The Barn Howlers Ukulele Club have featured in the pages of The Vellum on one or two occasions in the past and I am happy to report on their continuing success after making my first visit to this happy venue on the occasion of the presentation of the GFS 2018 Ukulele Raffle prize to lucky winner, Jim Ellis. GFS Vice-President Andrew Poppleton and I made the journey through beautiful Pennine country to the village of Uppermill where the Cross Keys pub is situated and where the Barn Howlers Ukulele Club have gathered once a week for the last ten years to sing and play not just George Formby songs, but anything that anyone might just fancy on the day.


Branches of the GFS usually meet monthly and I have always thought that the Yorkshire Ukulele Circle was unique for getting together twice a month to sing and play at two venues in Mirfield and Wakefield. The Barn Howlers though must take a prize for actually meeting once a week! Their meeting place is a special “barn” type room separate from the pub but within very easy reach of the bar facilities and I have to say that the welcome that both Andy and myself received was so warm and friendly that we knew immediately that the next three hours would be totally entertaining and enjoyable.


I find that the best branch meetings are usually those that are found in smaller rooms. The Castleford GFS branch for instance does not even have a stage! Rest assured though that should you visit them, I can guarantee you a smashing evening of ukulele entertainment. The Barn Howlers room at the Cross Keys pub generates the same warm and friendly atmosphere where you are made welcome and feel at home the moment that you walk through the door. No one learning the ukulele should be in any doubt or have any misgivings about visiting the club, that friendly welcome is reserved for all and much of the afternoon was taken up with group thrashes with just a few solo performances. All totally enjoyable and all levels of playing ability are catered for.


The two of us arrived at 12:30 and the clock soon found its way to 3:00 in the afternoon with non-stop entertainment all the way. Those of us who attend the Blackpool conventions and watch the films will know Jim Makin who is responsible for projecting the films at the national meetings. The same Jim Makin is the man who welcomed us through the door and entertained us all throughout the afternoon with his jokes, playing and organisational skills. The Barn Howlers might not be an official branch of the GFS but frankly who cares? Jim and his pals are members of the Society and they choose to entertain themselves in their own very special way and I can promise you that if you make the effort to visit them, you will not be disappointed. One thing that they don’t actually need is bums on seats! The room was full when we arrived and stayed that way right until the end of the meeting. No matter what the playing ability of any individual, everyone at a Barn Howlers meeting is part of the entertainment and they all have found out just why a simple instrument like the ukulele can be so much fun and so entertaining. I will definitely be returning! Once again, many congratulations to Jim Ellis who was delighted to receive his new ukulele after been fortunate enough to have his ticket pulled out of the drum by raffle organiser Kathryn Pollard.
The Barn Howlers
Entertainment all the way!

Andy presents Jim Ellis with his prize

Jim Makin and The Barn Howlers