The Langley Ukulele Ensemble are performing two concerts at the Duncan Showroom on Sunday, Dec. 22. (Jennifer Love photo)

VIDEO: Talented youth group presents pair of Duncan concerts this Sunday

Plenty to enjoy as these young players and singers perform twice at the Duncan Showroom

If, when you hear the word “ukulele” you think Don Ho or something like that, you’re in for a surprise when the Langley Ukulele Ensemble comes to the Duncan Showroom on Sunday, Dec. 22.

The Ensemble’s Senior B group is made up of kids from Langley aged 10-14.

They not only play ukuleles but they also sing in delightful harmony.

“These kids have earned a coveted spot in this honour group and meet for four hours a week of rehearsal as well as practising at home on their own,” says Longevity John Falkner of the Showroom.

The Ensemble has been active for decades in Langley, with roots originating from a popular school district program in the 1970s. Teachers taught ukulele in nearly every elementary school in that district and to motivate students towards better performance, honour groups were founded. Although budget cuts affected school music everywhere, the ukulele program managed to persist in Langley and continues to be offered to hundreds of students.

According to the Ensemble’s website, in 1980, Peter Luongo joined the group as an assistant director and assumed the lead role shortly thereafter. He has been the group’s director for all, or part of every year since.

The Langley Ukulele Ensemble’s composition changed quite dramatically over the next 33 years. In the early 1980s it was a group of about 15 children aged 12-15 years. During the mid 1990s it grew to 30 members with members ranging in age between 13 and 25 years. Between 2000 and the present the group limited its membership to between 20 and 25 members.

“The ensemble’s evolution has seen constant improvement in the members’ level of accomplishment with the ukulele as well as with their vocal skills.

Current musical director Elizabeth Zielke has been a featured soloist nationally and the Senior Ensemble director, Paul Luongo has been a featured performer in Japan, Hawaii, and throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

The group’s most famous ukulele alumnus is James Hill. He spent more than 10 years as a member of the ensemble and is now considered among the finest ukulele performers in the world, traveling widely and with several recordings to his credit. Find more at http://jameshillmusic.com/.

Because every group has to start somewhere the Ensemble began with local performances for seniors, school groups, and clubs, later expanding to include music educators’ conferences and concerts in communities throughout Western Canada. The group’s first big break came in 1984/85 when the musicians headed off to Hawaii. Media recognition included repeat performances with popular radio host Rafe Mair.

The association has four levels starting with the youngest, who start at age eight and going all the way up to 19-year-old performers. The eldest Ensemble, the Senior A group is renowned and travels each year to Hawaii to play as well as many other places such as the Halifax Tattoo and Stratford Music Festival in Ontario.

The group will be playing a 30-45 minute set at the Duncan Showroom. Look for some audience participation as well as a variety of types of songs.

Entry is $15 at the door.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben Williams, second from left, receives the Rotary Club of Duncan Student of the Month Award for September from club president Gregg Perry and Student of the Month program coordinator Kim Barnard. To the left is teacher sponsor Tom Veenstra. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian standout is Rotary Student of the Month for September

Ben Williams has made an impression at DCS since day one

Cowichan LMG’s Michael Fusick plows through a Nanaimo defender during last Friday’s game at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Depth a concern for Cowichan LMG

Div. 1 club expecting reinforcements soon

The City of Duncan is applying to the province for a grant that would cover most of the costs of the new Cairnsmore roundabout that is planned the intersection of Government, College and Cairnsmore streets. (File photo)
City of Duncan looking to grant to cover cost of Cairnsmore traffic circle

Federal government would cover 60%, province would pick up the other 40%.

Angie Fournier. who served as office coordinator for the Cowichan Lake Community Services, stands with the society’s community bus in this picture. (File photo)
Community Service Society vital for Lake Cowichan

Dozens of programs and other services offered

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read