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Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group & Ukulele Suburbia Pages

Chicagoland's north and south side Ukulele groups!

Dec. 19, 2012. WGN TV, 'Chicago's Very Own'. Channel 9!

E komo mai! (Welcome!)
All like-minded, fun-loving ukulele enthusiasts.
All skill levels are welcomed, from beginners-to-pros.
(Leave all egos and drama far outside our Meetup and venue.)

We are two 'sister' Ukulele meetup groups: Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group (northside, Des Plaines) and Ukulele Suburbia (southside, Chicago Heights).

We usually meet once-a-month, on the first Tuesday and Wednesday. If a holiday, family emergency or other uncontrollable events occur, we'll try to meet the following week. Please check calendar listings.

Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group (northside) meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the Tiki Terrace Hawaiian Restaurant in Des Plaines. There's no better place to play your ukulele and sing along than in a unique Polynesian setting, the same venue where world renowned Jake Shimabukuro and other great Hawaiian artists have performed! And Tuesdays are $3 Mai Tais!

Ukulele Suburbia meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Check calendar for listings. This 'sister' group is run a bit differently as it is more focused, 'class-like' and take time in learning songs and different strums.
Limited space. Please RSVP. Fee.

History of this Meetup Group.
Founded and established by Honolulu native, GiGi Wong-Monaco in 2008 as Oak Park Ukulele Meetup Group aka The Harrison Street Ukulele Players, in Oak Park IL, in Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium on Harrison Street. In a matter of months, the group size grew and moved to Eastgate Cafe.

After over 5 years of growth of ukulele players and weekly fun in Oak Park, WUMP branched out with the start of Ukulele Suburbia (1/2013) in the south suburbs at Wonderwall's showroom in Chicago Heights. WUMP eventually moved (11/2013) north to Tiki Terrace Hawaiian Restaurant in Des Plaines and changed our name to Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group.

The Fest For Beatles Fans (aka BeatleFest) Chicago!
(This is what started the tradition of playing Ukulele at the Fest's Battle of the Bands!)

In 2008, members of this meetup group gathered with other Fest For Beatles Fans attendees to 'set the record for most ukulele players onstage' at the Battle of the Bands during the Fest, a national Beatles convention. Led by founder, GiGi Wong-Monaco, there were 28-1/2 players from around the country, including the famous Rutle, Neil Innes from the UK! The Rutles' awesome guitarist and our friend, Ken Thorton picked up the ukulele too! They asked GiGi if they could join in at the last minute! We were also joined by Chicago's own Stu Shea("Fab Four FAB" author and musician); Jorie Gracen (renowned photojournalist/author of "Paul McCartney - I Saw Him Standing There", co-founder of The Pond Hawks); Mario Novelli co-founder of The Pond Hawks; Lanialoha Lee , Chicago musician and educator, founder of Kupa'a Pacific Island Resources, Old Town School of Folk Music Hawaiian Music and Dance Teacher; Jeff Elbel of PING; my husband Clar Monaco (my co-founder of Chicago's popular Sandalwood Sitar Music Ensemble and highly-respected sitar teacher in the area); and many, many more from around the country! YouTube: Here are some photos at our Wonderwall Emporium Yahoo Group: http://launch.groups.... (You'll need to join as a member in order to access Photo Album)....or click here to see more photos of Neil Innes at the 2008 Fest For Beatles Fans (courtesy of Jeff Elbel, friend of Neil & Ken): A few friends began meeting on at Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium in 2007. The old location was small and could only hold less than 10 people. By the summer of 2008, our group began meeting at Eastgate Cafe' who had recently opened for business. We started ukulele practice for The Fest For Beatles Fans (aka BeatlesFest)! And we've been there up until September 2013.

We're made up of people for different backgrounds and professions....firemen, antique dealer, business owners, HR trainer, artists, etc....all fun, ukulele-loving folks who share and play together. Absolute respect is shown to each other, including the music and instrument we play. Everyone contributes something in some way, shape or form, even humor. Types of songs we play are: Beatles and songs of their solo years; Hawaiian (traditional and 'hapa haole'); Elvis Presley; 60's, Pop, Folk, Showtunes; Old-time favorites/Tin Pan Alley, etc. Open to all levels. Although there is no fee, a small donation of $5 is greatly appreciated.

2008: Inception of Oak Park Ukulele Meetup Group aka The Harrison Street Ukulele Players. Every Thursday nights @ Eastgate Cafe, Oak Park.
2011: Changed name to Wonderwall's Oak Park Ukulele Meetup Group aka The Harrison Street Ukulele Players.
2013: Created UKULELE SUBURBIA - The Ukulele Group of Chicago's South Suburb! 'Sister' uke group meets once-a-month, first Tuesdays @ Wonderwall's showroom, Chicago Heights.
2013: Changed name to Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group due to move to from Oak Park (Eastgate Cafe) to Des Plaines (The Tiki Terrace - Hawaiian Restaurant). Changed frequency of meetups to once-a-month, first TUESDAY each month.
2013: Changed UKULELE SUBURBIA's meetups to first WEDNESDAY each month.

Effective Jan. 1, 2013. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:

Uploading Songsheets to our Files Page.
Any member is welcomed to share their songs (not from our Meetup handouts) on this Meetup. You may post it to Files page. Best in a PDF file. Please refrain from anything that may be offensive to others.

1) For 'Educational, Instructional and Personal Use Only'.
2) Available ONLY at weekly Meetups in hard copy form.
3) Will NOT be emailed in advance. So please refrain from asking.
4) Not to be emailed to non-attending or non-members by other members.
5) Prohibited to be posted online, anywhere on the internet.

A LOT of time and energy (and $) goes into putting the songbooks/booklets and individual song sheets together.

These booklets and song sheets are available only to 'Attending' Meetup members = those who attend our monthly Meetups in-person.

Definition of 'Attending' Member: Any member who attends our Meetups; contributes/donates; and/or support in areas of need such as photography, videography, sound system, researching songs, printing & collating booklets, PR/Marketing, etc.

Prior events as Oak Park Ukulele Meetup Group aka The Harrison Street Ukulele Players.

2013 Highlights
Annual May Day Celebration (May)
Singing For Sarah's Inn (June)
Pleasant Home Ice Cream Social (Auguts)
Fest For Beatles Fans (August)
20th Annual Oak Park Arts District - Art On Harrison (September)


  • February - O'Sullivan's 2nd Annual Hawaiian Nights Luau. Forest Park IL.
  • May - Wonderwall's Annual May Day Celebration. Oak Park, IL.
  • June 3 - Village of Oak Park's 38th Annual 'A Day In Our Village' Festival - Kicked off event by performing the National Anthem. Oak Park, IL.
  • une 16 - Chef Shangri-La's Annual 'Wiki Waki Luau'. North Riverside, IL. (
  • June 24 - 'Singing For Sarah's Inn Fundraiser. River Forest, IL. (

    2011 HIGHLIGHTS:
    • Annual May Day Celebration
    • O'Sullivan's 1st Annual Hawaiian Luau Night. Forest Park, IL.
    • "HELP! Japan Fundraiser for Red Cross - A Beatles Themed Event
    • Singing For Sarah's Inn Fundraiser - non-profit aiding women and families of domestic violence. Oak Park, IL.
    • Fitzgerald's Annual American Music Festival, Berwyn, IL.
    • Village of Oak Park's 4th of July Parade, Oak Park, IL.
    • Fest For Beatles Fans - Battle of the Bands, Chicago, IL.
    • World Congress of Poets - Welcome Reception. Performed with Heart of Hawai'i Hula Company. Kenosha, WI.
    • Wonderwall's Monthly Beatles Celebration In Art & Music. Oak Park, IL.
    • Tiki Terrace. Des Plaines, IL.
    • The Possibility Playhouse - Beatles Celebration. Chicago, IL.
    • Forest Park's Annual 'Holiday Walk' - Out of the Box Boutique performance. Forest Park, IL.
    • Fitzgerald's - Side Bar and Main Room intermission act for 'American English' Pre-Christmas Show. Berwyn, IL.

      2010 HIGHLIGHTS:
      • OPAD Annual 'What's Blooming' Art Walk performance. Oak Park, IL.
      • Annual May Day Hawaiian Celebration performance. Oak Park, IL.
      • Fest For Beatles Fans 'Battle of the Beatles Bands'. Chicago (Rosemont), IL.
      • "The Mighty Uke - The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog" Documentary - asked to perform after showing at Gene Siskel Film Center. Chicago, IL.
      • Village of Oak Park - Census Video. Oak Park, IL.
      • Village of Oak Park'a Annual 4th of July Parade. Oak Park, IL.
      • - Oak Park article & video during our Halloween Costume Party night. Oak Park, IL.
      • Niles Public Library's "Get Back - Month-Long Beatles Celebration in Art & Music" w/emcee WXRT Terri Hemmert. Niles, IL.
      • Forest Park's Annual 'Holiday Walk' - Out of the Box Boutique performance; and more.

      2009 HIGHLIGHTS:
    • 09NOV09: New - Honorary Ukulele Member! As of today, Terri Hemmert, Chicago's own WXRT DJ and #1 Beatles fan and authority on the Beatles, has become our 1st HUM! Please welcome her by sending/emailing her congratulations and best wishes. Terri's WXRT email: Terri has given our group much support through radio announcements and her genuine good wishes. We whole-heartily welcome her and reserve a seat for her on Thursday nights! (Terri made this announcement on her Sunday "Breakfast With The Beatles" 15NOV09 radio show!)
    • August - 'Play A Part In History!'WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT - LARGEST UKULELE ENSEMBLE at the Chicago FEST FOR BEATLES FANS! Beatles' song is "Love Me Do"! See the Tutorial Video on YouTube by The Harrison Street Ukulele Players! Update: Although we didn't set a record, it was the FIRST time Fest goers were able to participate and play with the celebrity guests at the Fest. Greg Hawkes, Earl Slicke, Mark and Brett Hudson, and Liverpool!
    • JAN. 16, 2009: Our TV debut on Chicago's CBS2 Early Morning was 17 BELOW ZERO that morning! We didn't mind at all...we had FUN! Check it out: http://cbslocalblogs.... You can click on individual segments to see us playing, and weatherman Ed Curran having fun playing the ukulele!
    Sponsored by Wonderwall Music Shoppe & Emporium.

    We are a good, friendly, group of people who come to love each other with the utmost respect for one another. We treat each other with kindness and courtesy and often greet each other like the Hawaiians do, with a hug! We are 'ohana' (family). With that said, I must state the following for our and your protection.

    Grounds for Removal or being Banned from our Meetup Group: Solicitation, Offensive Sexual/Vulgar Language, Misconduct & Negative Behavior:

    Effective July 2009: No Solicitation Policy - Any new or current member or guest who solicits items or services which has no relevance with the ukulele, ukulele music, ukulele artists, or is direct conflict with our sponsor Wonderwall Music Shoppe, will be removed from this group.

    Also, any meetup group members should and will not participate in the distribution/emailing of unwanted spam/sales abuse.

    If you are not sure if what you may have to offer group members qualifies or not, please first send an inquiry to GiGi, the founder/organizer.

    Effective 2010: If a member is found to - Verbally, Physically, Mentally or Online (Cyber-bullying, etc.) Offensive (overtly sexual, vulgur, etc.), Abusive, Disrepectful, 'Rude and Lude'; in Language and Behavior; at anytime whether in-person or online, towards ANY individual (member or non-member, the Meetup group, Wonderwall, Tiki Terrace, or anyone associated with these entities), the Ukulele or the Hawaiian culture from which it comes from; Misrepresent the Morale and High Standards of our group; He/She will be Removed and Banned.

    Be RESPECTFUL to all especially the one(s) who put their hearts and souls into our Meetup group every month.

    What does 'ALOHA' mean? What is the 'aloha spirit'?

    A = ala, be kind, watchful, alert
    L = okahi, be whole, connected, work with unity
    O = oia'i'o, be non-judgmental, truthful honesty
    H = ha'aha'a, be equal, show humility
    A = ahonui, be faithful, show patient perseverance

    Waiver of liability: It is understood that individuals attending these meetups will not hold GiGi, Wonderwall, or the venue's owners and their associates liable in any way, shape or form. Individuals attending assume full responsibility for their actions. Bottom line is JUST BE NICE! smile

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Photos: Consent Acknowledgement and Copyright November 17, 2015 4:56 PM GiGi W.
Chicago Beatles Photograher and Book Authors January 26, 2014 5:34 PM GiGi W.
Beatles Music Online and Official Websites January 26, 2014 5:21 PM GiGi W.
Online Hawaiian Music Stations May 18, 2015 2:00 PM GiGi W.
Honorary Ukulele Members of WUMG-US June 9, 2016 7:34 PM GiGi W.
Our Chicago North Suburbs Ukulele Meetup Group! November 21, 2013 6:02 PM GiGi W.
Chicago's South Suburbs - UKULELE SUBURBIA! August 27, 2014 6:09 PM GiGi W.
History of Wonderwall's Ukulele Meetup Group November 21, 2013 3:42 PM GiGi W.
Photo credits November 21, 2013 2:28 PM GiGi W.
Airline Travel With Instruments Info November 20, 2013 10:29 AM GiGi W.
Aloha Oak Park! November 18, 2013 8:40 PM GiGi W.
MEDIA and PRESS INFORMATION November 18, 2013 12:29 PM GiGi W.

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