AT 90 years young, Yvonne de Bie is the oldest and longest-standing member of the Merriwa Ukulele Club.
Mrs de Bie was one of the first to join when local musician and group director Brian Hibbitt established the ensemble in 2014.
Her son introduced her to ukuleles after a shoulder injury prevented her from continuing to play piano.
The Merriwa resident never misses a rehearsal or performance, despite having a full schedule with her 20 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren.
“When I first started playing the ukulele it was a challenge, but it keeps my brain active and the songs keep me young at heart and my son and I can play duets for the family,” she said.
Mrs DeBie said her first performance in front of a live audience was at Ocean Keys Shopping Centre and while she was nervous at first, she now enjoys every minute.
“It’s a great atmosphere performing in front of lots of people at the centre; my favourite song to perform is Ricky Nelson’s Hello Mary Lou,” she said.
Due to perform tonight, the Merriwa Ukulele Club is one of many musical ensembles and dance groups that will perform at the Clarkson shopping centre this festive season.
It will perform a repertoire of classic rock and pop plus Christmas carols from 6pm on November 3, then December 1 and 17.
The club has about 30 members and meets at the Jenolan Way Community Centre every Wednesday from 6.30-9.30pm. Call Brian on 0422 405 021.
Centre manager Karen Draper said other groups keen to perform in the centre could call 9407 2400.
“Offering a space where locals can connect and support each other helps foster a lovely sense of community,” she said.
“There are so many talented performers in the area, we wanted to offer an opportunity for them to share their passion and add to the festive atmosphere.”
Festive season performers at Ocean Keys
November 26: Da Beat dancers
November 28: Circle of Friends Choral Group
December 1: Da Beat dancers, Merriwa Ukulele Club
December 3: Da Beat dancers
December 4: North Coast Children’s Choir
December 7: Alkimos School Choir
December 8: Da Beat dancers, Da Beat singers, Chorus Group
December 10: Da Beat dancers
December 11: Time for Dance group
December 12: Circle of Friends Choral Group
December 13: Kinross Primary School Choir
December 15: All That Jazz Dance Studio, Chorus Group
December 16: Impact Dance Factory
December 17: HG Dance, Merriwa Ukulele Club
December 18: All That Jazz Dance Studio
December 19-23: Da Beat singers