In 1980 Gary received an inspiration that Shenanigans was the name of for a band he was forming with his music teaching colleagues Christoph and Audrey. Over the next 37 years many musicians and teachers have contributed to the well-established group, which still provides live bands and recorded music for a wide variety of educational and celebratory situations.
Gary remains the creative director of the group and manages the administration side. He often acts as the band leader at performances, and spends time researching and expanding the groups repertoire. He is a dancer, musician and writer of songs, mainly children’s items.
With an view to passing on this rich heritage, Gary has begun nurturing ‘new’ young and talented musicians. This group aims to perform for motivated groups including churches, who seek to raise community spirit.
Micah, Gary’s youngest son, has not surprisingly, developed a passion for music. But what kind of music? New interests grow before your eyes like fresh young bamboo shoots. While completing year 12 music at NCAT (Northern College of Arts and Technology), he created a neo-punk band called “Piquee” (see https://www.facebook.com/piqueband/), and won a recording contract to produce an EP (see ShenanigansMusic.net for our artists’ CDs) which features his original musical compositions and lyrics.
Then, while waitering at the Horn of Africa Restaurant he gleaned influences from an “Ethiopean Hip-Hop/Jazz” band, and has formed a new band called Lunatones which is jazz influenced, and has also taken up clarinet, no wait it’s tenor sax! He is one to watch.
Quin is the son of Matthew a long-time performer with Shenanigans. He is currently studying at University of Melbourne. Matthew has extended and enhanced Quin’s accomplishment as a classically trained violinist with a diet of gypsy jazz , folk and improvisation. Quin has become committed to finding his own niche in the rich cultural mix of Melbourne’s world of music.
Ginger began her musical journey in choirs. From Berwick Youth Choir (now Melbourne Youth Chorale) to nation-wide choirs like Gondwana, she developed a strong love for music and the community-mindedness it creates. In 2014, she discovered folk music, complex and yet unpretentious. As a founding member of Celtic group Co-cheòl, she has played at many festivals around the country and been exposed to the best of what folk music offers – warmth, joy, understanding, and connection with the people and place. Recent friendships promise to endure for a lifetime, with a feeling that anything is possible.
Merrily loves dancing and is also an accomplished and inventive flautist. She resonates on a frequency of high spirits and community togetherness.
Terry is a popular leader and caller for the Shenanigans Community Dance events, especially in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, where he is based, supported by Ian and Cat.
He has been a multi-instrumental, multi-dimensional musician and circus performer at
Festivals, Schools and Corporate Events since 1982.
He currently involved in teacher training at Australian Catholic University, and teaches violin, recorder and keyboards, and also plays guitar, mandolin, Didgeridoo, Flute, Clarinet and Saxophones. He is musical director of the Footscray Gypsies – a 20+ piece Euro, Balkan, Klezmer, Gypsy Orchestra.
Has performed at:
Here is a link to some footage:
Ian is an amazing all-rounder with a great deal of experience in bush bands. He plays fiddle and mandolin, also sings and plays guitar.
Catherine, until recently the youngest member, was a music student of Gary when she was 4 years old! And she has been into music ever since, now playing clarinet and piano accordion She has has been keeping street music alive in the beachside suburb of Black Rock for the last eight years with the Black Rock Street Musos, who entertain passers-by with a variety of folk and trad. jazz items.
Maggie is fast becoming the main leader and dance caller for Shenanigans Bush Dances, supported by Tony and Steve.
She studied classical violin with Paul McDermott (former concertmaster with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), piano with Jos Serré. She holds an Associate Diploma from the London College of Music, Master of Education and Graduate Diploma in music education from Monash University, and is an experienced Primary teacher.
Maggie pursues her love of Irish, Scottish, American and Australian traditional fiddle music. She is well known as a teacher of traditional fiddle, and conducts regular fiddle workshops. She can be found playing violin in dance bands, sessions and concerts around Melbourne and at folk festivals.
A keen contradancer and caller, she created, together with Gary, a contra dance club in Melbourne. See https://www.facebook.com/Contradition
Recent performances include
• Nariel Folk Festival, Vic
• Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania
• Victorian Folk Music Club Bush Dance
• Colonial Dancers Spring Ball
• Assumption College, Kilmore, Vic, senior students’ bush dance
• Molly Malone Hotel, Devonport, Tas.
• Inverloch Jazz Festival, Vic
• Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, NSW
• Fiddlehead Festival, Yinnar, Vic
• Mountain Pickers Association club night
• Contradition Contra Dance series, Northcote, Vic.
Publications and recordings include
• Maggie Duncan and Norm Adams – Introduction to Old-Time Fiddle (2001) – book and double CD set.
• Maggie Duncan – Chestnut Street Orchestra: Dance Tunes for Two Fiddles (2014)
• High Times String Band – Good Time Coming (1990); Way Down the Track (2001)
• Appalachian Heaven String Band – In the Pines (2010); Railroadin’ &Gamblin(2011); Been All Around This World (2012)
• Eileen McCoy – Apple Isle Fiddler (2002)
• Shenanigans Dance Band – Folk Dances of Terra Australis
• John Rasmussen – October Moon (2010)
Steve has been playing Bush music since he was a ‘spring chicken’. He has played guitar, sung and called the bush dances in The Moondance Band, Bush Remedy, Eucalypso, The Warner Brothers and now in Shenanigans. He also has two solo albums to his credit.
Steve’s song list is impressive and can be obtained on request.
Multi instrumentalist, arranger and recording artist AJ Leonard is one of Australia’s pioneer ukulele players and is considered to be among the best in this world.
A “Baby-boomer”, AJ spent his formative years in the early sixties in America but returned to Australia in time for the British beat invasion and the coming of age of Australian pop and rock. His desire to emulate his heroes led him to trade in his father’s tennis racket for a real guitar and this was his first step toward self-expression and a future in showbiz. A few years later, an interest in string instruments led him to mandolin, ukulele and bouzouki, closely followed by the piano.
AJ drew inspiration from the qualities of these instruments to create a pipeline of creativity, and his own unique slant slant on songwriting and composition.
The 70s saw him performing in folk clubs, theatre restaurants and festivals and in the 80’s, he experimented in electronics and writing music for film. In the 90s AJ returned to acoustic music, including his ukulele, which he had neglected for a decade in its case. However a trip to Hawaii in 2006 provided a turning point and he rediscovered this humblest of instruments.
Gary has produced for the Shenanigans group 10 collections of dances and music in CD and booklet format. (see our sales catalogue). These products augment the educational programs of the group, along with Gary’s Master of Education degree (on the topic of responsiveness and creativity in music teaching) and plays guitar, and mandolin in the bush band. He also plays ethnic folk instruments including bouzouki, hurdy gurdy and Swedish bagpipes and for many years acted as secretary of a community “gypsy” orchestra (See https://www.facebook.com/orkeztra )