March 20 & 21, 2020 CANCELED. Luau & Concert on 22nd CANCELED

Featured Guest Artist: Lil' Rev


Performer & Teacher

 Lil Rev is an award-winning ukulele and harmonica player from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He began his music career as a street musician in the early 90’s after graduating from the University of WI at Milwaukee with a degree in Community Education. He has been a grade school music teacher and adjunct college lecturer in the music history department at UWM.  



   Lil' Rev is well known on the international ukulele scene as a protector of old songs and playing styles including early blues, Tin-Pan Alley, old time, Yiddish and American folk styles. He is also known for his passionate endeavors to preserve antiquated right hand strokes and strums and is in demand on the workshop circuit for this reason.   



 His awards include: 1996 National Blues Harmonica Champ at Avoca and he was Voted the Best Folk Singer in WI - 2004 (WAMI). 

 Lil Rev isn’t an act! He’s the real thing!
— Joe Hickerson, former head of Folk Archive at the Library of Congress 

Greeting from Lil Rev

Meet our special guest artists, Gary Haleamau & Ohana


 “When you hear ‘Nevada Heritage Award,’ you think of cowboys,” jokes Gary Haleamau.

But the Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Program recently named Las Vegas residents and Hawaii natives Gary and Sheldeen Haleamau the recipients of the 2015 Nevada Heritage Award, recognizing the couple for their work in presenting and preserving Hawaiian culture.

It wasn’t much of a shock to those who know them or Vegas’ reputation as the Ninth Island. Still, the Haleamau’s were surprised. “What the heck is a Hawaiian doing getting this?” Gary says. “It’s just awesome. I’m still blown away.”

The award honors Nevada artists whose achievements carry on traditions and have a positive impact on arts throughout the state. Folklorist Rachel Hopkin, who nominated Sheldeen, a traditional hula dancer and teacher, and Gary, an award-winning paniolo slack key guitarist and singer who has performed all over 

the world, called the couple “artists of great distinction who believe it is their responsibility to pass on the art, music and culture that will keep Hawaii alive on the mainland.”

The Haleamau’s are a very active part of a strong local Hawaiian community. You’ll catch them, and their son Kurin performing or teaching at almost any Hawaiian or Pacific Islands festival around town, and previously had a standing Friday night gig at Island Flavor on South Durango Drive. One of Gary’s most recent recordings, 2007’s "Redeemed", won big at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards—essentially the Hawaiian Grammys. His families latest album "Pilipaʻa" was also nominated for the same award in 2019. 

Meet The Other Instructors/Artists



Maureen Andary


With humor, grace, and cabaret vocal stylings of yesteryear, Maureen Andary delights listeners at intimate venues and festivals alike. A Songwriter with a Creative Writing degree from New York University and musical theater training, she performs with the composure of an actor and the tenacity of a practiced poet, commanding the audience with every breath. 

Audiences find Maureen performing throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, & Southeastern Region as one half of Award-Winning duo The Sweater Set. With The Sweater Set, she has won five Washington Area Music Awards, served as an Artist-in-Residence at the Strathmore Center for the Performing Arts, and has performed at such distinguished venues as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Mansion at Strathmore, The Birchmere, and Lincoln Center.


When she released her debut album, Maureen was selected as a finalist in the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, competing in the live finals on the Mountain Stage, and was a 2009 finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. She has won several grant awards for her songwriting and performance including 2014, 2016, 2017, & 2018 Fellowships with the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.

Maureen has been a faculty member and performer at the 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2019 Strathmore Ukefest teaching Note Reading for Ukulele, Pop arrangement, Voice, and Novices alongside Grammy Winners Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer as well as nationally touring acts Lil' Rev, Gerald Ross, The Hula Honeys, Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel, and Stuart Fuchs.


Kevin Carroll

 “Kevin is a man on a ukulele mission, I’ve been playing the ukulele for 25 years, and I thought I’d heard it all. Then Kevin comes along with this ‘resolUKEtion’ album and brings a fresh perspective to the instrument. His love for folk, blues and roots music really comes out. Plus, he’s a really nice guy and a passionate teacher of the instrument.”  

James Hill -  Ukulele virtuoso and educator 

 Kevin Carroll is a certified State of Texas Elementary Educator, instructs at ukulele workshops internationally, is a performing and recording artist, and teaches both private and group music lessons to all ages and levels in Austin, TX .  He has launched a ukulele-based music education charity called which brings lessons and instruments to schools and students with limited resources.  Equally passionate about music, education and ukulele, Kevin seeks to inspire and empower students to exercise their birthright of making music.  Kevin has completed his third and final year of course study in the James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification Program and has gone on to teach for these programs in Vancouver and Toronto multiple times.  This training has served to make Ukulele in the classroom a popular and successful learning approach in Austin.  Kevin has created the Austin Ukestra, a ukulele orchestra that performs instrumental music of all types in and around Austin.

 Kevin’s scope of teaching includes Texas-based music, blues, soul, funk, slide ukulele, family music facilitation, ukulele ensembles, and beginners of all ages.  He has been a resident of Austin, TX for over 20 years where he has played guitar and toured across the globe with Americana artists such as the Flatlanders, Jimmy LaFave,  Alejandro Escovedo, Robyn Ludwick, Charlie and Bruce Robison and many others. 


Bill Wynne


Workshop Instructor & Master of Ceremonies for Concerts

 For over 45 years, Philadelphia native Bill Wynne has shared the music and culture of Hawaii with audiences from Carnegie Hall to the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. An expert in slack key guitar, steel guitar, and ukulele, Wynne is best known for his exceptional skill in the traditional Hawaiian art of falsetto singing for which he was awarded first prize – a Hula Records recording contract – in the 2005 Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest. Wynne learned practically everything he knows about Hawaiian music through the careful study of recordings – a collecting frenzy which has a resulted in an enviable library of more than 25,000 rare Hawaiian music recordings which he now shares via his 24-hour-a-day internet-based radio station, Ho`olohe Hou Radio ( Wynne has twice hosted his own TV specials from Honolulu as part of the Pakele Live series and appeared more than 20 times at the New York Botanical Gardens as part of its “Visions of Hawaii” exhibit. 


Uncle Zac

Kelle Jolly

Uncle Zac

“UncleZac” is a Fairfield County, Connecticut ukulele performer and teacher who has played the ukulele for over 50 years. 

Unfortunately, Uncle Zac will not be able to come to the UkeFest this year due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Fred McNaughton is known by many as the host of The Get Up and Go Show on WJTL in Lancaster, PA, on


Kelle Jolly

Uncle Zac

Phredd – a Ukulele Strumming, Harmonica Wailing, Suitcase Drum Kicking, Quirky Singer-Songwriter of Unmitigated Joy! 

 Fred McNaughton is known by many in PA as the host of The Get Up and Go Show on

WJTL in Lancaster, PA, on air since 1984. 

 Come out to the concert and find out why someone once said that Kids and Family musicperformed by Phredd is “all about the love!” 


Kelle Jolly

Kelle Jolly

Kelle Jolly

Vocalist Kelle Jolly, "The Tennessee Ukulele Lady", is one of East Tennessee's most celebrated jazz musicians. She and her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, were the 2015 MLK Art Award recipients in Knoxville. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville's Sister City representative with her husband, saxophonist Will Boyd, at various jazz festivals and events.  Kelle Jolly is the host of Knoxville's newest radio show on WUOT 91.9FM (, Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz. 




Jose Luis Tolosa

Jose Luis Tolosa

Jose Luis Tolosa

Musician, Composer, Educator, Bachelor of Arts degree in Music

and Education, Master’s international cultural management. He's a

recognized Venezuelan Cuatro player and he has shared concerts

with importants musician around the world. His studies about

Venezuelan Cuatro (small venezuelan guitar) has been apllied to

the traditional and contemporary music of Venezuela and his

adaption in many music styles such as Jazz, Bossa Nova, Classical,

among others world music styles. José Luis Tolosa has traveled and

performed in more than 20 countries, including France, Canadá,

USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, Belgium, Trinidad &

Tobago, El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Czech Republic,

Paraguay, England, Brazil, Ecuador Italy And Venezuela. He has

presented concerts, workshops, and video instruction at university

conferences, art schools and with symphony orchestras.


Gracie Terzian

Jose Luis Tolosa

Jose Luis Tolosa

Not too long ago, 24-year-old jazz singer and songwriter Gracie Terzian was watching ukulele videos on YouTube when she saw “this crazy instrument.” The instrument in question was a harp ukulele, “a normal ukulele with an extra arm that holds bass harp strings,” Terzian explains. While the instrument’s appearance caught the young musician’s eye, it was the sound that convinced her to pool her savings to buy a limited-edition aNueNue tenor harp ukulele.

The harp ukulele’s rich tones and jazz voicings figure prominently on Terzian’s new debut EP, Saints and Poets. It showcases six challenging yet accessible original songs—all co-written by Terzian—conveyed in her cool, sophisticated alto, which barely contains the passions bubbling underneath. The EP was conceived as Terzian’s calling card to the New York jazz scene. It exceeded her wildest expectations, climbing the jazz charts of both Billboard and iTunes.

“I released it without a record label. It didn’t get any radio play. I don’t have a manager, and I didn’t hire a publicist until after it was released,” Terzian says, laughing. “So, yeah, it was definitely a surprise.”

Much like the harp guitar, the harp ukulele is experiencing a resurgence in popularity with young players like Terzian, long after its early- 20th-century heyday. The extra strings on Terzian’s spruce-top, mahogany-body instrument add a deep tone to the ukulele, she says, and can be plucked like bass notes. “The harp strings come in handy when you’re looking for color chords,” Terzian adds.

From an article in:   

Ukulele Magazine

Jazz Singer-Songwriter Gracie Terzian and Her Harp Ukulele Are Turning Heads

Greeting from Jose Luis Tolosa

GREETING FROM Gracie Terzian

the rest of Our awesome teaching staff!


Debi Velasco

William Ernestburg

William Ernestburg

Aunty Debi has over 30 years of experience in teaching and performing Polynesian dances, including Hawaiian, Tahitian and Maori. The three wsrkshops she will be teachng are flower lei making, ribbon lei making, as well as a Hula workshop. Make sure you also take some time to stop by her vendor table during the festival. 


William Ernestburg

William Ernestburg

William Ernestburg

William is from Laie, Oahu, Hawaii. He is a proud graduate of Kahuku High School. William served in the United States Coast Guard with distinction for 30 years. 

William is a member of the Hawaii State Society (HSS), the HSS ‘Ukulele Hui’, and Halau O'Aulani. 


Michael August

William Ernestburg

Michael August

Michael August is a harmonica player in the Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin area who has attended harmonica masters classes in Chicago, Illinois. He is a lover of the blues, gospel and Celtic styles, often playing in the style of Charlie McCoy and Buddy Greene .  Michael is a multi-talented musician playing guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo and resonator guitar.   

GREETING FROM Michael August


Gary Haleamau

Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Gary Kawiliau Haleamau, falsetto singer, Hawaiian Slack-key artist and song writer, was born at Kealakekua, HI and raised in Kalaoa, Kona, on the island of Hawaii. Son of a rancher, Gary grew up amongst the best cowboys and musicians, and lifestyle many dreamed of living. 

 At the age of 13, Gary entered a competition sponsored by Poki Records and won second place to the notable Lim Family. His prize was a recording contract that featured two songs, “E Ku’u Morning Dew” and “Home Pumehana”. He attributes his music abilities to countless hours spent watching and listening to family sing and play music at gatherings. Instead of playing with the other kids, he would sit, listen and apply what he heard and saw. His dad, Karin, taught him how to play a few slack-key tunes and uncles would teach him how to play guitar and yodel, which was only a stepping stone before he began playing on his own.  


Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Sheldeen Haleamau is a former Merrie Monarch – Miss Aloha Hula and

currently Kumu Hula (hula teacher) of Halau Hula ‘O Kaleimomi (hula school), Las Vegas. The hula school traveled to Hilo, Hawaii to participate at the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in April 2010, 2011 and 2012. A video of the halua led by Kumu Sheldeen can be seen by clicking on the "Find Out More" button


Kurin Haleamau

Kumu Sheldeen Haleamau

Kurin Haleamau

Kurin Haleamau was born on the Big Island of Hawai’i, and moved to Las Vegas at the age of 3. Though far away from home, Kurin was constantly immersed in Hawaiian culture through song and dance, thanks to his parents. He fell in love with Hawaiian music at a young age, and at just ten years old decided he wanted to play. Kurin had a particular interest in upright bass and slack key guitar. After receiving a grant from the Nevada Arts Council, his dad, Gary taught him some simple notes and patterns on the bass and guitar. With this, he developed his own particular style with each instrument. In the years after, Kurin has had many opportunities to share music all around the world. He has shared music not only alongside his parents, but with musicians such as Kevin and Ikaika Brown, Del Beazley, Shawn Ishimoto and many more. Today, at 23, Kurin has his own recording studio and aspires to be a record producer with a goal of perpetuating Hawaiian Music and Slack Key Guitar. He is currently recording a slack key album with his dad that will be coming out sometime soon. 


Melissa Nannen

Melissa Nannen

Melissa Nannen

 Melissa is (in no particular order) an artist, musician, pilates instructor, wife, mother, and teacher.  She holds a BFA in Photography and a MFA in Painting, both from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  She has been a performing musician since she started writing songs on her guitar at the age of 15.  She became an ukulele player after an ill-fated meeting with a rotary cutter and her index finger, which left numbness and hypersensitivity in her fretting hand.  She has been sharing her love of the ukulele with others for the last several years and she is the inventor of the Hug Strap for ukulele.  She is part of the cello and ukulele duet The Dirty Hillers and has a family band called The Margaret Hooligans. 


Pete Coleson

Melissa Nannen

Melissa Nannen

Pete started out his musical aspirations as a drummer in elementary school. He switched to the ukulele when a friend offered to teach him. This talent came in handy as his wife, a lifelong Polynesian dancer, was performing in shows on a regular basis. Pete was happy when he found a way to join her halau by playing drums and ukulele with the group.

Pete is presently a member of HĀLAU NOHONA HAWAIʻI, a non-profit Hawaiian cultural school located in Silver Spring, MD. He proudly plays ukulele in their band, providing beautiful music for those sharing the aloha spirit through hula.


Ray Forton

Melissa Nannen

Ray Forton

Ray Forton hails from Catonsville, MD and loves playing, singing, studying and teaching music.  

As a matter of fact, it is his desire that his students enjoy learning to make music as much as he enjoys playing, singing, studying and teaching. 
According to Ray, “Music should bring great joy, or at least a few laughs and a good time to both players and listeners.” A 22-year career as a public school music educator has taught him the importance of joy in learning music. 

One of his students puts it this way, “His years of teaching kids have enhanced his ability to work with adults who are new to their instrument…, and his versatility as a professional musician means that he has more and more to offer as you become a better, stronger player.”

Greetings from Ray Forton

Ray would like to see you in March!


Liz Brinker

Cinda Smith

Liz Brinker

Liz's love of music started with dance. Ballet was her first love, studying with Hermione Latham in Oklahoma City through her youth. Choral singing came next, followed almost immediately by musical theater which she enjoyed throughout high school and college in Oklahoma. Show choir was a guilty pleasure. In young adulthood Liz started teaching herself to play guitar and, as a young mother, took her children to Music Together classes in Montgomery County, MD. She has been teaching early-childhood music classes for Music Together Montgomery since 2002 and plays guitar, ukulele and mandolin. In recent years, Liz has played in two local bands, The Whippoorwills (guitar, mandolin and vocals) and Sisters Uke and Friends (ukulele, mandolin and vocals). She continues to share her love of music through her teaching, as well as the joy of making music with as many people as possible. 


Nani Lowery

Cinda Smith

Liz Brinker

Nani has been playing the ukulele since she was very young. Her mother was one of the major influences in her ukulele journey, and continues to inspire her. She spent many an hour playing along with songs she listened to on Hawaiian radio stations, imagining one day of performing at the Waikiki Shell. Although this dream never become a reality, her love for the ukulele has inspired many in the DMV to fulfill their dreams of playing an instrument...specifically this special little 4-stringed instrument. She has been, and continues to be an ambassador of Hawaiian style ukulele in the Washington D.C. area.  


Cinda Smith

Cinda Smith

Cinda Smith

 Cinda Smith began studying classical piano at age 8 and now pursues playing ukulele, harmonica, singing and songwriting. A member of Sisters Uke & Friends, she has also shared showcase stages with Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, Sam Gleaves, Catriona Sturton and Woody Lissauer. She was thrilled to have been awarded an Honorable Mention for her lyrics to NOLA in 2018 by the Songwriter's Association of Washington Mid-Atlantic Song Competition. She seeks to help other musicans improve their skills and make the most of their practice time. 


Lori Perine

Keith Lowery

Keith Lowery

 Lori was bitten by the ukulele bug in 2012.  She has been an evangelist for ukulele magic ever since, as co-founder and producer of the Maryland Ukulele Jam. In addition to programming and teaching ukulele basics at the monthly jams, Lori organized the first ever ukulele ensemble performances at the National Christmas Tree and directed the area’s (and possibly the nation’s!) first ukulele marching band. 

Trained as a classical singer and multi-instrumentalist, Lori has performed nationally and internationally in ensembles and as a soloist in venues as varied as Carnegie Hall (New York), the Academy of Music (Philadelphia), the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Victoria Hall (Geneva).  She draws on her formal music education to introduce others to the versatility of music making with the “jumping flea”. 


Keith Lowery

Keith Lowery

Keith Lowery

I'm usually introduced as, "Nani's husband", and I guess it still occurs from time to time. When Nani and I set out to create a Ukulele Festival in the town we live in, we took it one day at a time, one contact at a time, and one idea at a time. I've heard people say that the 2019 festival was a success. For the most part, people who came enjoyed the workshops, concerts, and overall vibe of the festival. We are looking forward to making the final preparations for the 2020 Gaithersburg UkeFest, and hope that ukulele enthusiast find this version as enjoyable as the 2019 rendition.

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