KLUC is now run by Diane Shortland, with founder Keith Sharples as Musical Director.
Invaluable organisational input is also received from Peter Bortherton, Michelle Minns-Sykes, Tony Long and Roger Tate.
“I’m Diane and Im proud to say I was the very first person to join KLUC after Andrew and Keith set the club up (check out the How It All Began page). I remember the first meeting well. I was nervous as I’d only just started playing uke and I wasn’t at all sure about attempting to play with other people. They might hear me! Lol, but after a few weeks of wondering how everyone knew how to strum in the right way naturally except me, I began to grow in confidence and soon found I was exceeding my own expectations. I loved being part of the group and looked forward to Tuesdays.
Over the following four years I became more and more involved in the club both in terms of its running and its musical input. Being one of the youngest members, I pioneered modern music and felt the uke was capable of a lot more than the stereotype had grown to be for the instrument. It didn’t have to be something you couldn’t enjoy until retiring age, and in fact the uke sounds great playing present day songs the same as 60s music, if you pick the right pieces. When Andrew announced he was leaving the area, I jumped at the chance to run the club, having been aware for a long time how much more it could become. Andrew and Keith were both hugely supportive of my ideas and vision for KLUC moving forward and rightfully pointed out that these were in fact their aims and objectives when setting up the group originally. Four years in, the club was surrounded by other uke groups that had sprung up in the area and we we’re all offering the similar experience. We decided it was time to be more innovative and showcase exactly what the ukulele was capable of.
Reforming the group took courage, will power and lots of unwavering enthusiasm, but luckily I have bags of that. It was a challenge but now our vision is cemented and there’s no going back. We are hugely proud of what we now offer; a uke club suitable for ALL age groups that play ALL decades of music up to present day. On top of that we also play ALL styles of music and so often our audience say ‘Oh I never thought youd play that!’ To which we reply, ‘why ever not?’ We challenge everyone’s stereotype of the instrument and break those moulds. The Killers? Pink Floyd? Yep, we do them both. George Formby, Hawaiian, skiffle music, jazz and blues? Absolutely. Bring it on. We also keep our audiences on their toes by guest appearances of other instruments to compliment the uke. Ken with thimbles adorning his fingers, plays an awesome washboard; Roger adds lovely layering with his mandolin (Mandy Lynn being her full title!) and of course we have Keith, the professional tuba player, so we’d be silly not to utilise that gift sometimes. Plus the lesser-spotted double bass of the legend that is Tony, makes an occasional appearance too. In short, come and watch us and you honestly never know what we may do next. This approach has gone down a storm with our audiences – from busking and pub gigs to festivals and church concerts – and we intend to continue doing what we do best, having endless fun, raising money for East Anglian Air Ambulance, and entertaining the West Norfolk locals wherever we play. By the end of the night, everyone is usually up and dancing with smiles and laughter a plenty, including us, and that’s all the encouragement we need.
If you’re looking to join a lively club that offers something a bit different to the norm, and you’re not afraid to take a chance and stretch your horizons in both expectation and outlook, and most importantly, you’re prepared to put a bit of effort in to reap some amazing rewards, then we’re probably the perfect uke group for you! It’s now my perfect club and I get so much joy from running it, despite all the challenges we overcome along the way, but together we always win through, and when it’s time to go gigging, there really is no greater joy than kicking ass with my amazing band! Let me introduce them to you…”
“My name is Peter. I have been blessed with 3 sons, William, George & Henry & have recently married Hazel. We have 2 dogs, 2 cats & 3 horses. I love to walk, especially coastal routes. I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats last year & like to keep fit. l work hard by protecting the public & also run a holiday let in Hunstanton.
I joined KLUC in Sept 2017 & started to play the Baritone Ukulele which is tuned the same as a guitar so that made it easier for me as I have played the guitar for years. I love the vision of KLUC which is to play a variety of songs which are spread across the decades both old & new in different styles. The club is friendly, fun, forward looking & not only rewarding but very social too. I love & have great fun arranging some of the songs to make them fit for the Ukulele.
Pete is a huge asset to KLUC getting fully involved from day one, arranging pieces for us and pushing our vision with fresh ideas. His infectious enthusiasm has helped our group expand to be what it is today.
“I have been passionate about music since a very young age and got my first guitar (10 from Woolworths) at the age of 12. First performing with punk bands in the late 70’s, I then changed tack completely to jazz/pop bass and played in and around London for a while. I gave up for nearly 25 years to raise a family and was finally lured back by the ukulele. I now play uke and bass in different styles and bands/combs and have rediscovered my love for music and met some really nice people along the way, not least everyone at KLUC and I hope it continues for as long as the inevitable arthritis allows!!”
Tony’s presence in KLUC is hugely appreciated for his musical knowledge and expertise at uke, bass and double bass (although we’re sure he could pick up anything and play it well!). He also possesses a wicked sense of humour which you can often witness through his MC-ing at gigs.
“Born in Lambeth London, then lived in Surrey, Leicestershire, Newcastle, and now Norfolk. I had a typical Secondary education (thick as a brick) I have played guitar since 1953 (a failed classical guitarist). Despite this (or because of it!) I have played with the best (and worst) musicians in the world (no name dropping, they know who they are!). I then started playing bass in the late 70s with Dave Bakers Jazz Cats, from Kings Lynn, and went on to play guitar with them too. I now play in several different genres of music, but my first loves are blues/rock and folk.
I joined KLUC in 2016 on bass but then had to leave for a while for personal reasons. I re-joined in March 2018 on baritone Ukulele and have now expanded that to include mandolin and am hoping to add a mandola to the mix next year. I also play guitar when material requires and do my stint on bass when needed.”
A touch of rock-star rebel, Roger is a real character and undoubtedly a talented addition to our group with his ear for music and inventive fill-ins. Him and Pete bring a varied and layered sound with their baritones. Roger is always first to help out with writing chord sheets and genuinely loves being a KLUCer.
“Hi I’m Michelle. I am lucky to have three wonderful daughters and family and friends that I adore. My full-time work involves the delivery of happiness and well-being for everyone in the form of water features and keeping children fit, happy and entertained with aquatic play. I have loved music ever since I can remember, beginning with piano lessons, grades and concerts as a youngster and am one that follows the ethos of having music wherever she goes. I come from a family of music lovers; my father’s Music House business did all of the sound and lighting in the Top of the Pops studios and my brother’s a DJ that has entertained crowds in many night spots in London and abroad.
Having been lucky enough to attend many festivals in my adulthood I have often admired the essence of jamming, watching the pleasures associated with a number of musicians playing their instruments together on stage, working together, complimenting each other, and generally building the momentum to the point where both band and audience arrive at musical euphoria. Music is created to be shared and delivers emotion and pleasure. A good song is drawn from feelings and it has the power to pull on our own heart strings, as much as a good tune with a good melody and rhythm will make us rise to our feet, make our bodies move and enjoy a good dance. Music is a multi-lingual language that everyone in the world can enjoy and a gift that delivers sweet harmonies to our minds, bodies and souls – I love it! You just can’t beat that interactive buzz of bouncing off each other on stage or on the dancefloor! And these are the reasons I stepped up to join KLUC and learn how to play the ukulele in 2016.
I can honestly say joining KLUC was one of the best decisions I have ever made, for the joy that KLUC gives me, and the joy we bring and deliver to others. The ukulele is a jolly instrument with a nice tone to play, and KLUC is a club made up of many lovely members and talented musicians that are a joy to play with. I thrive on the happiness that we all receive as a group in playing so many great songs that have been written before us, and the harmonies and interpretations that we create. In turn, we love making others happy in our entertainment, and others lively (when needed most) with our annual fundraising and donations to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.”
Michelle is our beaming ray of sunshine, always smiling and never failing to draw a crowd in. She’s also a great uke player and singer and we all love performing with her. She helps keep morale up and is always full of enthusiasm to learn and grow.
“I’m Keith and I started my life-long musical journey at the age of 14 and have been actively involved in musical performances ever since; over 40 years now. I’m from a working class family and was born and raised in the market town of Ormskirk, West Lancashire. I’ve had a very colourful life and before moving to Norfolk, spent 10 years living aboard a Narrowboat on the Leads and Liverpool Canal. I’ve worked with many varied ensembles, from solo and duet work, right up to chart topping bands like The La’s and O.M.D. and have an ongoing position within the 36 piece international orchestra, La Banda Europa. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, playing Tuba, Penny Whistles, Harmonica, and not to forget, the Ukulele.
I’m as daft as a brush and always up for a laugh, but take my music very seriously using my extensive knowledge and experience to help guide KLUC through new songs so we can deliver the best possible performance to our audiences. KLUC is a fantastic group of people to be involved with, and I’m glad that I, along with Andy English, got the club started. It can be challenging at times, but I’m not one to shy away from any musical challenge and will always find a way to make new songs work whenever possible, In fact, I find these challenges to be quite fun!
Crazy facts: I was in the first band ever to be known to play at the Damascus Gate to the city of Jerusalem, and actually ended up doing so while surrounded by Israeli soldiers, all pointing AK47’s at the band! I can breathe in and out simultaneously; a technique known as “circular breathing”, and I jointly hold 3 world records for being the first ever Radio Amateur to have a radio contact while using a backpack radio (I was in Christchurch, New Zealand, while my friend who was also using a backpack radio, was on the beach at Blackpool; a historical first that can never be beaten). I can also drink a pint of Guinness in under 3 seconds, and I’m also a woodturner and fretwork artist. Yep, I’m one crazy dude!”
Keith comes to us with a professional career in music and extensive theory knowledge which enables us to push our boundaries and create refreshingly new sounds. He’s also a friendly guy who will help anyone out and takes a real interest in seeing people grow to their full potential.
“Vocalist and Tenor Ukulele (first year beginner 😊). Now retired, my career was as an Industrial Electrician for over 40 years with the same company. My passion for music has been with me for as long as I can remember. My favourite genre is Country music, probably due to my father. Dad was American and was born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia where music was a major part of his family life in the early 1940’s. He was always playing Country music when I was growing up. It was only a few years ago that singing in public came into my life; I’m almost embarrassed to say “KARAOKE” started it all off. I would always be the first one up singing and my confidence grew. After a few karaoke evenings at The Anvil Inn, I was asked by Karl and Kath if I would entertain the diners at the monthly Community Lunch. This is where my introduction to KLUC started, firstly as a vocalist and now learning the Ukulele”.
Harvey is not only a great guy but also a great soloist whose voice has been known to leave women weeping! His singing has opened up many opportunities in our performance and his playing has come along in leaps and bounds over the last few months.
“I’m Ken and I live in Great Massingham. I’m a former chartered legal executive, historical interpreter and background artist. I’m also a proud owner of four sheds and maker of things (provided it’s not too difficult and there’s not too much measuring!) Enthusiastic strummer of ukuleles, I am also a scraper of washboards and hitter of cahons, plus a terrible player of harmonica and bowed psaltry (but not both at the same time!)”.
Ken has been a loyal KLUCer for several years now but has recently blossomed in the club with his many varying talents. His washboard antics go down a storm at gigs and his percussion skills and uke playing mean he’s a very versatile as well as much loved member of the gang.
“I’m Carol, a middle aged groupy, lol. Young at heart, I’ve still got the music in me! I have a background in musical theatre, choirs and dancing for many years. I’m loving my KLUC experience; a very friendly group and we have lots of fun. I’d recommend anyone to come join us and help raise money for Air Ambulance”
Carol came to us with a love of singing and performing but soon couldn’t resist picking up a uke and is now a great little player too, who is also great at singing harmonies in our pieces. Always smiling, she brings fun and laughter to our gigs.
“Retiring in June 2017, after 34 years working for the NHS one of the first things I did was to buy a Ukulele, in order to fulfil a long standing desire to learn a musical instrument. It stayed in a cupboard for a few months as my wife and I struggled with the daunting prospect of getting started, neither of us having any prior musical experience.18 months on, I have discovered for myself the joys of sore finger tips, torn cuticles and being the victim of Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome (three so far and looking at a forth).
I think I’m hooked!”
Neil’s enjoyment at playing uke was obvious from day one and he enthusiastically tackles every new challenge . His skills are improving all the time, now venturing his hand at solo singing for us too.
“I’m happily married to Neil, and yes the ukulele was in the cupboard for several months before joining KLUC, but has been used ever since with lots of enjoyment. I also love walking my Labrador Merri, playing petanque, badminton and swimming.”
Marilyn has thankfully dusted off that ukulele and launched herself onto the scene; she really enjoys gigging with us and usually brings a troop of supporters with her wherever we go which is lovely.
Bert is one of the nicest guys you could ever met and a joy to have as part of our team. An experienced uke player and all round great entertainer, a gig or a practice session is never quite as good when he’s not around.
“I’m a PhD student and freelance writer who loves travelling in Italy and beach bumming around Norfolk in my 1972 camper called Dottie. Never far from the coastline and usually with uke in hand, I’m a happy soul always looking for fun new adventures and sharing life with good friends. KLUC is my second family and I’m a proud mother hen. I play soprano uke but also own a sopranino; I used to play saxophone in my teen years and have just got her back out of the box so watch this space… ;-)”
Diane is an adored mother hen to KLUC and a very talented ukulele player and singer. All members appreciate Diane’s dedication to the success of KLUC with much of her time spent creating and uploading fresh playlists, taking gig bookings and organising all KLUCers to be at the right place at the right time to entertain! Diane has a fun-loving, kind, considerate and hard-working nature that makes her an absolute pleasure to be around and a joy to deal with. Diane is another member of the club that has an eye and ear for detail and is not shy of telling fellow KLUCers how a song or an arrangement can be improved – a piece of music will be worked on over and over on rehearsal nights until KLUC get it right. The show must go on and it does because we have Diane at the helm! (written by Michelle Minns-Sykes)