Country music group hangs up its picks

(At back) Nanette Watts, Op Shop volunteer Ronnie Foster, Max Berger and Joan McCosker; (middle) Patti Pillar and Audrey McAlister; and (front) Inez Butler and Op Shop volunteer Sandra Davies. Absent but also part of the County Music Association were Eric Butler and Beryl Taylor.

(At back) Nanette Watts, Op Shop volunteer Ronnie Foster, Max Berger and Joan McCosker; (middle) Patti Pillar and Audrey McAlister; and (front) Inez Butler and Op Shop volunteer Sandra Davies. Absent but also part of the County Music Association were Eric Butler and Beryl Taylor.

After many years of entertaining crowds at markets, social events and other occasions, the members of the Tentefield Community Country Music Association are disbanding.

Founder Inez Butler and band members handed over a $3868 donation to the Westpac Helicopter Support Group on Tuesday, April 18 as part of the process of distributing the association’s assets.

“Because none of us know when we’ll need it,” Inez said.

Other community groups to receive donations include the Wallangarra/Jennings Progress Association, Sunnyside Hall committee, Tenterfield Legacy and the Tenterfield Railway Museum group. Proceeds from the sale of remaining assets like sound equipment will be donated to the Steinbrook Hall committee.

We’ll still get around and make a bit of noise.

Inez Butler

Fans of the country music band needn’t be too distraught as, while the association is formally disbanding, Inez said the group would still be ‘popping up’ on occasion.

“We’ll still get around and make a bit of noise,” she said.

Among the regular gigs that will continue are the monthly sing-alongs at Millrace and Haddington, where the entertainers get as much out of the experience as the residents.

Inez said it all started 32 years ago when she used to sing for patients in the Burke long-stay unit at the hospital, having barely learned to play the guitar.

“I love playing for the oldies,” she said.

“You think they’re not listening, but then you see a finger or toe start tapping...”

The band had regular spots at markets around the district,  as well as appearing at fundraisers and occasionally hosting all-day music sessions at Steinbrook Hall. Their appearance at the monthly Wallangarra Railway Markets was appreciated and well-supported, with regulars always dropping money in the hat.

The gang performing at one of their favourite haunts, the Wallangarra Railway Markets.

The gang performing at one of their favourite haunts, the Wallangarra Railway Markets.

But with a lack of volunteers, the association has decided to call it a day.

“Health-wise we’re getting over the hill,” Inez said.

She said the group has always enjoyed strong community support, particularly when Inez was devastated by the theft of the band’s equipment from Steinbrook Hall several years ago and community members and organisations rallied to replace it.

“They’ve been wonderful to us, and it’s always been appreciated,” she said.