Sweet music: Lynden Jacobi, Anne Cowper, Penny Creighton and Gail Walsh are Threepence. Picture: Simone De PeakPENNY Creighton was “very reluctant” when a friend suggested they attend a ukulele class.
“She said ‘Let’s give it a go’ and so I thought sure, I’d go and see what it was like,” she said.
“I thought ‘This is not going to be cool’ –but I was wrong. It’s been wonderful and such a learning curve.
“The crux of it has been all the people I’ve met along the way – and I continue to make new friends all the time.”
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Fast forward six years and Ms Creighton has formed group Threepence, which perform an eclectic repertoire of songs from genres including blues, folk and country.
The now-four piece will be on the main stage at the biennial Newkulele Festival, which opens with a ticketed Friday night concert.
Ms Creighton, who is the festival’s creative director, said the three-day eventaims to both include and inspire music lovers, regardless of expertise or age.
“Ukuleles have had a bad rap and Tiny Tim did the ukulele an incredible injustice,” she said.
“I think people think ukuleles are cheap things and you just strum, strum strum.
“But people are out there changing perceptions of it.
“You can get them for $40 or a fortune.
“They’re a lovely way of bringing people together, accessible and affordable.
“I love the fact it has got four strings, it’s portable and you can sing along with it.
“They teach you a few chords and you can get going straight away.
“There’s the matter of whether you do it well or not, but that doesn’t matter when it’s you and a few friends – it’s about the joy it brings.”
The festival, at Newcastle City Hall, includes workshops,performances, an open mic stage, markets and a Saturday concert featuring Hawaiians Honoka and Azita.