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

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

Duncan’s Knights of Columbus hand out cheques to a slew of deserving organizations in an online event Nov. 8, 2020. (Submitted)
Duncan Knights of Columbus hand cheques to lucky 13 in virtual event

Another historic first for the Knights was to have two area mayors join the presentation

Changes to the holidays due to COVID-19 will be a challenge for people with dementia. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Webinars aim to help those with dementia approach holidays

“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons”

Theresa Bodger at the Duncan Curling Club, displaying the championship trophy and a photo of her mom, Georgina Falt. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Cowichan Alzheimer’s fundraiser surpasses $65,000 since inception

Courier editor and his wife overwhelmed by continued support

“Jeff Abbott sinks in a mass of mud where a tributary to Coon Creek earlier ran. The creek supplies 60 families in Youbou with drinking water.” (Lake News, Nov. 19, 1980)
Flashback: Winter tires, winter weather, watershed watch

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan

Duncan’s Callum Davison is up for a bursary from the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. (Submitted)
Duncan golfer Callum Davison up for national bursary

20-year-old finished fifth in Canada Life Series this summer

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Randy Bell. (File photo)
Former northern B.C. mayoral candidate arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in Smithers

James Corden on the Late Late Show talking about BC Ferries on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Screenshot)
‘You’ll see it when you see it’: BC Ferries mask graphic gains James Corden’s attention

Turns out, James Corden fans were just as quick as B.C. social media users to pick up on the dual imagery

Most Read