Sandra Beynon of Willie Nelson’s Love Child at the Red Hill guitar shop with some of the donated ukuleles. Photo: Sandra Beynon
by: Drew Creighton
Forty ukuleles have been donated to Thursday Island children in hope of sparking a passion in music.
Husband-and-wife duo Willie Nelson’s Love Child inspired by famous guitarist Keith Richards and singer Willie Nelson, have embarked on the project.
And it’s not the first philanthropic venture Sandra and Sean Beynon have undertaken – they previously helped raised funds on tour for drought affected farmers in Queensland.
“Last year we went to outback Queensland for 38 days and we were raising money for Aussie Helpers Drought Relief as part of our tour,” Sandra said.
“After the success of that tour, I thought I’d like to do another remote area and maybe bring some ukuleles for the kids.”
The duo put together a tour of the Torres Strait, Cape York, Bamaga, Thursday Island and managed to ask friends, family and associates to donate so they could take 40 ukuleles up north.
“The owner of The Guitar Shop at Red Hill started it off by donating 10 and then I texted all my friends and associates to sponsor a whole uke for $40 or a half uke for $20.
“Before I knew it we had enough money to pack up 40 of the ukes to take to Thursday Island.
“We’re going to be doing some classes with the school Tagai College and have a little get together with the families after school and have a play.”
Sandra said the idea for the ukuleles came from her own love of the instrument and from how easy it is to play.
“There’s so much bad press about what happens in remote communities with kids and I think if someone can give them an interest and a real love of something, that would be great.
“If a couple of lives are saved by something like music, then that is a great achievement.”
Taking leave from her own show, the primary students at Tagai College will be starting their music lesson with the 1920s classic Corrina Corrina.
“By tuning the uke in open tuning, like Keith Richards guitar, it’s really easy to play, you don’t have to learn chord position, you just lay your finger across the bars and you can play.
“We were looking for something the kids could have a good success rate with and they could learn all together.
“Islanders have a really great built in sense of rhythm, so to play the ukuleles would be really achievable for them.”