Get to know some of the Familiar Faces you’re likely to see at face-to-face jams. BUMS Inc members are invited to submit their brief bios for this section of the newsletter.
Graham Hall was a regular at Ferny Grove, Toowong (now Rosemount), Northside and Coorparoo. You’ll also see Graham leading sets in BUMS Online.
Hi, My name is Graham Hall. I’ve been a member of BUMS since 2018. You might have seen my face at the Ferny Grove Jam (so I’m a Ferny Groover), and leading sets at Coorparoo, Northside and at BUMS Online jam. I’m a member of two groups organised by Linda Gough. Normally, the “Night Riders” meet on a Tuesday night and “Day Trippers” meet every Wednesday morning at the Ferny Grove Bowls Club.
I hale from Melbourne and grew up in an unforgettable era for Rock Music. My family weren’t overly musical, but we had a piano which was rarely played, and Dad used to sing around the house all the time.
I started singing from an early age and performed in several school productions like Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas in my early teens. At the same time, the Rock era was emerging with shows like Countdown. There were rock bands playing at most big suburban pubs two or three nights every week. So my love of music grew every year. My tastes ranged from the crooners to Led Zeppellin. I was in a couple of bands, but none of us took it too seriously, so I just sang whenever I got the chance.
Coming to Queensland
I moved to Brisbane in 1976 as a 21-year-old working in supermarkets. The disco scene was alive and well, so singing and dancing was an everyday event.
After four years, I moved back to Melbourne, and got a job demonstrating Bamix kitchen products. This took me all over Victoria working at Home Shows, Field Days, etc.
We were offered a franchise in Brisbane which my boss accepted. So we returned to Queensland when was I was 25. I’ve been doing this type of work ever since, travelling around Australia, and except for a six-year stint in Adelaide, I’ve called Brisbane home (lucky me).
Karaoke was very popular with the show crews, so we would find pubs or clubs in most towns. Still no instrument at this time.
I met my wife in 1989 when we were both working at a Home Show in Adelaide. We’ve been together ever since. Mandy had her own company, so we joined forces and worked together as a demonstration team.
Picking up a uke
I found ukuleles through Bob Anley. He was a cricket tragic like me, and I asked him if he wanted to come to see the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash league. He said he was too busy but I could catch up with him at the BUMS Toowong Jam on a Wednesday morning.
I took up the offer even though I didn’t have a ukulele. I sang along with all the songs hoping I wasn’t too loud for the rest of the ukers, but was pleasantly surprised by the acceptance and compliments I got. Soon after I bought a Lanakai concert uke on Gumtree.
We both then applied to join Ferny Grove Day trippers. Bob and I played at SPRUKE 2017 Festival in an open mic, and with the group, and loved it.
Before COVID came along, our troupe would regularly play at nursing homes, civic centres, Carols in the Park and festivals like SPRUKE. I now own a Bruce Wei handmade tenor (again bought on Gumtree) which goes most places with me. It doesn’t take much encouragement for me to play a tune or two.
Involvement with BUMS
I really appreciate BUMS as an organisation, and wanted to give something back. In 2019, I oversaw merchandising at SPRUKE at Sunnybank. I’ve been a set leader at live jams, and have recorded songs for BUMS Online. What a sharp technology learning curve that is – but lots of fun. If you feel up for a challenge, have a go. It’s a really rewarding experience.
Life’s ups and downs
The last five years have been difficult for Mandy and me. We’ve both had potentially life-threatening illnesses. Thankfully modern medicine has kept Mandy with me, and she is able to enjoy life. I had surgery last year and was cured.
Playing ukulele and singing has kept my sanity through these dark times and the support and comradeship of both my local Ferny Grove troupe and the wider BUMS community has been nothing but a joy. I thank you all for that.
I am now exercising my artistic side which had lain dormant for far too long. I’m luvvin’ it! Can’t wait to see you all again. In the meantime, keep on a strumming.