mike-jacksons-uke-n-play-ukulele

Heartstring Group

WHAT IS “HEARTSTRINGS”

Heartstrings is an Partnership between two Ukulele Clubs, the Whitsunday Uke-aholics, and the Townsville Ukulele Club.

Mike Jackson of Uke Can Play Ukulele Music, and the Kala Ukulele Company via Jacaranda Music in Adelaide has also become Partners with a donation of 36 ukuleles and assistance in arranging the logistics of transporting the ukes.

C&R Consulting Geochemical and Hydrobiological Solutions Pty Ltd of Townsville has also joined the Partnership by providing funding towards the shipping of the ukuleles to Fiji, The Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort has provided assistance in accommodation deals, logistics and storage, and also the use of their Customs Agents in Fiji, Williams and Gosling, who have provided great assistance with importing the ukuleles into Fiji.

Escape Travel in Townsville have provided information and booking services for our flights internally in Australia and to Fiji.

The Heartstrings Project would not have existed without all these wonderful Partners.

We are dedicated to sparking children’s interest and love of music through hands-on discovery while playing the ukulele and singing.

Phase 1 of Heartstrings aims at providing Ukuleles and support materials to schools in Fiji where young children, their parents, and the schools would never have the chance of purchasing an instrument due to their economic status.

mike-jacksons-uke-n-play-ukulele

How it all Started ?

It all started when we picked up our good friends, Wayne and Jan (Bilo Bar Club Members) from the Townsville Ukulele Club from Brisbane Airport on their recent return from their annual trip to Fiji. We were in the car heading to the Sunshine Coast when Wayne said that we will have to find a music shop to buy a new ukulele as he was temporarily ‘uke-less’.

What happened to Wayne’s uke? Well, it’s like this. Whilst in Fiji a local man that they knew was playing his ukulele at a get together. Wayne and Jan noticed that the uke had only three strings, a broken tuning nut and a crack through the body. Of course being Fijian, he still made it sound good, even with the damage. Cutting a long story short, before leaving Fiji, Wayne gave his uke to the bloke who promptly burst into tears at Wayne’s generosity. There-in lies a story. These wonderful people cannot just go and buy another uke like we can, they don’t have the money. No wonder he was happy when Wayne handed over his.

A day or so after this, we were sitting around talking about ukes, kids, music etc when I thought “Hey, why don’t we try to raise some money through our respective ukulele clubs and buy ukuleles to give to the kids at the local Fijian school? That’s where the idea formed.

So, there it was in all it’s naive infancy. We knew it wasn’t going to be all that easy. We would have to look at what cost we can get them for, who will supply them, how we transport them, how we make sure the kids get them, customs, local sensitivities, music books etc, etc, etc. It will take time but, hey, Fiji ain’t going anywhere soon!!

I figured that, even without fundraising, most members would pay for at least one uke, I reckon we could have a dozen from our little club in the blink of an eye. Now imagine teaming up with another club (or two, or three or more), we could probably get dozens and dozens. Now let’s imagine further if we could get some sponsorship from businesses and companies, form partnerships with other organizations, and then some discounts on bulk boxes of ukes from music shops, suppliers etc, cheap or free transportation from a friendly airline, and then …. Well, you get my drift. There it is in a nutshell.

School Visit

During this trip to Fiji we were going to distribute ukulele’s to 5 school in the Nadroga/Navosa Province. The schools targeted were :

  • Cuvu District School
  • Naidovi Primary School
  • Nadroga Sangam Primary School
  • Tuva Primary School
  • Ramtullah Khan Memorial School

The groups have already bought 120 ukuleles to be distributed to this schools. Photos from the school visit can be found in the photo gallery.

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