The Instructors

This amazing festival will once again bring together the talents of well-known musicians and instructors for ukulele players from all across the northwest and beyond. There’s something for everyone, from beginner to advanced players, Hawaiian vamps to the blues, swing, waltzing, Beatles and rock ‘n roll, jamming and performances. If you’d like to see what classes the instructors are teaching, be sure to visit the “Classes” page!

Arden Fujiwara (New instructor!)

Carl Ventis: Bend’s Basics Master

Carl Ventis has 25 years experience, and is an invigorating, inspiring, and talented teacher.

Carl’s teaching skills expand across multiple instruments, including Ukulele, Guitar and Bass. Carl believes learning to play Ukulele is Fun, Easy and Uplifting.

Carl is the Ukulele Instructor for Bend Parks and Rec and Redmond Parks and Rec, and a long time Member of the Bend Ukulele Group (B.U.G). He is also the owner of Snow Dukes Ukes, Central Oregon’s Kamoa Ukulele Dealer.

In Carl’s classes:

You will learn the common strumming patterns to many of your favorite songs, and take your understanding and playing to a whole new level! The Ukulele has been used to write so many of the songs we hear, due to it’s beautiful and simple note structure. This class will take away the mystery, and you will learn you really can play ukulele too!

Basic Picking will provide players with an understanding & grounding of basic picking patterns and the songs that use them.

Dennis Fish

Vendor of  wooden ukulele stands, humidifiers for instruments & musician

James Clem

James has been a performer for more years than he wants to admit to on guitar and ukulele. He is an authority on American roots music and has played festivals and concerts worldwide.  He is based in Portland Oregon and is recording a new CD that will be out later this summer. You can hear his music on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, CD Baby and You Tube.

Laurie Linn

Laurie was singing before she was talking and has never stopped. Her early days found her performing musical theatre on stages big and small. She has taught private and group vocal performance classes and workshops to countless students from age 5-100. She has coached and led solo performers, duos, ensembles, and large choirs. She believes that everyone has an innate ability to sing and loves to help “shower singers” find their voice and confidence.

Laurie picked up the ukulele 5 years ago and began to blend her love of singing with this sweet 4-stringed instrument. Believing that the ukulele is an accompaniment instrument, she loves to find ways to make common songs come alive through textured strum patterns and vocals.

Laurie took a break from performing for several years while she raised her family. She now performs regularly with her musical partner Richard Colombo and does solo performances as well. Last November Richard and Laurie recorded their first duo CD “Once In A Lifetime Friend” blending their musical harmonies with Richard’s lyrics and melodies.

Laurie loves sharing the joy of music and is excited to be at Oakridge this year.

Richard Colombo

Richard Colombo’s life journey has been shaped by his love of music.  He has been a full time working musician for over 30 years as a singer-songwriter, recording artist, guitarist, ukulele evangelist and teacher.  The common theme in all his work has centered on building community through music.  That focus led him to create and nurture Artichoke Community Music and the Portland Ukulele Choir in Portland Oregon.  His work with those two groups was driven by an overarching theme of “Everyday Music for Everyone” and has inspired hundreds of people to come together in music.

After years as a self-taught musician, Richard returned to Portland State University to earn a B.A. in music.  He has recorded numerous CD’s of all original music, from instrumental recordings with a Spanish flair to uplifting and heartfelt songs featuring his soaring vocals baked by lush fingerstyle guitar arrangements.  Last November he released his latest CD entitled “Once In a Lifetime Friend” with his musical partner Laurie Linn.  The album features 12 of Richard’s original songs and reflects the duo’s unique and beautiful musical connection.

One thing is clear from Richard’s music and his life.  He is unwavering in his belief that making music together transforms lives and builds community.

Scott Hitchings

Stephen Yant: Evergreen Ukulele Trio

Stephen Yant of the Evergreen Uke Trio out of Salem will be teaching at the Oakridge Ukulele Festival this year. Stephen will be sharing Finger Picking Chord Melodies as well as Playing by Ear. You can find his trio on YouTube.