Jon Bloor, 36, is head of business law at Lees Solicitors – and chairman of Wirral Ukulele Orchestra
I’VE been playing the ukulele for about a year and a half.I originally bought a ukulele for my wife, because she said she wanted one. But she never played it.
I was sitting at home and it was sitting in a corner, and I thought ‘I’ll have a go’.
It’s reasonably easy to pick up. I used to play the guitar a bit, but the ukulele is easier than a guitar, in part because it’s only got four strings to worry about.
If you can play the guitar at any kind of level, it’s easy to make the transition. But I don’t think it’s particularly difficult to learn from scratch either.
Was I inspired by George Formby? Not really! He was a really talented player, but he is mainly famous for playing the banjolele, which is a bit different.
But the ukulele is quite popular at the moment. There are a few famous enthusiasts – Eddie Vedder, of Pearl Jam, did a ukulele album last year.
A year ago, I started thinking about if there were any other people in Wirral who wanted to get together to have a bit of a ukulele jam session.
I put some feelers out, put some information on Twitter, and put a couple of posters up.
And so, last January, about a year ago, we had the first meeting of the Wirral Ukulele Orchestra.
About 40 people turned up, which was a bit of a shock to the system. I had to wander round the room introducing people who had never met before and trying to persuade them to play at the same time.
Our first performance was in July last year, at Wirral Festival of Firsts.
Since then, we’ve played at Wirral Food and Drink Festival, Port Sunlight Christmas Festival, and at the Penny Readings at St George’s Hall with David Morrissey.
We’re playing Wirral Folk on the Coast, in Ellesmere Port, in June and we’ve got a few other gigs in the bag. It seems to have hit a bit of a sweet spot.
There are about 30 of us in the orchestra now, but we also get a lot of new people coming along to the monthly open meetings in Hoylake.