Lorraine Haywood, Ron Perkins and Amy Guppy are part of Australia’s largest accordion band and practice every Thursday. Photo: Max Fleet acc0402a
Lorraine Haywood, Ron Perkins and Amy Guppy are part of Australia’s largest accordion band and practice every Thursday. Photo: Max Fleet acc0402a

One big Happy band

BUNDABERG’S got talent – and being home to what is probably the biggest accordion band in the country proves it.

The 27 members of the Happy Notes Accordion Band meet once a week for rehearsals, and they are so popular they have to limit the number of performances they put on.

“We think we must be the biggest in the country. We’ve never heard of any others as big as we are,” conductor Jennifer James said.

“We’ve heard of other bands on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, but they’re not as big as we are.”

Mrs James said the band started in about 2002, when several members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) who all played the accordion started thinking about forming a band.

The performers, who are still all U3A members, range in age from their late 50s up to the oldest member who is 86.

The band is a regular drawcard at retirement villages and nursing homes around the Bundaberg district.

“We play a lot of the singalong tunes, some light classics and songs the people there would know,” Mrs James said.

The band also performs regularly for the Salvation Army and at other charity organisations.

Mrs James said every November the band presented a program of Scottish music in the CBD pavilion.

However, in a change of pace, it will be playing Irish music for St Patrick’s Day celebrations next month.

“We keep very busy so we try to limit our performances to twice a month, because the members have got other things they do,” Mrs James said.

And just because they are the biggest band on the block already does not mean the Happy Notes do not have room for more players in their fold.

“We’re happy to take new players, but they need to know a little about music,” Mrs James said.



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