Piano picture

The Joy Girls Bring Jazz and Banjo Music Magic to Beauty Point Resort

Posted on April 19, 2022

You may have heard the saying – from little things, big things grow! Well, that’s what happened when two residents at Beauty Point Retirement Resort – Lyn Brewer and Barbara Beale – thought it would be a good idea to bring some great musical entertainment to the resort.

First, they brought the Sydney Banjo Band, and then Robbie Mann – an accomplished jazz pianist. And how were they received? Both performances played to packed audiences in the resort’s lounge.

Lyn and Barbara were so happy they’d been able to bring this joy to the resort, and they acknowledge it was only achieved with full support from the village management and team. As Lyn says: “Everyone was so open to it. Ruth said it was like ‘manna from heaven’.” And Barbara adds, she said: “Yes! Go for it”.

And so, the Joy Girls were born with Lyn, Barbara and Ruth bringing the music and magic to Beauty Point Retirement Resort.

The goal was to share the joy of music

Lyn and Barbara said: “We wanted to bring joy to the residents. Lyn continues “Our aim was for everybody to go and sit in the beautiful dining room and see people having a nice time.

Why was the Sydney Banjo Band picked to play?

As Barbara says: “Both Lyn and I are keen on music and we know how important music is to everybody – it’s so good for people to sit back and enjoy a live performance.” Lyn adds: “We had seen the Sydney Banjo Band - we often call them the Banjo Boys - and we asked them to come and play. And that’s where it all started.”

But Barbara adds: “Honestly, I didn't think many people would turn up. I thought if we get 20, I’ll be really pleased.’ Well, we got 80.”

How did they know people would enjoy banjo and jazz?

Barbara is quick to add she’s found many people aren’t too sure if they like banjo or jazz music. As she says: “When you mention the banjo to people they’ll often say, ‘Oh, I hate the banjo.’ So many people make jokes about the banjo - even banjo players themselves! They know all the jokes!”

”And if you mention a jazz band, you often get the same reaction - ‘Oh, I hate jazz.’ Right? Well, we had 80 residents listening to that banjo band and lots of people keep talking to us about the performance - and they already want them back. So, the banjo wins out right?” she laughs.

After the amazing success of the Sydney Banjo Band, the Joy Girls thought they couldn’t stop there. Next they brought 32-year-old jazz pianist, Robbie Mann, to Beauty Point to play the grand piano.

Barbara has known Robbie for many years as he’s from the Blue Mountains where she used to live. As she says: “Robbie came and played and I couldn’t believe how well it went, it was so exciting. People are still talking about it because not only is he the most skilled classical pianist – he’s also lovely. He talked to people in the audience and now they’re asking when is he coming back?’”

Barbara adds: “Robbie was praising the piano saying it was a beautiful grand piano – which it is. George, the owner of Beauty Point Resort, offered he could come here and play it any time he liked.’ And then Lisa said to Robbie, ‘We'll have to get you as a regular, eh?’”

A large audience enjoyed Robbie Mann’s jazz piano playing

There was a large audience for Robbie and Barbara says, even though he plays in a lot of bands and at different venues - even he was astounded by the number of people waiting for him when he walked into the lounge.

Robbie told the Joy Girls he loved playing at the resort because he enjoyed the audience, the grand piano and the acoustics in the room.

“He also plays the clarinet and he brought it with him. He’s been busking with the clarinet in Katoomba and in Springwood, to try and get a few dollars because he hasn’t had much work due to COVID. Anyway, I nearly cried, to be honest. It was just beautiful,” she says.

“Honestly, there was such a great feeling after Robbie’s performance – it was like he didn't want to leave in the end, even though he had to go back to the Blue Mountains because he had a student to teach. I think he thoroughly enjoyed it and I think the people thoroughly enjoyed him. Anyway, he’s just marvellous,” she adds.

Barbara adds: “I asked one of the residents if he enjoyed Robbie’s performance and he said, ‘Yes, that's my kind of music.’ He said, ‘I was born in the 1930s and Robbie plays stride piano the way jazz piano was played originally.’”

Bringing the magic of live music to everyone

Barbara and Lyn have enjoyed bringing the magic of music to Beauty Point Retirement Resort. Barbara has loved music for most of her life and she says: “I’ve hung around the jazz scene listening to music for more than 50 years.” Because she’s gained so much from music, she wanted to pass that on. She found a soul mate in Lyn when they went out to see some live jazz.

Lyn says it changed her attitude forever. “I’ve gone to clubs and things like that,” says Lyn, “but then Barbara started taking me to the club for the jazz music. I mean, I’m 77, but now Barbara’s shown me how good music can be, I can't wait. I can’t do other things, because I say, ‘No, I’ve got to go out.’”

Barbara laughs and says: “That’s what we’re doing right. We're having fun and we’re bringing joy. If you haven't seen much live music then I think that’s what gets you. I think live music—that’s where the magic is.”

Lyn adds: “Because you watch them playing it, you see the expressions on their face. They'll be playing the trumpet one minute and then they'll sing a song and it’s just their face and their shoulders are going up and down while they’re singing and next minute the harmonica comes up and they play. Then they go back to singing or playing the trumpet or whatever. And you just sit there and enjoy it all.”

Barbara chimes in saying: “I might add that many of these musicians have world-wide reputations. They’re mainly older men and they've toured the world with all the famous Australian jazz bands. They’re top-class musicians.”

What’s next from the Joy Girls?

Barbara and Lyn have plans! “The Joy Girls have a few more things happening. We've got a ukulele group coming in May and then we’ll have some repeat acts. We’ll work in with Ruth” says Lyn.

Barbara says she’ll be playing with the ukulele group because she’s been playing with them for 14 years. “Originally, I was a piano player and I’ve never played a string instrument before. I kept saying, ‘Oh, this ukulele doesn't work and I can't do this, blah, blah, blah. But they encouraged me. So, they'll come and we'll have a big sing-along,” she laughs.

In June, the Joy Girls are bringing the Bridge City Jazz Band to the resort for ‘A Night in New Orleans’ with dancing and singing.

As the Joy Girls continue to bring their own brand of joy and magic to Beauty Point Retirement Resort, it seems appropriate to close with some wise words from Lyn on behalf of the Joy Girls:

“It’s never too late to discover music. It’s never too late to discover anything - but it's never too late to discover music that’s for certain.”