From busking to festivals and now the international stage: Port Macquarie's Z Chords are about to take the world by storm.
The popular ukulele group is next year heading across the ditch to play at the New Zealand Ukulele Festival in Geraldine.
Attending the international festival is an extension of the group's growth and desire to continually improve playing the popular instrument, says Z Chord founder Khristina Joy.
She said the group has well and truly cemented its place within the Port Macquarie community.
"We have quite a good profile now and will celebrate our sixth year of performing at the Australia Day celebrations in 2020," she said.
"The group has about 15 core performers - some of whom are also now taking singing lessons.
"I am just so impressed with these people. I am learning all the time from them.
"The contacts we have made and the support we received is just wonderful."
Ms Joy says the group is making a difference for several reasons.
She said the current emphasis on mental health is being met through the group's engagement in music and performance.
"The Z Chords is also about keeping older people busy and stimulated, occupied and challenged," she said.
"Members of the group are performing to a degree they never thought they could reach.
"For me as a teacher and performer it is very exciting to see their bravery: some of these people are getting up and performing solos.
"Many of the group have not participated in music previous to the Z Chords and there are strong friendships being formed too.
As long as we have fun and we're all enjoying playing the instrument and even singing.Khristina Joy
"I am always amazed at the number of talented retired people in this area," she said.
With the Z Chords comprising ukulele players from across the area, the sole guiding factors in joining the group are enthusiasm and a willingness to achieve a better band performance.
"That, and not doing anything necessarily complicated. As long as we have fun and we're all enjoying playing the instrument and even singing," she added.
The group has tapped into people's potential while offering some kind of escapism for others.
With the ukulele enjoying resurgences through the 50s and 60s, Khristina said the quality of the current instrument and its accessibility were key to a more consistent future.
"People who have always wanted to do music have found they can with an ukulele. It is a forgiving instrument with its own unique personality - not unlike the people who play them!"
The Z Chords have done some busking at The Westport Club and will also perform at this year's Christmas Under The Stars.
The Z Chords rehearse each Saturday afternoon at the Conservatorium of the Mid North Coast on Hollingworth Street. This is the same venue for singing lessons.
UkeClubJAM is on the second and fourth Monday night also at CMNC while Madukes is on every Friday at the Lake Cathie Bowling Club.
For information on playing the ukulele contact Khristina via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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