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The Funsters have been around for more than 20 years, and some of its band members have been friends since childhood. There has never been a revolving door to replace any of its 10 members (nine on stage and one off-stage), even though many of them also perform with other musicians throughout the year. 

From popular Delaware beach destinations to wedding venues, this family-friendly band has a vast and wide-ranging song repertoire that includes late jazz crooners, pop rock, classic rock, '80s hits and every other genre imaginable in between. 

Take some time this month to meet Jon Fletcher (trumpet/vocals), Tom Houska (keyboards), Greg Mack (guitar), Keith Mack (guitar), Dickie Messick (bass), Ed Shockley (drums, vocals), Ken Tonge (sax, vocals), Sherman Ward (vocals) Grier White (sax, vocals) and Martin LeMaire (sound engineer) at the following venues: 

The Cove in Dewey Beach on Aug. 18 and Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.; Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.; town of Ocean View concert on Aug. 25; and 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.

Ed Shockley of The Funsters talks about the band's music and what keeps them together.

Performing any one of these songs cannot be as simple as you make it sound, therefore, what is the secret to having so many genres on your list?  What type of practice is involved?

The song list has been evolving dating back to our earliest days of songs we already liked, knew and were comfortable playing. 

We all grew up when radio was a lot different so we were exposed to all types of genres on the same station. For example, it could be Frank Sinatra one minute followed by the Beatles, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, etc. 

We liked and continue to like all of it and bring that to the stage for our audiences. 

Believe it or not, we try to never practice as a whole. If we decide to learn a song, we just listen to it, learn it in small groups (e.g. horns practice together), and go play it. 

Most of the music has become second nature to us because we are so familiar with it.  When we encounter a song we are unfamiliar with, however, we first decide who is going to sing it and how we will arrange it according to what key we agree on. After that, it is off to the races!

There are bound to be mistakes at times; what have you done to overcome it?

We are fortunate to play so many jobs, but yes, there have been mistakes along the way. There is a certain “Ground Hog Day” aspect to it when that happens. Those are some of the more memorable moments versus our successes. 

In our favor, when people are at large social events, the music is not being listened to as closely so the mistakes, more obvious to us, are usually not detected by the audience. 

I think there was only one time where we actually had to stop and regroup, which was quite the comical experience for us because it was simply one of the instruments not being set to the correct key. 

While continuing to stay true to your name, how have you been able to keep such an impressive momentum going this long?

The main reason I think we have been going strong for so long is that we started off as a band with no expectations and it certainly surprised us how quickly we became popular. 

It also helps that there are a lot of wise guys in the band and it is oftentimes hard to be serious when someone is always making jokes. In fact, when we send emails out to each other, one email can leave a string of 25 additional emails to the original, which makes it difficult to find an answer someone is looking for when going back to scroll through the correspondence. 

Although music is a huge part of who we are, we also do not try to take ourselves too seriously either to balance everything out.

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With more than 20 years of experience entertaining audiences in various settings, there must be at least one momentous occasion that you all reminisce about or fondly reflect upon?

There are two that stand out the most. 

Early on in our career, we were offered a job in New York City for a wedding at a concert setting near the Brooklyn Bridge. As we were looking around at the scenery, we were just in awe to be performing outside of where we normally played our music. 

The other fond memory is playing at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand for 4th of July fireworks. When we looked behind us from the gazebo, there were more than a hundred people dancing and having a good time; we were so happy to be part of the celebration. 

What are some things you have learned from each other?

Everyone has their own special strength.  From the oldest to the youngest band member, there is an 8-year age difference so we have experienced everything you can imagine that life throws at you. 

We are not just friends — we are more like brothers — it has become a family bond.  There is much respect and admiration. 

When not performing, what do each of you enjoy doing outside of music?

Some of us are musicians with other groups as well so we do whatever it takes to make a living. That leaves minimal time for other activities such as body surfing or fishing, which usually cannot be enjoyed until the fall months when it is not as busy. 

Other band members like to play baseball, many of whom are Yankees fans and go together to the ball games. 

How long do you continue to entertain?

We are often asked how long we can do this for and I always tell people, “whenever people stop coming to see me.” Until that time, I do not foresee an end to it because we are just having way too much fun. Music for us is a lifelong learning experience and always evolving

To learn more, visit their website at  www.thefunsters.net or email them at thefunstersmusic@gmail.com

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