Country music has always been about more than just the music for local country singer and Lions Club volunteer Di Masters.
It’s about community, she said and, more importantly, it’s about the people you meet.
She charts her own musical prowess back to her mother, who “could play just about any instrument she picked up” and to her childhood growing up on the Bungendore property ‘Gidleigh,’ a rural setting she described as “very country.”
“2CA radio used to play country music and Dad would always have the wireless on, so I just copied what I heard on the wireless.”
Over the years Di has performed with more bands than she can remember, and travelled far and wide to country music festivals across the country. She’s still active in the country community, and is a committee member for the Bungendore Country Muster. She’s also judged country music at festivals across the region for the last 23 years, and organises country concerts at the Queanbeyan Kangaroos Club.
But working with the local Lions Club as Vice President for the last five years has allowed Di to combine her love of music with the pride and enjoyment she takes in helping less fortunate members of the community.
She books artists for Sunday afternoon shows at the club, a timeslot which enables elderly members of the community to come along and enjoy the music, and after paying the band all the money raised from ticket prices goes to local children with cancer through the Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group.
One concert in particular still brings a tear to her eye.
“There was a little girl in this region who was very, very sick and needed money for a transplant operation,” she recalls.
“I hit the phones, and within 24 hour we had 3 bands and 36 singers, and the Roos club donated the room for free. We ended up raising $23,000 for that little girl.
“To see that little child walking around today when she was so sick…she’s just beautiful,” Di said.
With so much of her time spent organising events and fundraising, Di doesn’t do as much singing now as she used to.
Her son Rod is carrying on the family’s musical heritage, and plays locally in three bands.
“Whenever I get to one of his shows, he always gets me up on stage and we do a song together,” she said.
“It’s great to be able to stand up there with your son and have a sing,” she said.