Good fun and a good cause.

The CHUMS ukulele group are holding a fund-raising concert in Aspley on Sunday 4 June at 2.00pm.  It promises to be a fun afternoon with all the songs about love.

The proceeds of the concert will go to Dementia Research.

Songs will be projected onto a screen so everyone can sing along.  The music will be led by Donna and Derek Farrell and the CHUMS players.


Sunday 4 June from 2.00pm.

Cost $7.00 payable on entry.

In the Auditorium.

Compton Gardens Retirement Community.

97 Albany Creek Road (behind the Hypermarket).


Concert followed by sumptuous afternoon tea.

Check out the flier here.

Financial members of BUMS Inc will pay $60 a year (from 1 July 2023).  That’s just $5 a month and an absolute bargain when you consider all the things BUMS has to offer.

As a financial member:

You get free entry into all our jams. Pretty good when you know we have up to eight jams a month. Non-members will pay $10 a jam.

You will get discounted prices on all paid events we run – such as workshops and concerts. non-members pay the full price.

You can join one of our three community bands. The bands practice regularly, perform in public, and are a great way to make ukulele friends.

You are part of a thriving ukulele community. Get involved in running events and enjoy the companionship of like-minded people with a passion for ukuleles.

BUMS jams provide a supportive environment for ukulele players to develop their performance skills at open mics or leading jam songs.

You are eligible to join the BUMS Online private Facebook group where members share music, videos, items for sale and other news.

If you are a performer or in a performing band, BUMS has you covered. You can qualify for coverage under BUMS Inc public liability insurance (conditions apply), copyright protection under BUMS Inc licence and assistance with invoicing.

If you use electrical equipment (such as amplifiers), you can get them tested and tagged to comply with Queensland legislation at BUMS annual Test & Tag day.

This may not be something you see as a benefit, but only financial members can vote at general meetings. By being involved, you can help shape the direction of our society.  You are eligible to be elected to the management committee and directly make your mark on BUMS Inc.

One last reason for joining BUMS.  Life seems so busy nowadays, and starting or maintaining a commitment to play ukulele, may be hard to fit in.  But if you’ve paid $60, you don’t want to waste it and it can serve as a motivation to keep going.  Keep coming to jams and workshops, make friends, join a community band, be bold and try an open mic.  The ukulele can take you on a fun journey with fun people like you never imagined.

As our President Sylvia said to me the other day ‘people join BUMS for the ukulele and the fun – but they stay for the community.’  Paying $60 makes you a committed member, not an occasional visitor

Recruiting for a band

Mick Angeles is seeking Expressions of Interest from musicians to join a novel working Ukulele band to play professionally at gigs, festivals, functions and events. He seeks:

  • Competent musicians/singers who are comfortable on stage with an audience.
  • Performers with their own gear (instruments, mics, mic stand, cables, and any FX units).
  • Professional players who perform without iPads or music stands on stage.

Being able to play other instruments is an advantage but not a criteria. Mick will supply a 1300W digital 20ch PA system, limited IEM or foldbacks, lighting and sundries.

Interested? Email him at

The SPRUKE festival run by Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society (BUMS Inc) in June 2022 was a spectacular success.  Taking over King George Square in the centre of Brisbane was an inspired choice.  There were four stages, a beginner’s tent, a ukulele market and 12 hours of music mostly from SE Queensland players. It was a free event and attracted ukulele players from far and wide and the general public too – for many their first experience of what the ukulele can sound like.

BUMS considered doing it again in 2023 but have decided to defer it until 2024.

It’s an expensive and arduous proposition to create an event that big from an open space.  We were lucky to have received a grant from the Gaming Community Benefit Fund and support from Brisbane City Council.  Without these supporters it’s just too pricey to run a festival every year.  We considered pruning the event, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

We are trying to secure grants for 2024 and plan to run fund raising events in 2023 to help us put on another spectacular SPRUKE.

If you have contacts or know places where we can apply for grants, we’d love to hear from you.  Ukulele players form a wonderful community inspiring ourselves, new players and others who have never heard such fun music. We all know how music can soothe and uplift us all.

We’d also like to hear from anyone with fund raising ideas.


Flying with a musical instrument can be a challenge. Ukuleles may be relatively small but an instrument in a hard case is going to be bulky and get you embroiled in the airline’s regulations.  Geoff Dancer has faced the challenges and has compiled a series of steps for you to find the best solution.

  • Check in or carry on?
  • Which airline?
  • What are musical instrument provisions?
  • What weight and size limits apply?
  • What are the costs?
  • What are the risks?

Read Geoff’s guidelines here.

From Peter Grace, Secretary BUMS Inc

My brother recently had a stroke and I’ve been reading a lot about neuroplasticity – how the brain recovers from injury or damage.  One book specifically explored the relationship of music and our brains.

This extract below is adapted from Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks (2007).

As I read this, I realised that ukulele jams mirror the ancient customs of our ancestors thousands of years ago.  The magic of performing, dancing, playing and singing together.  Even one hundred years ago it was common for families and friends to make their own music.  Now recorded music, videos and streaming has taken away that experience for most people.

In all societies, a primary function of music is to bring and bind people together. People sing together and dance together in every culture, and you can imagine them doing so around the first campfires a hundred thousand years ago.

Today, we have a special class of composers and performers, and so one of the primary roles of music is lost.  Most people are reduced to passive listeners.  They must go to a concert, church, or a music festival to recapture the collective excitement and bonding of music. 

Music performed in a group is a communal event. Neurologists have shown the participants experience a binding or ‘marriage’ of their nervous systems.  Can you remember being at a concert when the crowd moves together as if they were one?

The marriage of nervous systems is accomplished by the rhythm of the music – not just heard but internalised in the same way by all those present.  Rhythm turns listeners into participants, makes listening active and is tied to the beat or tempo of the music.  Our brains and minds become synchronised and it’s very difficult to resist being drawn into the rhythm of chanting, dancing, playing and singing.

As ukulele players, we don’t need to go to a concert to experience this togetherness with others. The humble ukulele in a BUMS jam can bind us together in the joy of music.


Vale Morris Brother’s Music Store

After 23 years serving musicians in Brisbane from their store in Stafford, Morris Brothers will close its doors on 30 April. Brothers Mark and Paul have been unable to negotiate an acceptable new lease with their landlord and Mark has decided to retire. Paul will continue providing piano tuning and instrument repair services.

Mark Morrris

Paul Morris

Morris Brothers and BUMS Inc

Morris Brothers Music Store and Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society have had a symbiotic relationship for over ten years. Morris Brothers have sponsored BUMS at SPRUKE and other events, created pop-up shops at jams and provided a great range of instruments and accessories. BUMS members, particularly on the northside have had access to a wide range of ukuleles, accessories and services.

To mark the end of an era, you are invited to put two dates in your diary.

BUMS VIP Ukulele Sale

Don’t miss the BUMS VIP Ukulele Sale on Monday 3rd April from 5.00pm to 8.30pm. There will be nibbles and drinks, door prizes, and enormous discounts on all ukuleles. If you’ve been thinking of a new ukulele – now’s the time – because you won’t see better prices anywhere else.

These bargains are only available on the night. Please register for the event by calling the store on 07 3356 3299 or by email to

The night is open to BUMS members, past and present, as well as friends and supporters of BUMS.

Read this invitation from Morris Brothers and see examples of the discounts on offer.  Check out the online shop to see what’s available in the sale.

Morris Brothers Music Store is at 19 Billabong St (on the corner with Webster Road) Stafford.

Ferny Grove Jam Wednesday 19 April

Paul Morris was instrumental (pun intended) in kicking off the Ferny Grove jam with Linda Gough in 2013. This is their ninth year of leading songs on the third Wednesday of the month. Paul plays bass ukulele and accompanies Linda with his inimitable vocals.

Linda and Paul

Paul will be taking a break from the jam as he establishes a new business structure. He plans to be back soon as he loves performing with Linda and sharing the fun of the ukulele. Linda will continue leading the jam with other bass players.

Paul’s last Ferny Grove jam will be on Wednesday 19th April from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Paul will bring a ukulele as a door prize for the night and he and Linda will lead us through their songs as usual. We encourage BUMS members and friends and family to come along and thank Paul for his contributions to BUMS and the ukulele community.

No need to book to come to a jam – just turn up. The jam is on at Ferny Grove Bowls, Sports & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street, Ferny Grove.  Meals are available from 6.00pm (call 07 3851 1889 to book) and the bar will be open.



The Wheller Strummers

Wheller on the Park is a retirement village on Gympie Road at Chermside opposite the Westfield Shopping complex. A ukulele group has been operating for a couple of years and twelve months ago it approached BUMS to see if there was somebody who could provide some guidance moving forward. John Low, a member of the NUMB BUMS community band who lives in the area, took up the challenge.

The group meets on a Wednesday morning. During 2022 it performed a concert for the retirement village members in July, and a Christmas concert later in the year. At its core are 15 or so members who are learning the challenges and joy of having music in their lives and playing in a band. Because the ukulele’s involved it’s a lot of fun!

Two members have joined BUMS and are regular attendees at the Northside Jam.

There are more ukuleles bought in December than in any other month of the year. A uke is the ideal Christmas gift easily linked to new year resolutions. Maybe your plan is to try something different, stimulate your grey matter or just have more fun.

You might be buying for yourself or for a friend or relative. If you, or the person you are buying for, is just starting out with music, or wanting to get back into it after a break, ukuleles are a great starting point. They are fun, not outrageously expensive and you will soon be making music.

Erin Harrington is a BUMS member, ukulele teacher and performer and has worked in music stores. If you are buying for someone else, her tips are:

Size matters
Ukuleles come in different sizes – soprano (the smallest), concert, or tenor. Think about who will be playing the uke. For a child, a soprano may be right where they can reach around the instrument and smaller frets will suit small hands. For an adult with larger hands, a tenor may be best.

How much to spend
You’ve probably seen ukuleles on sale for $30-40. These are really toys and you will probably find they are hard to keep in tune and difficult to play properly. A cheap uke can be frustrating for a beginner and might turn them off making music.

Ukuleles can cost over $1000 but there are many good beginner ukes for less than $200. Budget for the extras that can make learning easier – such as a strap to hold the instrument steady and a music stand. Keeping your instrument in tune is easy nowadays using a clip-on tuner, an app on your phone or a tuner built into the uke.

Fit with lifestyle
You should ask do they have a quiet space where they can practice uninterrupted? A ukulele is not loud and can be played in an apartment without annoying family or neighbours.

Do they have time to learn? Are they the self-motivated type who will follow up online tutorials, an e-book or work from a music book?

Finding music buddies
The ukulele is a very social instrument. It’s great fun to play with others and of course having a buddy can be very motivating as you progress and learn from each other. Think about music teachers and community groups to help them hit the road running. Music teachers can get a new player off on the right track and regular lessons can help stimulate progress.

http://Ukulele Teachers – BUMS – Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc

Matching their style
If they have musical experience, think about how they like to play. There are two sorts of musicians – a ‘strum and sing’ musician and an instrumentalist. A singer might prefer a uke with an electronic pick-up so they play and sing at an open mic down the track. If they are an instrumentalist, consider the quality of the tone and timber of the ukulele. This will mean a lot more to someone who is technique focused and using an instrument to resonate and ‘sing’ for them.

Make it fun
You could set a regular time to catch up with them and play some simple songs. Choose some songs to play together – make your own repertoire that you can practice and see how you are improving. Making it fun will create beautiful memories you will never forget.

BUMS runs many jams around town, and some provide short beginner classes before the jam.

The BUMS website has many tips and resources to help people start their ukulele journey. Arrange for them to subscribe to the BUMS newsletter for updates on jams, beginner classes, workshops and more. It’s free.


Fee for visitors to BUMS jams

At the Annual General Meeting in September, we had a vigorous debate about increasing the fee for visitors to attend our jams. Financial members of BUMS don’t pay to go to jams, but non-members have been paying $5 per jam since BUMS was established in 2010. The members present at the AGM supported increasing the fee but left it to the Management Committee to determine the new amount.

We have taken a decision to increase the fee to $10 per jam from 1 July 2023. We will review this decision in late 2023 once we can see the impact the new fee has had.


This is a summary of the issues the Committee considered in making its decision.

Running a jam costs money. The most obvious costs are hall hire and use of BUMS equipment, but there are also other expenses like public liability insurance and administration costs. At each jam, BUMS members donate their time and expertise for free to plan the jam, prepare songs to present, set up the jam and manage the event for the benefit of all who attend. Creating a jam is fun and the members who pitch in are doing it for their own enjoyment as well as for the whole BUMS community.

The direct costs of a jam are paid for by membership fees. Of course, we want to encourage other people to join the ukulele family. Our goal is to attract newcomers to enjoy the fun of playing ukulele and singing in a group. There is no other comparable musical experience and the best way to find that out is to be at a jam, ukulele in hand.

We also want to encourage newcomers to join BUMS, be part of our community, enjoy ALL that BUMS has to offer and contribute to the success of our society.

One way to do this is to increase the financial incentive to join BUMS. From 1 July 2023, it will cost $60 a year (just $5 a month) to be a member of BUMS. For that small cost, you join our ukulele community and can attend as many jams as you like (currently six or more a month). You can also join one of our community bands, get a discount on workshops, and access the resources of BUMS Online.

We want the visitor fee to be a simple process by tendering a $10 note or making an EFTPOS swipe. An amount between $5 and $10 in cash involves the need to carry change (something that many people do not do since COVID).

We believe charging visitors $10 to participate in a jam is still exceptional value as it provides two hours of fun with physical, vocal, and emotional exercise. Financially, if you pay $60 a year to be a member, you are better off once you’ve been to six jams than if you pay $10 a jam.

One of the unheralded benefits of BUMS is being part of a growing ukulele community. If you pay to come to just one jam a month, you are just dipping your toe in the water. If you come to more events and get involved in other BUMS activities, you can plunge right in making new friends and finding ukulele buddies. There is nothing better than playing with other uke players.

Typically, as we get older our friendship group gets smaller. However, for active and involved ukulele players, this is often not the case. Read John Low’s journey with the ukulele as proof – see the last paragraph The Real Benefits.

When must a visitor pay the fee?

All non-financial members of BUMS will pay the fee to come to a jam, except for the following:

  • First timers. A visitor can ‘try a jam’ for free.
  • Non-players. A visitor without a ukulele need not pay.
  • Carers or supporters. Someone caring for a person with a disability or supporting a ukulele player (such as driving them to an event), need not pay.
  • Associate members (aged under 18). A young adult gets in for free, but an accompanying adult player who is not a member of BUMS will pay the fee.

If you have any comments or observations on this decision, please contact Peter Grace at