It was the musical era of the 1980s when prominent jazz musician Mick Berghuis and his band pumped out the self-created song ‘At The Frat, That’s Where It’s At!’.
Backed by two prominent band members – 80s radio personality Peter McMurray and big-band singer Margaret Davidson – the jazzy jingle was an instant hit.
The catchy advertisement was endearing to the public, receiving airtime on radio and TV as a means to attracting people to the club. And it worked!
Fast forward to 2020 and Mick, now 80, is still in tune with music. He recalled fond memories of a strong bond with The Fraternity Club, and the popular jingle.
“I played in a band called the ‘Hi Lites’ in the 60s and 70s. We played at Woonona Bulli RSL every Saturday night. We also played at The Fraternity every Thursday,” he said.
“We played at The Frat on many occasions and our songs were always a hit. I appreciated the response we received from management and members.
“Then, in the 80s, a local radio personality (Peter McMurray) joined local big-band singer Margaret Davidson and myself to do a jingle for the club.
“The main lyrics were ‘At The Frat That’s Where It’s At’, done with a jazz backing from memory.”
Dressed to impress, Mick and his band would often dress in attire created by prominent Italian designer John Serafino, who was based in Sydney. Instantly, they were suited for success.
In 2020, Mick deservedly earned an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his devotion to jazz and music – something which he expresses gratitude towards The Frat.
“This year has been an exciting year for me – being awarded a Wollongong City Australia Day Arts award and receiving an OAM from the Governor General from contributions to music,” he said.
“All these things have been very humbling. I have always enjoyed working with local musicians who I think are equal to anywhere, and to receive these awards for doing what I love is icing on the cake.
“I’m grateful, too, that my current band (Swingaleles) perform regularly at The Frat.” Asked about how he felt to have an OAM, Mick responded: “I can now put OAM after my name … but I can’t get used to it!”
One thing he can get used to is walking into The Fraternity Club and feeling at home. “The club is part of me. I feel at home – that’s where it’s at!”