The Royal Mail Ukulele Group (RMUG) calls the Royal Mail Hotel (92 Brisbane Tce, Goodna) its home.
Andrew Café, the current publican, wanted to diversify what the pub could offer the community from bass guitar and harmonica to ukulele lessons.
Vic Kena was engaged by Cath Butler, a celebrated band promoter, and Dot Gollner put her hand up to be the coordinator. In July this year the group will celebrate its 4th birthday. Vic’s own career in solo ukulele playing has him busier than ever, so we now only have him on the 1st Sunday of each month to teach us and challenge us. Everyone is welcome.
Vic’s first big challenge for us was to perform at the pub in October 2016 for the 30th anniversary of Andrew’s management. Vic led us in our first ever performance and the crowd was so supportive and we had so much fun it inspired us to carry on. Jeni Bush has become our Musical Director after joining the group in time for our first performance and serving an apprenticeship with Vic. Jeni now runs all the other performances and jams.
The first performance on our own was to fulfill a BUMS Inc gig request for the school fete at St Francis Xavier State School, Goodna. It was a little daunting to fill in two hours, but after we got going we found our voices, and really learned how to play and sing loudly. The theme was “country”, so we came up with a set of songs like “Home among the Gum Trees”. But we were really nervous and not really very country. It wasn’t until we started playing our jam songs that we were able to loosen up and enjoy ourselves.
Somebody at work sent a SPRUKE notice to Jeni, and with Vic’s help we planned for and practised for SPRUKE 2017. Jeni led us through the performance and although our stage presence was a little underwhelming we nailed all the songs and engaged with the audience and had an amazing day. We performed first thing Sunday morning, so it was lucky we brought our own crowd.
For our next performance, Vic organised and directed us to perform at the Yeronga State School fete, by this time we were old hands so we just rocked up and had some fun.
We’ve played all the Christmas gigs at “The Mail” in the last three years, changing our set of songs and honing our stage craft skills by jamming most Sundays. We play a variety of folk tunes such as Pearly Shells, Dirty Old Town, She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain, or covers like CCR – Bad Moon Rising, Beatles – Eight Days a Week, Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues, Elvis – Wise Men, The Mavericks – Dance the Night Away, Roger Miller – King of the Road and Pete Seeger – Where have all the Flowers Gone.
Our core members are Jeni, Dot, Judy, Jimmy, Vicki, Shu-Wha, Janice and Barry, Alan and Anna, Kath, Juliana, Max and Margaret.
Jeni has sent in the application for SPRUKE 2019, so now we will prepare our set and practise our songs ready to rock and roll. We are all looking forward to performing again particularly at the new venue. Keep an eye out for us and come and join in as we will perform and do a jam song with you.