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

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

An employee at Duncan’s Real Canadian Superstore has tested positive for COVID-19. (Don Bodger/Black Press)
More positive COVID-19 tests reported at Cowichan Superstore

Employees last worked on Feb. 12, 13 and 15.

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read