ARD Logo
Contact Us
Contact Us
Park Finder






Enjoy seeing these talented instructors perform on Friday, August 11th at the Auburn State Theatre and learn from them at the workshops on Saturday, August 12th at the Auburn Recreation District Recreation Park.



Heidi Swedberg

Heidi SwedbergYou may know HEIDI SWEDBERG as Susan, George Costanza’s fiancee on “Seinfeld” who died licking wedding invitation envelopes. She has acted in a variety of other television shows and movies but has an even longer history with the ukulele.


When she was 5 years old Heidi, received her first ukulele from the Hawaiian Easter bunny while living in Kailua, HI. She has fond memories of teaching herself chords (she claims to have invented the Em chord at the age of eight) and writing songs in her room in Albuquerque NM and reintroduced herself to the uke in Hollywood, while playing a singer-songwriter for a network TV pilot. She is passionate about people, which is why she loves the ukulele. Encouraging others to engage and connect through music, she teaches and performs for all ages, from the smallest children to older adults. She is a regular columnist for Ukulele Magazine and collaborates with her partner Daniel Ward on recordings and instructional books, including “Color-Along Ukulele”, available at their website Based in Los Angeles, they have helped start uke programs in schools, hospitals, orphanages, churches and libraries internationally, and love making new friends at ukulele and children’s music festivals around the globe.



Daniel Ward

Daniel WardDaniel Ward was born in Los Alamos NM, where he exposed to a wide variety of musical styles, including Mexican mariachi, Spanish flamenco, world music and jazz. By the time Daniel completed his degree in classical guitar and composition, he was playing flamenco guitar with dancers, electric jazz, trumpet, lute and world beat music. As a guitarist, he toured with Dance España, Maria Benitez, and Yjastros, went around the world with Ottmar Liebert, and toured with numerous other groups, playing everything from soft jazz to hard rock.

In 2009, he was introduced to the ukulele and all of the music inside him found a new home on the four strings. Since then, he has become a premier ukulele performer and clinician, known for his command of Latin and world styles, with an expressive right hand that delivers beauty, speed and force. He has been a featured performer and workshop instructor at many ukulele festivals across the country and most recently the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain. His first ukulele CD recording “El Ukulele” is a lively adventure in what the instrument can do.




Rhan Wilson

Rhan WilsonA recipient of the Santa Cruz Gail Rich Awards in 2012, Rhan Wilson has had the opportunity to work with some truly fine musicians such as Jerry Martini (Sly and the Family Stone, Woodstock, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame),  Joe Craven (Jerry Garcia, David Grisman), Dale Ockerman and Richard Bryant (both of the Doobie Brothers and The White Album Ensemble), Grammy winner Barry Phillips, and Grammy Nominee Tammi Brown, with whom he opened for Dr. Maya Angelou at the Santa Cruz Civic as well as Santa Barbara's Arlington Theater. 


Rhan is also the author of the new book, “All In Good Time - a Book About Playing Music Together for the Aspiring Ukulele Musician” - a book that was created with you in mind; those of you who have discovered the joy of playing music and want to take it, and your understanding of it, to a whole new level. And whether you attend his workshops, or read his new book under the shade of a peaceful tree - you will feel encouraged and eager to pick up your uke, listen to what’s going on around you, and start playing!




Dani Joy

Dani Joy HerreidMusician, Ukulele teacher, featured Ko’Aloha Artist, Daughter. These are a few of the hats Dani Joy proudly wears. When she’s not giving private ukulele instruction during the week (what a day job huh?), she’s studying music, practicing and performing with her band; Dani Joy & the Boys, and dreaming of world travel. 2010 RISD graduate, Dani Joy is currently putting her knowledge and expertise with music and children into the pages of a Children’s Book, hoping to inspire the next generation to experiment musically and enjoy the process of learning.


Musical Influences include: Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, CCR, Nat Kind Cole, Feist, Jeff Buckley, Suzanne Vega, Norah Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Beatles, Monkeys, Amy Winehouse, among others.




Carla Fontanilla

Carla FontanillaCarla Fontanilla started playing ukulele at age 4, receiving her first ear training and playing lessons from her Dad, an accomplished uke player and singer, while playing along with tunes from his large Hawaiian, jazz, and instrumental album collection. Individual and group uke lessons began at age 7 before Carla discovered the joys of the guitar at 9. At age 12 she gave her first ukulele lesson to half a dozen 8-year olds. Honing hybrid picking and rhythm styles on uke and guitar, Carla became equally comfortable playing in Hawaiian luau bands accompanying hula dancers and Rock and Pop garage bands.


Carla’s musical sensibilities draw on the styles and techniques of many artists and bands, including Chet Atkins, Ohta San, Lyle Ritz, the Brothers Cazimero, – just to name a few. She’s supported openings for Cecilio & Kapono, Dane Drewis, Patrick Landeza and Hapa. Today Carla plays lead guitar and ukulele for Kua’aina, her Hawaiian and Island-flavored music band. She’s conducted basic uke workshops delving into chord knowledge and progressions, strum patterns, playing styles, and playing and sing-along exercises.




Bud Snell

Bud SnellBudd Snell is a ukulele enthusiast and enjoys working with and teaching adult groups. As the Poobah for River City Ukulele Orchestra Budd has led amazing bands of uke players for the past three years.


He is an associate with The Strum Shop and co-founder of Ukes for Schools, a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the ukulele and fun music with elementary schools in Northern California (





Cliff Johnson

Cliff JohnsonI’ve been playing and singing in many groups for over the last 10 years. I believe that all folks are musical and most just need a little help to bring it out. In addition to singing in several groups, I play ukulele, pail bass, harmonica, mouth harp and whatever I can. -- Clif Johnson


Music is to enjoy, not fear.







Mariann Smith

Cliff JohnsonMariann Smith fell in love with the Ukelele in 2009, after experiencing a trip to the Hawaiian Islands for the first time.  Her joy for playing Ukelele has only increased with each year that she plays, teaches, and writes songs on this delightful instrument. 


Primarily a Piano and Voice instructor, with an Associates Degree in Music,  she has recently added teaching beginning guitar and ukelele to her resume.   Mariann teaches full-time at her privately-owned music studio in Auburn.   A "Music Lessons," sign hangs in the street front of her cottage-style studio building, at 13148 Lincoln Way.  Here, you can find her encouraging students to find the joy in playing and singing, as much as she does.







Main Ukulele Festival Page

Ukulele Instructors

Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Festival Flyer



Registration Form

Purchase tickets online


If you have additional questions, email Sheryl at  






Main Ukulele Festival Page

Ukulele Instructors

Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Festival Flyer



Festival Registration Form

Purchase tickets online











If you are coming from a distance, you can find accommodations at:


Auburn Holiday Inn
120 Grass Valley Hwy
Pet Friendly


Best Western
13450 Lincoln Way
Pet Friendly


Comfort Inn
1875 Auburn Ravine Road
Pet Friendly


Auburn Gold Country RV Park
3550 Koa Way
Pet Friendly




Old Town Auburn & Downtown Auburn


Placer County Wineries>

Coloma-1848 Gold Discovery Site



Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved