LifestyleLake Monduran strikes a chord with ukelele group

Lake Monduran strikes a chord with ukelele group

Lakelele ukulele
The “Lakelele” ukulele gathering at Lake Monduran was organised by (from left) Rob Hopkins, Cheryl Hopkins and Richard Glover.

Music lovers from across the state descended on Lake Monduran this weekend for the three day “Lakelele” gathering of ukulele devotees.

Held at the picturesque Lake Monduran Holiday Park, the informal gathering of about 100 musicians was built around jam sessions and workshops inside a small tent city.

It’s easy to see they are a fun crowd with club names like Bundaberg’s “MissSpent Ukes”.

The event is the inspiration of Richard Glover and Cheryl and Rob Hopkins who sought out a central venue where ukulele devotees could gather and share their love of the instrument.

“Lake Monduran proved to be ideal,” Richard said. “It is centrally located and with its dog-friendly status it really appealed to a lot of people in the group.

“We come from everywhere for this event which is held from Friday to Sunday.

“This gathering has players from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gold Coast and Mountt Morgan. We even have one lady here who hails from South America to add an international flavour.

“We have a very strict adherence to a COVID-19 plan which we have implemented in conjunction with park management.”

Cheryl Hopkins is indicative of someone captivated by the infectious nature of playing a ukulele.

“I finished work about seven years ago, sold my businesses and suddenly I found I had time for music,” she said.

“I liked the sound of the banjo and ukulele, so I wanted to learn.

“I live in Gladstone and there wasn’t anyone to teach me ukulele, so it became a matter of driving to Gympie once a week to my music teacher.

“Rob played a lot of guitar, but I eventually encouraged him to come with me and now we play ukulele together which is what a lot of couples who attend this get-together do.”

Merle Riemer and Kelvin Winterburn tune up for their performance during Lakelele at Lake Monduran on Saturday.

According to Richard, the event is very casual and simply an opportunity for people who love the instrument to share a song or two with the group.

“No one is judged here it’s just three days of relaxation interspersed with jam sessions,” he said.

“We also have time set aside for those who may wish to share poems, stories or tall tales.

“The program is very inclusive. At some of the jam sessions we throw the lyrics up on a big screen and everyone is invited to sing along.”

In undoubtedly what must be a first at Monduran Dam, members of the group walked out across the wall, observing social distancing, and let the distinctive notes from their ukuleles to resonate across the waters of Lake Monduran.

The Dam Jam was born.

“I think if you look around here there’s probably no one under 60 years of age but the music we play reflects that age bracket and it is music that suits the ukulele,” Richard said.

Organisers intend to incorporate the group and register a name which would enable them to apply for grants.

“One thing we do need is a marquee. Currently everyone comes along with their pop-ups which is fine at the moment, but we obviously need to have an eye to the future,” Richard said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Lake Monduran event can contact Cheryl Hopkins on 0415 129 032.

Ukulele groups in Bundaberg can be contacted at 0400 731 162 (Makin’ Whoopee Ukulele Band) and 0488 004 857 (Bundaberg Fun Loving Ukulele Group).

A pop-up tent city encircled the performance area at Lakelele as the crowd was entertained with regular jam sessions.