SMALLEST ATTENDANCE This Blackpool convention came later in our calendar than usual, we had to settle for a date in July as I assume that the Imperial Hotel could not accommodate us in June. Unfortunately, the GFS suffered somewhat with this meeting having the smallest attendance over the weekend that I can remember. What a shame, as the weekend itself was just as good as any other and the entertainment and entertainers on stage were brilliant, unusual, funny, different and always entertaining! PERSONALLY SPEAKING Personally speaking, I had a fantastic weekend! GFS Chairlady Caroline Stewart asked if I would like to MC for the Saturday night concert. This is not the first time that I have performed this role, but I have never combined it with my usual task of videoing the weekend. Needless to say, the whole Saturday evening just flew by and I was left at the end of the evening with some lovely memories of a great Saturday night. A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY The nicest part though just has to be when ever popular Lewis Clifton came on stage to sing his usual two songs and then I was delighted to present him with a large birthday card which had been signed by members throughout the room to mark Lewis’s 21st birthday. Lewis is in the top echelon of GFS Formby-style players and for me, it was a real treat just to share the same stage and to lead the audience with my old, out-of-tune voice in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for my dear pal. A lovely memory that I hope that Lewis and myself will savour for some time to come. SATURDAY NIGHT TREATS My Saturday night treats did not end with the brilliant Lewis Clifton! After the Saturday evening cinema viewing of “Keep Your Seats Please” in which we viewed good old George singing The Window Cleaner on his wooden uke, I was then able to introduce founder member John Walley who came on and performed the same song with the actual instrument that Formby played in the film! The only thing missing was that John did not perform the daft walk that George does halfway through the song! VITAL WORKERS An integral part of not just Saturday night’s show, but all the concerts throughout the weekend is the dedicated group of people who are always ready to ensure that the weekend is the success that it always is. Joe Sadler and Steve Langford are usually to be found on the audio equipment, a thankless and difficult task I think, but they never shirk the responsibility. When you pass through the entrance of the Lancastrian Suite, you are greeted at the reception desk by treasurer Andrew Gatherer, Andrew might not be a playing member of the GFS, but his dedication to the vital financial side of the GFS is to be commended. Andrew has been on the committee since 2003 and has been treasurer since 2005. I know from my involvement in running the Society Shop alongside Kathryn, just how vital Andrew’s role is, he does great work in a role that frankly nobody else wants to take on! JOHNNY KEY Johnny Key travels to every convention from the London area with his pal Ray Reynolds. Johnny is another who will do anything to help the meetings flow and is always hovering around the stage area to ensure that microphones are set correctly and any props that are needed for the performers (chairs, music stands etc) are readily available. Johnny is a great performer and is never daunted by singing George’s less popular numbers and does them so well. An unforgettable performance from Johnny on Saturday evening when he borrowed John Walley’s famed Formby wooden uke to play Formby’s “Quicktime Medley”. Johnny was brilliant and delivered the goods in style, a number that is rarely heard on the Blackpool stage, for many though, a magic Formby memory. I consider myself fortunate in that I can enjoy the weekend (not that I hear that much) and then go home, put all the video clips on the computer, strap on a pair of headphones and lo and behold, it all starts to make sense, I can even hear and laugh at Mervyn Kaye’s jokes! A MASTERCLASS I have to leave the main stage for a moment to cover an event which was hosted by Lewis Clifton and took place in one of the smaller rooms of the Imperial, it was packed to capacity with ukulele players who all wanted to hear the words of Lewis when he spoke for around one hour on how he adds extra chords to solos to make them much more interesting than the norm. You must understand that for Lewis to talk and play to a room full of ukulele players who are all armed with a banjo-uke can at times get a little noisy, but for a first time for Lewis, he did a great job. Confident and professional and the master of the afternoon, the audience hung on his every word. Let’s be honest, there are many in the room (myself included) for whom the lesson might not make that much difference, Lewis found a way in younger years to achieve the best that anyone can wish for - he is also I would say, a gifted player and those gifts are not given away easily. He chatted and shared unstintingly, all that he could with a very appreciative gathering. SUNDAY NIGHT Sunday night is the one time in the whole weekend when the performers can sing anything they like, it doesn’t have to be a Formby song. On most Sunday nights there is also no band and we rely on backing tracks. Gerry Mawdsley runs the Sunday night concert, both organising the players and doing the announcing. Gerry asked me why my name was not on the list of players and I said that because of my hearing difficulties I usually don’t bother. So Gerry immediately volunteered to partner up with me to sing any two songs that I wanted to. It is a rare treat to perform with the GFS President and I was very happy to take up Gerry’s offer - as was the audience as Gerry appearing on stage in a playing capacity is a rare sight these days. Gerry is a great player and a really good performer. He spent years in the clubs appearing with various bands and doing all sorts of entertaining - even fire eating! So whilst he was good enough to volunteer his services to help me out, I feel sure that future Blackpool audiences would love to see Gerry and his uke regularly, he is far too good not to be up there on the Blackpool stage. DYNAMIC DUO Another unusual feature on Sunday evening was a duo being allowed to sing four songs! Alan Yates and Mike Warren are another two players up there in the Premier Division of banjo-uke players and the dynamic duo finished off the Sunday concert with a great display of singing and playing, leaving the entire room shouting for more. FAMILIAR FACES A nice surprise was to see honorary member Dennis Mitchell walk into the room on Saturday morning. Dennis is, of course, the creator of the famed Mitchell Monarch banjo-uke and over many years he served the GFS so well as Chairman and also Concert Organiser and MC. Senior members Mac and Millie McGee have been attending Blackpool meetings for many years. It is sad that members cannot be with us in Blackpool owing to advancing years. Mac, Millie and Dennis are all part of the fabric of the Blackpool conventions and it was lovely to see them once again enjoying all that is good about the GFS.
july 2019
Small attendance but a memorable meeting
GFS PLAYERS ASSEMBLE FOR THE GROUP PHOTO
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU”
A VISITOR FROM CANADA! ANN MEETS ANDY
JOHNNY KEY PLAYS A VERY FAMOUS UKULELE
LEWIS GREETS DENNIS MITCHELL
MIKE WARREN AND ALAN YATES
LEWIS CLIFTON DEMONSTRATES!
Because of the delay from June to July, September is just around the corner when we will do it all again, the most important of the four conventions when I feel sure that we will be playing to capacity audiences, make sure that you are part of it!
SMALLEST ATTENDANCE This Blackpool convention came later in our calendar than usual, we had to settle for a date in July as I assume that the Imperial Hotel could not accommodate us in June. Unfortunately, the GFS suffered somewhat with this meeting having the smallest attendance over the weekend that I can remember. What a shame, as the weekend itself was just as good as any other and the entertainment and entertainers on stage were brilliant, unusual, funny, different and always entertaining! PERSONALLY SPEAKING Personally speaking, I had a fantastic weekend! GFS Chairlady Caroline Stewart asked if I would like to MC for the Saturday night concert. This is not the first time that I have performed this role, but I have never combined it with my usual task of videoing the weekend. Needless to say, the whole Saturday evening just flew by and I was left at the end of the evening with some lovely memories of a great Saturday night. A VERY SPECIAL BIRTHDAY The nicest part though just has to be when ever popular Lewis Clifton came on stage to sing his usual two songs and then I was delighted to present him with a large birthday card which had been signed by members throughout the room to mark Lewis’s 21st birthday. Lewis is in the top echelon of GFS Formby-style players and for me, it was a real treat just to share the same stage and to lead the audience with my old, out-of-tune voice in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for my dear pal. A lovely memory that I hope that Lewis and myself will savour for some time to come. SATURDAY NIGHT TREATS My Saturday night treats did not end with the brilliant Lewis Clifton! After the Saturday evening cinema viewing of “Keep Your Seats Please” in which we viewed good old George singing The Window Cleaner on his wooden uke, I was then able to introduce founder member John Walley who came on and performed the same song with the actual instrument that Formby played in the film! The only thing missing was that John did not perform the daft walk that George does halfway through the song! VITAL WORKERS An integral part of not just Saturday night’s show, but all the concerts throughout the weekend is the dedicated group of people who are always ready to ensure that the weekend is the success that it always is. Joe Sadler and Steve Langford are usually to be found on the audio equipment, a thankless and difficult task I think, but they never shirk the responsibility. When you pass through the entrance of the Lancastrian Suite, you are greeted at the reception desk by treasurer Andrew Gatherer, Andrew might not be a playing member of the GFS, but his dedication to the vital financial side of the GFS is to be commended. Andrew has been on the committee since 2003 and has been treasurer since 2005. I know from my involvement in running the Society Shop alongside Kathryn, just how vital Andrew’s role is, he does great work in a role that frankly nobody else wants to take on! JOHNNY KEY Johnny Key travels to every convention from the London area with his pal Ray Reynolds. Johnny is another who will do anything to help the meetings flow and is always hovering around the stage area to ensure that microphones are set correctly and any props that are needed for the performers (chairs, music stands etc) are readily available. Johnny is a great performer and is never daunted by singing George’s less popular numbers and does them so well. An unforgettable performance from Johnny on Saturday evening when he borrowed John Walley’s famed Formby wooden uke to play Formby’s “Quicktime Medley”. Johnny was brilliant and delivered the goods in style, a number that is rarely heard on the Blackpool stage, for many though, a magic Formby memory. I consider myself fortunate in that I can enjoy the weekend (not that I hear that much) and then go home, put all the video clips on the computer, strap on a pair of headphones and lo and behold, it all starts to make sense, I can even hear and laugh at Mervyn Kaye’s jokes! A MASTERCLASS I have to leave the main stage for a moment to cover an event which was hosted by Lewis Clifton and took place in one of the smaller rooms of the Imperial, it was packed to capacity with ukulele players who all wanted to hear the words of Lewis when he spoke for around one hour on how he adds extra chords to solos to make them much more interesting than the norm. You must understand that for Lewis to talk and play to a room full of ukulele players who are all armed with a banjo-uke can at times get a little noisy, but for a first time for Lewis, he did a great job. Confident and professional and the master of the afternoon, the audience hung on his every word. Let’s be honest, there are many in the room (myself included) for whom the lesson might not make that much difference, Lewis found a way in younger years to achieve the best that anyone can wish for - he is also I would say, a gifted player and those gifts are not given away easily. He chatted and shared unstintingly, all that he could with a very appreciative gathering. SUNDAY NIGHT Sunday night is the one time in the whole weekend when the performers can sing anything they like, it doesn’t have to be a Formby song. On most Sunday nights there is also no band and we rely on backing tracks. Gerry Mawdsley runs the Sunday night concert, both organising the players and doing the announcing. Gerry asked me why my name was not on the list of players and I said that because of my hearing difficulties I usually don’t bother. So Gerry immediately volunteered to partner up with me to sing any two songs that I wanted to. It is a rare treat to perform with the GFS President and I was very happy to take up Gerry’s offer - as was the audience as Gerry appearing on stage in a playing capacity is a rare sight these days. Gerry is a great player and a really good performer. He spent years in the clubs appearing with various bands and doing all sorts of entertaining - even fire eating! So whilst he was good enough to volunteer his services to help me out, I feel sure that future Blackpool audiences would love to see Gerry and his uke regularly, he is far too good not to be up there on the Blackpool stage. DYNAMIC DUO Another unusual feature on Sunday evening was a duo being allowed to sing four songs! Alan Yates and Mike Warren are another two players up there in the Premier Division of banjo-uke players and the dynamic duo finished off the Sunday concert with a great display of singing and playing, leaving the entire room shouting for more. FAMILIAR FACES A nice surprise was to see honorary member Dennis Mitchell walk into the room on Saturday morning. Dennis is, of course, the creator of the famed Mitchell Monarch banjo-uke and over many years he served the GFS so well as Chairman and also Concert Organiser and MC. Senior members Mac and Millie McGee have been attending Blackpool meetings for many years. It is sad that members cannot be with us in Blackpool owing to advancing years. Mac, Millie and Dennis are all part of the fabric of the Blackpool conventions and it was lovely to see them once again enjoying all that is good about the GFS. Because of the delay from June to July, September is just around the corner when we will do it all again, the most important of the four conventions when I feel sure that we will be playing to capacity audiences, make sure that you are part of it!
Small attendance but a memorable meeting
GFS PLAYERS ASSEMBLE FOR THE GROUP PHOTO
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU”
A VISITOR FROM CANADA! ANN MEETS ANDY
JOHNNY KEY PLAYS A VERY FAMOUS UKULELE
LEWIS CLIFTON DEMONSTRATES!
PETER POLLARD & GERRY MAWDSLEY
MIKE WARREN & ALAN YATES
LEWIS GREETS HONORARY MEMBER DENNIS MITCHELL