Reviews from BUMS members attending the Lord Mayors Senior Cabaret program

Lord Mayors Seniors Cabaret review

The Lord Mayor’s Seniors Cabaret program runs every year and encourages older people to ‘strut their stuff’ on stage. In 2021, the events had a theme of a “Night at the Oscars”, so participants were asked to perform songs that had won or been nominated for an Oscar.

Many BUMS members participated in the program. If you haven’t heard of the program before, it’s free and has three parts.

Part 1 Masterclasses

These three-hour workshops are run by well-known stage and theatrical performers. Some workshops are based on groups – such as dancing and choirs – whereas most are focused on individual or small group performances. You need a ticket to participate but anyone can go along and watch.

Part 2 Showcases

Chosen performers or groups from the Masterclasses are invited to perform at these 75 minute long shows.  Anyone can go along and watch for free.

Part 3 Gala Show

The final event is the Lord Mayor’s Seniors Gala Concert. This year it is on Sunday 24 October at Brisbane City Hall. It features celebrity guests (including Karen Knowles, Simon Gleeson and BUMS member, Erin Harrington) and many of Brisbane’s most talented seniors from the Showcase events.

Tickets are on sale now via the Oztix website or phone 1300 762 545. Tickets are $5 each with proceeds being donated to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust.


Many BUMS members attended these workshops and provided feedback including Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Charmaine Matthews, Daphne Bradshaw, Terry Halton, Denise Frost, Mick Angeles and Spare Parts (Diane Davis, Len Farina, Peter Grace and David Smith).

There were 11 workshops in 2021 run in venues as far flung as Zillmere, Sandgate, Hamilton, Kedron, Seven Hills, Wynnum, Moorooka, Sunnybank and near Brisbane CBD.

The individual Masterclasses were a bit like auditions where a performer or performers would present their piece and then receive feedback and coaching from the workshop leader.

Here’s some detail of the masterclasses from the viewpoint of those who participated.

Learn what’s happening technically when you sing – Daniel Robinson
Charmaine Matthews reported there were eleven acts at the Wynnum workshop with performers using either a backing track or piano, guitar or ukulele accompaniment.

Although Daphne Bradshaw and I didn’t perform an Oscar song, we still received positive feedback from Daniel. He recommended we place our mics at a different angle to easily see each other during the performance.

Charmaine Matthews: The Masterclass was a worthwhile experience, one that I would recommend to everyone. It was interesting to see other performances and hear the recommendations provided by our mentor Daniel Robinson.

Less is more – improve your performance by doing less – Gregory Moore
Len Farina reported that Gregory’s workshop was run on a normal master class basis. The performers sang and played in front of all the participants. The mentor gave feedback and invited the performer to repeat a part of the performance to try out the suggested changes.

Gregory’s had a motto – less is more – implying that it is riskier to make performances too complicated. Simplicity is often better.

There were 14 performers at this workshop. Most were soloists singing with a backing track. There was also a male/female duet, a barber’s shop quartet (with five singers) and an excellent four-piece female group. Spare Parts, a four-piece ukulele band, were the only act playing instruments. We performed Shallow (A Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper song from A Star is Born 2018).

Len Farina. Sitting through all the solo singers got a bit tedious but Gregory’s feedback after each performance was really good. Often what he said applied more generally and was relevant to all of us.

One of Gregory’s recommendations was to hold your pose at the end of a song until the applause starts. Many of the performers relaxed as soon as their song ended (phew thank goodness that’s over!) and the magic from their performance evaporated.

Spare Parts in action.

Ukulele and voice – learn new songs as a group – Erin Harrington
BUMS member Erin Harrington presented a ukulele workshop which many BUMS members attended.

This is the first year that Erin had been invited to lead a workshop and she admits she was unsure what the program director wanted. It was initially planned as a master class, but the demand was so high, there was not enough time to accommodate everyone in a three-hour workshop.

Adrianne Fitzpatrick reported that about 30 uke players attended the workshop ranging from beginners to experienced players. Erin ran through some introductory ukulele skills and introduced three songs including an arrangement of Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky III, 1982). It featured a stamp/strum riff which was really good but difficult for a whole room of players to coordinate.

Adrianne Fitzpatrick: The day was a lot of fun. I love any chance to play the uke with others! Just as much fun was some spontaneous playing and singing during the break!

Unfortunately, time was against us and COVID restrictions prevented us making any progress on getting a group together to perform at a showcase concert. The program director also realised that a large band could not easily be accommodated on the performance stages. The workshop is expected to be on again next year with an improved format developed from its first outing.

Lots of BUMS at Ukulele and voice – learn new songs as a group masterclass. image: Erin Harrington.

For anyone new to singing – Rhonda Davidson-Irwin
Daphne Bradshaw reported on this individual singing Masterclass. The workshop started with breathing techniques, reaching highs and lows without running out of breath. These good vocal exercises made learning a lot of fun.

Her performance piece was Goody Goody a 1936 song and she got very positive feedback. Rhonda felt it was a good song for her voice, she had good stage presence and would make a good jazz singer. How’s that for confidence boosting?

Daphne Bradshaw: It certainly has been an awesome experience, and I would definitely recommend entering into it next year.

Learn new songs as a group – Gregory Moore

Denise Frost: I’m a choir novice and was looking forward to a novel, interesting experience at this Masterclass. I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

The 30 participants learnt Lullaby of Broadway and Moon River, working up to three-part harmony. It was surprising how easily the group worked with Greg and how quickly they picked up the harmony. Denise realised that the group had years of musical (and life) experience. In the hands of an expert musician like Greg, they could fly.

Adrianne Fitzpatrick: For anyone who loves to sing, but doesn’t feel confident going solo, the group singing workshop is a great option. Gregory Moore’s experience in choral conducting was immediately evident. He was lots of fun, enthusiastic and engaging.

Sadly, neither Denise or Adrianne could attend the later rehearsals or perform Moon River on stage. But next year!

Karen Knowles & Mick Angeles

Karen Knowles & Mick Angeles at Lord Mayors Senior Cabaret Masterclass

What to do on stage when you’re unsure what to do – Karen Knowles.

There were ten acts in this Masterclass. Some used backing tracks, some accompanied themselves (piano, guitar and ukulele) and some used an amazing pianist who could sight read anything.

Adrianne Fitzpatrick: Karen worked on vocal technique with some performers in a way that taught all of us. She was very encouraging throughout – even when nerves got the better of me and I totally flubbed my performance! – and I have vowed to try again next year.

Mick Angeles played ukulele and sang Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961). He also chose to perform Jean (from the Prime of Miss Jean Brody,1969) on piano. He’d never played the piano in public before, and his performance was on a massive grand piano on stage at the Old Museum Concert Hall. He says he didn’t know what to do with the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals. Karen said he played piano like a natural! What a debut.

Read more about Micks journey through the 2021 program – Always Learning.

Terry Halton went to three Masterclasses.

The classes were casual, fun, helpful and enjoyable. I encourage anyone interested in improving their Ukulele playing and presentation to attend future classes.

The Kedron-Wavell Showcase Choir with Diane Davis, Charmaine Matthews and Daphne Bradshaw


There were eight shows planned at venues all over Brisbane from Arana Hills, Sandgate, Kedron, Wynnum, Sherwood, Acacia Ridge, Sunnybank to the Brisbane Showgrounds.
WestsideHQ at Sherwood
Spare Parts played at this concert. We chose to perform Shallow and You Got a Friend in Me (from Toy Story 1997). Each of the eight acts performed two songs, and there was an audience of 50 or so (including the performers). Every performance is a challenge, and we were encouraged to perform without song sheets or music in front of us. We are better for the experience. By playing Shallow, we hoped to demonstrate that the ukulele can be more than what many audiences might imagine.
Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Diane Davis, Charmaine Matthews and Daphne Bradshaw were members of the choir that performed Lullaby of Broadway (Gold Diggers, 1935) and Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961) at this Showcase concert.
Arana Leagues Club
Mick Angeles was invited to play two songs at this Showcase and he chose Somewhere over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz, 1939) and Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1961).


See BUMS own Mick Angeles and Erin Harrington in the Lord Mayor’s Senior Cabaret Gala: A Night at the Oscars. Mick has been invited to perform Somewhere over the Rainbow (the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version) at the Gala Concert on Sunday 24 October. Well done, mate!

With professional mentor, Erin Harrington also performing, there will be two BUMS on stage. Get your ticket and show your support as well as see a great show!

Tickets are on sale now via the Oztix website or phone 1300 762 545. Tickets are $5 each with proceeds being donated to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust.