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Uke Fest 2022


Friday, May 27th -

Monday, May 30th

Expand your skills or capture the aloha spirit of the ukulele for the first time at the Ashokan Uke Fest! Featuring workshops for all levels, staff concert, group strums, Camper Caberet open mic, and lots more ukulele fun and camaraderie! You’ll meet new people, learn new techniques and styles, and gain confidence as a player.

Teaching artists include: Angela Denise DavisUkulennyHeidi SwedbergDaniel Ward, and your artistic director Ben Hassenger!

Please self-select from our 3-tier registration based on your ability to pay. Thank you for supporting the Ashokan Center, this camp, and each other!


ANGELA DENISE DAVIS aka Angela Uke (Teaching Artist) 

Angela Uke is an arranger/composer and a music educator. She is the founder of “Uke Griot”, a program that offers ukulele instruction focusing on awakening musical skills, increasing social engagement, and fostering joy in making music. Her musical arrangements are largely focused within the domain of Negro spirituals and blues. In addition, she has a broad interest in using the ukulele as a conduit for meditation and healing. She joined forces with ZAMI NOBLA (National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging) in May 2019 to create and direct a community music program, “Uke-In”, that welcomes all persons, with targeted outreach to the LGBTQ community. She is a James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI) certified teacher. Like so many adults, Angela took piano lessons for many years as a child and was involved in the middle school chorus but discontinued her music instruction after high school. She had a profound loss of vision in 2003 which left her legally blind and caused her to rethink how to engage music. She ultimately discovered the ukulele in 2016, and it changed her life. She believes that almost anyone can learn to play the ukulele and reap a wealth of benefits from music instruction. Angela is especially interested in using music as a tool to help older adults reignite their passion for music making. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she earned a B.A. in Art. She also holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from Georgia State University. 

LENDI SAN JOSE aka Ukulenny (Teaching Artist) 

Lenny San Jose, aka Ukulenny, is a performer and teaching artist based in Oakland, CA. With over 75,000 subscribers on YouTube, and a growing Patreon community, he hopes to bring his classroom music teaching experience and multi-instrumentalist nerdy vibes to the uke lovers everywhere. He performs regularly as a one man band (with ukulele, U-bass, saxophone, and beatbox), and is a member of U3 along with Cynthia Lin and Abe Lagrimas Jr. He also has been a featured contributor to Ukulele Magazine, and is sponsored by Kala Brand Music, facilitating workshops and uke circles nationwide. Lenny is a recent addition to the Neotech Straps family, and hopes to one day be a part of the Otamatone family as well.

DANIEL WARD (Teaching Artist) 

Daniel Ward is a gifted musician who has taken his 30 years experience performing world music, jazz, rock and most notably flamenco and focused it on an unlikely instrument: the ukulele. Born in the Atomic City of Los Alamos NM, he holds degrees in classical guitar and composition. As a guitarist, he toured with Dance España, Maria Benitez, and Yjastros, Skümbaag (heavy metal vaudeville!), and went around the world with Ottmar Liebert. Focusing on four strings has allowed Daniel to share his advanced techniques with all levels of player, and he considers his life enriched by the social element of ukulele. In the past five years he has enjoyed performing and teaching at ukulele festivals in England, Canada, Mexico, China and all across the United States. He is a contributing editor at Ukulele Magazine, where his instructional videos and lessons are a perennial favorite. His best-selling books of studies for the ukulele, Arpeggio Meditations and Melodic Meditations for Ukulele, will soon be followed by a book of Latin Styles. “EL UKULELE” is a lively adventure in what the instrument can do, and can be streamed everywhere or found at www.danielward.net.

HEIDI SWEDBERG (Teaching Artist) 

Heidi Swedberg is passionate about people, which is why she loves the ukulele- the people’s instrument. Encouraging all ages to engage and connect through music, she teaches, writes, lectures and performs for the youngest children to older adults. She has been a performer for more than 30 years, working in music, film and television, and is known for her role as “Susan” on Seinfeld. Heidi is a contributing editor at Ukulele Magazine, where she writes about community and connectedness. She collaborates with her partner Daniel Ward on recordings and instructional books, including “’Tis the Season for ‘Ukulele” and “Color-Along Ukulele: a Method Book for those Drawn to Play”. Born in Hawaii, her first ukulele came from the Easter Bunny when she was 5 years old. Her family relocated to New Mexico, the place she considers home. Currently based in Los Angeles, Heidi and Daniel have helped start uke programs internationally: in schools, hospitals, orphanages, churches and libraries. They love making new friends while performing and teaching at music festivals around the globe.

BEN HASSENGER (Artistic Director and Teaching Artist) 

Ben Hassenger is no stranger to the Ashokan Uke Fest; working as a teaching artist and assistant to former Director Gerald Ross before taking over from Gerald in 2020. Ben’s musical career began in the early 1970s when he was arrested for playing “Smoke on the Water” on accordion and singing in animal sounds in the cafeteria at Lansing Community College. It was the start of something special, for sure. In 2009, on a trip to Hawaii, Ben stumbled upon Roy Sakuma’s legendary “Ukulele Festival Hawaii” and was captivated by the diminutive but dynamic instrument and the communal aloha spirit of the people playing it. His life changed that day. He is now well-known as the “Ukulele Ambassador of Michigan”, teaching students, young and old, in schools, libraries, senior centers, and other community venues. Ben is also in charge of festivals such as Mighty Uke Day, Midwest Uke & Harmonica Camp, Uketoberfest at Interlochen, and the Michigan Ukulele Extravaganza. He co-founded the Lansing Area Ukulele Group (LAUGH) and established the Music is the Foundation 501(c)(3) to help bring the joy of the uke to Michigan classrooms and communities. Ben is also a prolific songwriter, with two of his songs about the Detroit Tigers enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

This protocol meets or exceeds current CDC and NY State Department of Health guidelines and is subject to revision based on changing conditions and changes in those guidelines. We’ll notify registered campers if there are any significant changes before camp begins. We trust our caring community to find the right balance of caution and fun within these parameters, to make safe decisions, and to treat fellow campers with respect.

In Advance:

  • Everyone is encouraged to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • We request that everyone tighten their exposure circle in the days before camp to limit the chance of exposure.
  • If you test positive or come in close contact with someone who is Covid positive within 6 days of the start of the event, DO NOT attend. 
  • All refund requests due to Covid exposure or Covid-related concerns will be honored.
  • Longhouse bunk rooms will be capped at 1/4 occupancy. 
  • Overall camp attendance will be limited to provide ample space for distancing.

On Site:

  • Upon arrival everyone will submit to a temperature check & rapid test administered by the camp nursing staff.
  • Anyone who tests positive or develops symptoms consistent with Covid will be asked to leave the event and will be entitled to a refund.
  • Masks are recommended while gathering indoors (except when eating or performing.) N-95 masks will be provided upon request. 
  • Weather permitting, all activities will be scheduled in covered outdoor locations. Both outdoor and indoor dining options are available.
  • Whole room exhaust fans in the Performance Hall & Dining Hall will draw a constant stream of fresh air.
  • Daily cleaning includes disinfectant for all door handles, tables, and any frequently touched surfaces.

Full payment is due no later than 4 weeks prior to the start of camp. Cancellations requested before that date will receive a full refund. COVID-related cancellation/refund requests will be honored at any date. All other cancellations will forfeit their deposit if requested after the full payment due date.

Click Here to see the full schedule.


    Follow signs to check-in. Please unload and then return your car to the main lot immediately. If you need your car nearby for health reasons, please request a special parking permit.
  • 4:30pm: Ashokan Hello Welcome Gathering
  • 5pm: Meet The Teaching Artists
  • 6pm: DINNER


  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30-12:30pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • Ukulele from Scratch Swedberg (Beginner) (BF)
  • The Pleasure of the Pentatonic Davis (Beginner – Confident Beg)
  • Let’s Get Down: Intro to Baritone Ward (Confident Beg – Int) (BF)
  • Chuck, Shmute, Etc. Ukulenny (Confident Beginner) (BF)
  • Play Almost Every Song in the World Hassenger (Beginner on up) (BF)
  • 12:30-2pm: LUNCH
  • Music for Small Uke Ensembles Davis (Confident Beg – Advanced Int)
  • Hawaiian Songs & Dances Swedberg (Confident Beginner on up) (BF)
  • Intro to Chord Melody Ukulenny (Confident Beg – Intermediate)
  • Arpeggio Mediations Ward (Beginner – Advanced Int)
  • 4:45 – 5:45 GROUP STRUM
  • 6-7pm: DINNER


  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30-12:30pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • Melodic Meditations Ward (Confident Beg – Advanced Int)
  • Negro Sprituals for Ukulele Davis (Confident Beg) (BF)
  • Uke Group 101 Hassenger (All Levels) (BF)
  • Don’t Fret Ukulenny (Confident Beginner on up)
  • Two Chords or Less Swedberg (Beginner – Confident Beginner)
  • 12:30-2pm: LUNCH
  • Soloing a la Mode Ukulenny (Intermediate)
  • Make it Your Own Swedberg (All Levels) (BF)
  • The Accessible Ukulele Davis (All Levels) (BF)
  • Ethno-Ukeology Ward (Confident Beg – Advanced Int)
  • 4:45 – 5:45 GROUP STRUM
  • 6-7pm: DINNER


  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
Click Here

You may choose to pay up front or pay a deposit and balance. Balance payment is due 4 weeks before the event.

Registration includes all activities and meals. Lodging is optional and camping is free.

Children under 5 attend for free. Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

All meals are included. You may indicate your dietary restrictions when registering. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

The Ashokan Center is licensed to serve beer and wine in Esopus Lodge (the main building). The bar is generally open from late afternoon to early evening. Sorry, by law, guests are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into this licensed building.

LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 6 people (25% capacity) and are designated women, men, or mixed gender. Place your belongings on a top or bottom bunk after you check in to claim it. Pillows are available, please bring your own blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.

PRIVATE ROOMS: There are a limited number of private rooms that must be reserved in advance at extra charge. Pillows are available, please bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towelsThere are light quilts in each private room.

CAMPSITES: Camping is available with access to bathrooms and outdoor showers. Please park by your campsite only if you plan to leave your car in place for the duration of the camp.

  • If you’re lodging with us please remember to bring a blanket and linens (or sleeping bag), towel, toiletries, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and we have a small number of light blankets for bunkhouse residents who can’t bring one of their own. Let us know well in advance if you’ll need one.
  • Flashlight, recording device, camera (or maybe those are all your phone!)
  • Comfortable informal clothing for wet and dry weather. Some may also bring dressy, wild or fun clothing as well but that is up to you! There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the camp.

Please, no pets or drop-in guests.

Incoming mail

Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance
477 Beaverkill Rd, 
Olivebridge, NY 12461

Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.

Music & Dance Camp Phone (845) 657-8333 x 3 

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.

High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.

Physical Address:
Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19.
From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill).
In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd.
Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee.
Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West.
Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd.
Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.

AIRPORT  Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.

If there are no camp spots or private rooms available above, you may add your name to this waitlist. If space opens up we will contact you.


The Ashokan Center builds community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art. We have hosted traditional Music & Dance Camps at our 385 acre nature preserve for over 40 years. In 2020 we learned how to host them online and in 2021 we began to reimagine how to gather in person once again. 

Come join the Ashokan family to celebrate, learn, connect, deepen your music, make new friends, and brighten your day. Our events are open to all folks, all ages and all orientations. 

<< Join the camp Facebook Group to connect with people who plan to attend and share photos and memories afterwards!

Thank you to the Martin Foundation for supporting Ashokan Music & Dance Camps.