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Play along to Prom 45 at home, in the hall or online

Roland Taylor Roland Taylor | 13:34 UK Time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

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I've produced a few Proms in my time at the BBC but, for me, this year's line up is a bit different: Stan Tracey, the Michael Nyman Band and, because I begged to be allowed to produce it, Prom 45 with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. I can't wait. When I was told I'd been given Prom 45 I smiled for about 2 days. Then, on the way home, it occurred to me that it might be a great opportunity, as Interactive Editor for the Proms, to get the audience involved. I emailed Ellara Wakely (Learning Manager, BBC Proms) and Roger Wright asking both if we could have a 'bring your ukulele to the Prom and play along' moment. They said yes. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain said yes. My team said yes. I said yes!

On May 12th members of the Radio 3/Proms Interactive team turned up at the Warehouse studios to film half of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain giving an online masterclass. George, top ukulele man, helped us create a set of 4 short films for the web. So, the idea is that you can learn to play one of three parts so that you can play along with the Prom either online, on air or by bringing your ukulele to the Royal Albert Hall for Prom 45.

I'm getting together with Kathy Clugston (we met on Twitter), Jon Jacob (Proms fan extraordinaire), members of Radio 3, members of BBC's Future Media and Technology and members of the Proms team to rehearse our parts for the Prom. Should be quite a lot of fun.

You can learn one of the following: The tune; chords advanced; chords simple. There is also an introduction to the ukulele.

So, if you fancy playing along, feel free - online, live on-air or in the Royal Albert Hall or online afterwards at the Proms website forever!

And if you're a player or if you're coming to Prom 45, let us know in a comment. Likewise, link to your Uke photos or audio if they're online.

Roland Taylor is Interactive Editor of the BBC Proms and Radio 3


  • Comment number 1.

    This looks absolutely brilliant! I'm going to borrow a ukelele and get strumming online.


  • Comment number 2.

    Unfortunately, Roland, I shall not be able to make this particular prom (#45). Also, as something of a promenader myself, I should like to question precisely how 'extraordinaire "JJ" c'est', so to speak?

    "Je joue, donc je suis?"

    All the best, c (and the gang)!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hello kleines C. Sorry you can't make that Prom. You can join in from home? Online? etc...

    JJ can explain himself I think.

    I'm practising as I type this. (Well, you know what I mean)



  • Comment number 4.

    Hello caroline_miff

    have you managed to get your ukulele sorted yet? Hope so.

  • Comment number 5.

    Could you get the legendary 'JJ' to come online, Roland, either here on 'The Radio 3 Blog' or even the more dangerous territory of the 'Performance' messagboard of BBC Radio 3, to explain how 'extraordinaire' a promenader he really is, and whether he has yet mastered the art of playing Ukulele? Better still, both of you are more than welcome to join us at the legendary Nag's Head (before prom 7). We're already tuning up! Cheers (Sunday lunch)!


  • Comment number 6.

    Hello Kleines C .. I'm that "JJ" yourself and Mr Taylor refer to ;)

    I should explain that a) I didn't ascribe the title "legendary" or b)"extraordinaire" consequently I'll hold my hands up and say that I'm less than keen (and probably not able) to justify whether the terms are appropriate or not.

    As with all things - and being aware that I'm clearly in the presence of someone who has already mastered the instrument - I'm reticent about making out I'm some kind of expert. But that said, I am rather looking forward to having a go. Having fun always seems like a good start.

  • Comment number 7.

    Who'll be at the legendary Nag's Head (before prom 7) ?
    Can I bring my camera?

  • Comment number 8.

    You may, of course, bring a camera to the legendary 'Nag's Head', Roland, although I believe that mobile phones are still banned by the landlord, Kevin. In my experience, you can negotiate the use a laptop, for example, although if you want to blog, you might be better off going upstairs to the legendary 'Nag's Boudoir'. If the Nag comes in and closes the door, try and slip out of the window before she locks it. Otherwise, Roland, resistance is generally futile.


    There is something about the anonymity, mystery and possibly even privacy of bloggers, which makes them resistant to having their image posted, outside their control, across the world wide web. So although you may bring a camera, Roland, you should, I feel, get permission, before you post anything too incriminating, whether online or off. I naturally charge 10,000 bucks a shot, although as JJ does, occasionally, promenade, I am willing to negotiate a reduction, provided you are prepared to queue.

    As there could be some serious clubbing, I suggest that you come prepared, Roland, and if the tables are turned and you and JJ end up on Page Three of 'The Sun', don't blame the supermodels. They are only trying to enhance your careers on BBC Radio 3. Cheers (breakfast coffee)!


  • Comment number 9.

    If I may address 'Thoroughly Good' directly (Commment 6), I have watched you making your online videos for the Proms, and, indeed the Free Thinking Festival in Liverpool, with much amusement. Whilst I doubt that you will win any Oscars (yet), if you join Roland with his camera in the legendary 'Nag's Head', I suspect that you might, just, come close. As for your blog, although it is not quite up to award-winning Generación Y, for example, it is nevertheless, thoroughly good.




    I guess that with more than 100 million blogs online, JJ, Radio 3 and the BBC have some serious competition. So is it worth the hassle? Well, I guess that like playing the Ukulele, if you enjoy expressing yourself musically, artistically or even textually (rather than sexually) online, why ever not? Cinema, arguably the greatest artform of the twentieth century, is a form of multimedia. The internet creates new possibilities for human expression in the twenty-first century. I am delighted to see so many pioneers online, and occasionally even off. Cheers (morning tea)!



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