The whimsical sound of up to a dozen ukuleles fills Post Office Square when Beaudesert U3A Ukulele Group gets together every Thursday.
It emanates from GTM Studios’ Shop 21, which Ukulele Group participants have dubbed ‘Studio 21’ because it’s where they love to learn and play music together.
They play all kinds of music – country and pop, The Beatles and Paul Kelly, classics like You are My Sunshine and, on the day the Bulletin visits, ‘Ukulele Lady’.
They play from three songbooks – a folder from group founder Finella Loch, a folder from current leader John Britten and a book of ukulele songs.
No matter what they’re playing it’s fun, social and a great confidence booster.
There are participants who joined who had no musical experience, couldn’t read music and had never learned an instrument who thrive in the no-pressure group environment.
Also in the mix are lifelong musicians including Mr Britten, who has been playing ukulele for 60 years. He said it was about sharing and having fun.
“I bring a couple of extra ukuleles, so if someone just walks in and wants to play, they can. You don’t have to know how to play, and you don’t have to have an instrument,” he said.
“It’s the happiest fretted instrument – happier than the banjo and the mandolin, it’s affordable, portable and sounds great.”
When the Bulletin popped into Ukulele Group, members had nothing but glowing reviews.
“It is fun playing in a group because you can practice at home but it’s not the same as playing alongside others. And there’s no pressure – it’s a bit like being in a choir,” said Bernie Grodecki.
“John’s enthusiasm really motivates you – he’s been playing since he was 2. He can do anything with it – turn it inside out, upside down. His talent is amazing,” said Robyn O’Donnell.
The group meets 12.30pm to 2.30pm Thursdays at Shop 21, GTM Studio, Post Office Square, 115 Brisbane Street Beaudesert and costs $3 per class for U3A members.
‘Come and try day’ is the first Thursday of the month, but new participants are welcome every week.
For more information, phone John on 0428 844 041.