ralph Shaw

Picture of Ralph ShawRalph Shaw divides his time between recording music CDs, making DVDs (on how to play the ukulele), songwriting and live performance and is well known as Vancouver’s King of the Ukulele! Products of his teaching time include 3 best-selling Ukulele DVDs: The Complete Ukulele Course (on DVD, VHS or CD-Rom!) (2003), The Complete Ukulele Course for Kids (2004) and the DVD Essential Strums for the Ukulele (2005). The DVDs are distributed to stores all over the USA, Canada and Europe.

Also in 2004 Ralph was invited to Pennsylvania for the induction of George Formby into the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. As North America’s leading exponent of Formby’s music Ralph was asked to perform a set of George Formby songs. Ralph has since recorded an album of his favourite Formby material titled: By George! – a Collection of Songs Popularized by the Great George Formby (released Jan 2006) Ralph Shaw CDs & purchase info. Ralph has a weekly newsletter called The Ukulele Entertainer: Powerful Pointers to Perk up your Playing. You can subscribe at http://www.ralphshaw.ca/Free_Newsletter .
Read more at http://www.ralphshaw.ca
You can contact Ralph at ralphshawmusic@gmail.com

Tom Saunders

Tom Saunders has played music for most of his life, performing in bands, and writing music for theatre and television, including CTV’s “Robson Arms” and “Alice, I Think.” He is also the author of a Chocolate Lily Award-winning children’s book, “I Want to Go to the Moon.”

Tom bought a ukulele about a dozen years ago, after seeing Ralph Shaw performing near his home in White Rock, and soon began attending the Vancouver Ukulele Circle. A regular at “Performance Time,” he has also filled in for Ralph Shaw as group leader during Ralph’s necessary absences.

While Ralph has left shoes too large to fill, Tom pledges to keep the music and good times rolling – with more than a little help from his friends – in the joyful, communal experience of singing and plunking along on “the most fun you can have on four tiny strings.”

And here are some of our illustrious members:

 Allison Berry

Allison BerryAllison Berry has a Bachelor of Education with specialties in theatre and choral music.  She has been teaching adult singing students since 1995 and adult beginner dance classes since 2000 (tap, ballroom, latin & swing). All of her classes and lessons are aimed at having fun while she still encourages her students to improve their skills.  She has had great success teaching students who claim they cannot sing.  Allison has been performing as a soloist since 2004 – singing and playing the piano and the ukelele (not at the same time!) at retirement homes and farmers markets.  She also sings with her own carolling company with trios hired out to entertain at a variety of holiday events.

You can follow all of Allison’s classes, lessons and performances on her website,berryentertaining.com and/or on facebook – also at Berry Entertaining. You can contact Allison at sing.dance.now@gmail.com or songndancegal2000@gmail.com.

 Andrew Smith – Vancouver Live Sound

Andy Smith

Illustrious Members

Andrew Smith played at Vanukes for many years with his 6 string axe and is known for playing Jazz guitar with vintage Jazz band Black Gardenia. He now plays his own style of Ukulele in Vancouver’s  Ruby & Smith Ukulele Duo!

 Andrew is an audio engineer at Vancouver Live Sound,
a stage manager around town, and Ukulele teacher at
Ruby’s Ukes Ukulele School.

 Andrew is also a Luthier, and is recommended by Mya Moe to repair and maintain The Langley Ensemble Ukuleles.  He has a workshop at the Ruby’s Ukes School downtown where he is available to repair, restore and modify Ukuleles ~ specializing in fine repairs, fitting buttons, and installing pick-ups. You are welcome to call him or email for a Ukulele appointment. andrewjamesmith@gmail.com 604 782 1435.

 Daphne Roubini (otherwise known as “Ruby”)

Daphne Roubini

Daphne was a shy Jazz singer in London, England before she moved to Vancouver, once she met the Ukulele that shyness disappeared, and she has sung, with her Vintage Jazz band Black Gardenia on countless stages including the Vancouver Jazz Festival, and with her Ukulele Duo Ruby & Smith on many stages, notably at The Winnipeg Folk Festival.

So inspired by this emotional musical liberation Daphne set up Ruby’s Ukes, the Ukulele haven for the hip (and un-hip!) Ukester.  Daphne wanted to learn in a group so she set up the school in September 2009, which now offers four levels of courses, 3 times a year  ~ January, April & September, as well as two-hour “Uke Can” Workshop Series throughout the year. In 2015 she founded Ruby’s (70 piece) Ukulele Orchestra. Daphne is also the founder and organizer of the Vancouver Ukulele Festival.

 Gary Cyr

Gary CyrGary Cyr has worked professionally as a musician and singer but has spent the greater part of life as an amateur. Married with two grown children and one grandson, he recently retired in January 2011 and is devoting more of his time to his greatest passion, the ukulele.

Gary teaches ukulele both privately and to groups.

Gary has successfully helped to launch and lead a new Ukulele Circle in South Surrey / White Rock which meets the last Saturday of every month at 2:00 – 4:00 at Semiahmoo House, 15306 – 24th Ave in Surrey.   You can contact Gary at garycyr@telus.net . Here’s an article in the Surrey Leaderabout Gary’s Surrey group.

  Guido Heistek

Guido HeistekGuido Heistek holds a B.F.A. Music from Concordia University and is a CANSTAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. He has fifteen years experience teaching, performing and recording. He presently makes his home in Vancouver where he performs regularly and maintains an active teaching practice in Music and the Alexander Technique.

Music Lessons: (Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica)
http://www.musiclessonsvancouver.com
Alexander Technique:
http://www.vancouveralexandertechnique.com
Original Music:
http://www.nickyneedle.com

 Ronin Wong

Ronin WongRonin teaches music: ukulele, singing, piano, and guitar. His students receive a top-notch education which covers a broad range of repertoire and styles. Every aspect of music is covered including technique, theory, improvisation, performance, and composition. Recently, Ronin has started to offer ukulele lessons via Skype and is starting to teach students from all across North America.  To find out more, see http://www.gopherp.com/MusicLessons.htm, or email him at ronin@gopherp.com.
Aside from teaching, Ronin is obsessed with making Youtube music videos.  He has put out over 50 videos, most of which feature the ukulele.  Ronin’s most ambitious project was a 43-person international collaborative music video:  a ukulele-infused cover of “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=272HvdsI8jQ.   Recently, his videos have been honored with 6 Nominations, including Video of the Year, from the Ukulele Underground.
You can find the rest of his videos on his Youtube channel:  http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicMonsterW?feature=mhum or on his Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ronin-Wong/210508260522
In addition, Ronin has acted in a number of stage, film, and TV productions.  A partial list of credits can be found on imdb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0740104/.

Ruth Raymond

Ruth RaymondRuth has been a journalist, waitress, long-haul truck driver, waterbed store owner, and an accompanist at a ballet school. Now semi-retired, she bakes pies, posts daily photographs to Flickr, edits a quarterly magazine for a client in Norway, and attends twice-weekly Spanish conversation groups.
She grew up on an island lighthouse, learned her first keyboard skills on an antique pump organ, and bought her first ukulele 10 years ago when a shopkeeper demonstrated it by playing Stairway to Heaven. Her husband Fred plays washboard for the Cast Iron Potty Band, which does a gig every five years or so, since the members are scattered across the country.
Most recent musical purchase: Irish tin flute
Current goal: participate in Performance Time at the Vancouver Ukulele Circle at least once in 2017
Biggest regret: not buying the Alpenhorn I once saw in a little Seattle music store
Favourite book: “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins
Random fact: Huey Lewis once kissed her hand.

Sarah Ellis

In an ideal world Sarah Ellis would spend all her time playing the ukulele and would finally master bar chords. In the meantime, she writes books for children and young adults to finance her various hobbies.

In the latest novel, Odd Man Out, (Groundwood Books, 2006) there is one reference to the uke. Keen-eyed readers may be eligible for a lavish prize if they find it.

E-visit her at www.sarahellis.ca

Wendy Cutler

Wendy credits herself with bringing the ukulele to Scandinavian folk dance music, which she plays, along with bass and guitar, in a group called Gammel Dansk. She would also bring the uke to Greek folk dance music, but her Musiki Parea band mates won’t let her.

Wendy is the maintainer of this website and of the yahoogroup email list. If you’d like to be notified of our group’s activities, or have comments about the website, you can contact her at vanukes@vcn.bc.ca.