Ukuleles – Saturday September 16

Mass Appeal – Ukuleles
Location Change: Union Station
Saturday September 16
Rehearsal: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Concert: 1:30 – 2:00 pm

Ukuleles at Union Station

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The ukulele Mass Appeal has been moved to Union Station, in the rotunda. Rehearsal and performance times have not changed.

We’re very excited to bring back the ukulele Mass Appeal for 2017.  Last year, the inaugural ukulele concert was the biggest Mass Appeal event with about 85 ukes coming together at Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks to strum and sing.  And it wasn’t just Winnipeggers – people came from Thompson, Brandon and Portage la Prairie to take part and the event was broadcast on Shaw TV.  We’ve got another stellar (and all-Canadian!) lineup of folk songs that will appeal to the young and the young-at-heart, and can be played by anyone from the novice to the seasoned professional.

Once again we’re pleased to have Kate Ferris running the show. She’s been performing in one form or another since she was 5, and has been a music teacher in Thompson and a full-time performer playing shows across Canada, the US, and the UK.  She’s appeared on television and radio, been an Artist in the Schools across Manitoba, and twice been a guest storyteller with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Kate is one of Manitoba’s greatest music boosters and currently works as ukulele instructor at the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Folk School.  Find out more about her at her website,

Rehearsal for this concert will take place between 12:00 and 1:00 pm, with the concert running from 1:30 – 2:00 pm.  To participate as a player, download the songs below and practice them on your own.  If you’re a beginner, check out the resources at the bottom of this page to discover where you can find a ukulele and learn the basic chords you’ll need.  Participants are asked to bring:

– a chair
– a music stand
– sheet music
– clothes pegs to hold your music if it’s windy.

Mass Appeal Ukuleles repertoire:

Moody Manitoba Morning – Rick Neufeld (MB)
Four Strong Winds – Ian Tyson (AB)
Conchita Kowalski – Ray St. Germain (MB)
Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell (SK)
Early Morning Rain – Gordon Lightfoot (ON)
Ahead By A Century – Tragically Hip (ON)
The French Song – Lucille Starr (MB/BC)
Sonny’s Dream – Ron Hynes (NFLD)
Harvest Moon – Neal Young (MB)
Nothing Like The Freedom – Deborah Romeyn (MB)
Farmer’s Song – Murry McLaughlin (ON)
Something To Sing About – Oscar Brand (MB)
Manitoba – Stompin’ Tom Connors (NB/PEI/ON)

1. Moody Manitoba Morning  (Rick Neufeld)

Kate’s sheet music download: Moody Manitoba Morning – chords and lyrics

Kate says: Rick Neufeld was born in Boissevain. He originally studied architecture at the U of M but later decided to pursue a career in music. He played coffeehouses throughout Canada and the United States and at one point had his own CBC Television show, The Songsingers. He released a number of albums, including Hiway Child in 1971, Prairie Dog in 1975 and Manitoba Songs in 1978. He was most successful as a songwriter, and his song Moody Manitoba Morning – written for Manitoba’s Centennial – became a hit for The Bells.

2. Four Strong Winds (Ian Tyson)

Kate’s sheet music download: Four Strong Winds

Kate says: Ian Tyson wrote Four Strong Winds in the early 1960s and recorded it as half of iconic Canadian folk duo Ian and Sylvia. A significant part of the early 1960s folk revival, the song is a melancholy reflection on a failing romantic relationship. The singer expresses a desire for a possible reunion in a new place in the future but acknowledges the likelihood that the relationship is over.

3. Conchita Kowalski (Ray St. Germain)

Kate’s sheet music download: Conchita Kowalski

Kate says: Ray St. Germain is Manitoban music royalty. He started playing music and singing while growing up in St. Vital, and over the years has recorded many albums and performed all over the world. His versatile styles, including original country, gospel and Métis songs about his heritage, have made him a homegrown star of radio and television. He has worked for Global, APTN, and Treehouse, and hosted shows on CJOB, CBC, CKDM Dauphin, and NCI. He can still be heard every Saturday hosting The Métis Hour x2 on NCI. Ray was inducted to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Order of Manitoba in 2013.

4. Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)

Kate’s sheet music download: Both Sides Now

Kate says: Roberta Joan “Joni” Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in Saskatoon and across western Canada. As a busker she moved to Toronto, but in 1965 headed to the United States. Her 1971 recording Blue was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” A much more recent ranking of the 150 greatest albums made by women compiled by NPR music staff finds Blue at the very top of the list. Both Sides Now was one of Joni’s earliest songs.

5. Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)

Kate’s sheet music download: Early Morning Rain

Kate says: Orillia, Ontario’s Gordon Lightfoot has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been called Canada’s greatest songwriter and recognized internationally as a folk-rock legend. Robbie Robertson of The Band called him a national treasure. Bob Dylan named him as one of his favorite songwriters, and in an often-quoted tribute Dylan observed that when he heard a Lightfoot song he “wished it would last forever.” His song Canadian Railroad Trilogy was commissioned by the CBC for Canada’s Centennial in 1967. It and other songs like The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald have been woven into part of Canada’s musical landscape.

6. Ahead By A Century (The Tragically Hip)

Kate’s sheet music download: Ahead By A Century

Kate says: The Tragically Hip have released 14 studio albums, two live albums, one EP, and 54 singles. Nine of their albums have reached No. 1 on the Canadian charts and garnered 16 Juno Awards. Following frontman Gord Downie’s diagnosis with terminal brain cancer in 2016, the band undertook a tour of Canada in support of their thirteenth album Man Machine Poem. The final concert, in Kingston on August 20, 2016, was broadcast globally by the CBC as a cross-platform television, radio and internet streaming special. Ahead By A Century was the final song played at the concert – here’s what it looked like as people across the country sang it.

7. The French Song (Lucille Starr)

Kate’s sheet music download: The French Song

Kate says: Lucille Marie Raymonde Savoie, raised as Lucille Starr, was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba and raised in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam’s Francophone community of Maillardville, British Columbia. It was there that she learned to play guitar, bass and mandolin before pursuing a music career. At A&M Records, Starr recorded a song called The French Song that was produced by Herb Alpert, recorded in both French and English. In 1964, at a time when The Beatles dominated the music charts, The French Song was an international success that made Starr the first Canadian artist to have a record sell over a million copies.

8. Sonny’s Dream (Ron Hynes)

Kate’s sheet music download: Sonny’s Dream

Kate says: Newfoundland’s “man of a thousand songs” was especially known for this composition – Sonny’s Dream – which has been recorded worldwide by over 100 artists and was named the 41st greatest Canadian song of all time by the CBC in 2005. You can’t go anywhere on The Rock where people don’t know and love this song (and it makes me tear up every time!)

9. Harvest Moon (Neil Young)

Kate’s sheet music download: Harvest Moon – lyrics and chords

Kate says: We played this one last year, but it’s such a perfect tune, we had to do it again! Neil Young is one of the most respected and prolific rock/folk musicians of the late 20th century. Originally from Winnipeg, he first became well-known as a guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Buffalo Springfield. After the band’s breakup, Young became a solo performer. However, he has spent more than 30 years performing with the super-group Crosby Stills Nash & Young, as well as with the band Crazy Horse. He also recorded an album with the grunge band Pearl Jam in 1995. Besides his work as a musician, he has also been active in film. Young has produced and/or performed in such concert films as Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Year of the Horse (1997) and many more.

10. Nothing Like The Freedom (Deborah Romeyn)

Visit Deborah Romeyn’s website and the song will play automatically
Kate’s sheet music download: Nothin’ Like The Freedom

Kate says: I won’t lie: I think this is the quintessential prairie song! Deborah Romeyn was born in Regina, but for over 30 years has called Manitoba home. The prairie themes of her music remain, with a good dose of Interlake beauty. Her classic Nothing Like The Freedom has been performed worldwide and perhaps through the whole universe! Taken into space by Roberta Bondar, it played as the space shuttle orbited the prairies. This is another song that I’ve never been able to hear without shedding tears!

11. Farmer’s Song (Murray McLaughlin)

Kate’s sheet music download: Farmer’s Song

Kate says: Murray MacLauchlan was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada with his family when he was five years old. He grew up in suburban Toronto and at 17 he began playing at coffeehouses in Toronto’s Yorkville area. He was an art student before deciding to become a full-time musician and penning some of Canada’s most beloved folk music. Farmer’s Song is one of his best-known songs.

12. Something To Sing About (Oscar Brand)

Kate’s sheet music download: Something To Sing About

Kate says: Oscar Brand was born in Winnipeg but made his mark in the USA. In 1945 he began what became the oldest continuous radio show in history, the award-winning Folk-song Festival on New York Public Radio. He was the Curator of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, author of seven best-selling books, has recorded 90 LPs, and written songs for artists such as Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harry Belafonte. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Winnipeg in 1987 and the Winnipeg Folk Festival’s Artistic Achievement Award in 2011.

Something to Sing About sings the praises of the many different regions of Canada. It was used as a theme for Brand’s television show Let’s Sing Out, which aired on CBC and CTV in the 1960s and was also the theme song for the Canadian pavilion at Expo 67. There was once a movement for it to be chosen as Canada’s national anthem in 1965 though Parliament ultimately picked O Canada.

13. Manitoba (Stompin’ Tom Connors)

Listen to Kate play Manitoba by Stompin’ Tom:

Kate’s sheet music download: Manitoba

Kate says: Stompin’ Tom wrote loads of songs about different parts of the country and this song – Manitoba – is a beautiful tribute to our province and deserves to be much better known! Writing more than 300 songs on four dozen albums with total sales of nearly 4 million copies over his career, Tom and his music have become part of the Canadian cultural landscape. Connors founded three record labels, which promoted not just his own work, but that of other Canadian artists such as Liona Boyd, Rita MacNeil, The Canadian Brass, Dixie Flyers, and Charlie Panigoniak, among others.