Ukes take audience to Broadway

Ukuleles are something of a tradition in Langley thanks to the efforts of the Langley Ukulele Association under the direction of the Luongo family.

The renowned Langley Ukulele ensemble will be performing two concerts locally to help raise funds for the association to fund upcoming ensemble trips and activities.

Ensemble director Paul Luongo noted there are two concerts on Saturday, May 30 at the Langley Evangelical Free Church at 208th Street and 48th Avenue. One is a matinee at 3 p.m., the other is an evening show at 7 p.m.

“Everyone can come,” Luongo said. “It’s a family friendly show. We’re really trying to move forward to subscription [style pricing options] for our concerts… and family pricing.”

He describes the association as a big family that has been making music together for more than 30 years.

The spring concerts have been around almost as long.

“I think it’s been a tradition,” he said. “Safe to say [at least] 20 years.”

With Langley in the association and ensemble’s names, it’s understandable that Luongo sees the organization as putting Langley on the map and raising awareness far beyond the community’s borders.

The ensemble just returned from two nights in Reno headlining at the Nugget Casino Resort for the Ukulele Festival. Next up is a concert in Richmond on May 23, then there will be a trip to Stratford, Ont.

“This is our second major fundraiser… to get us to Hawaii,” Luongo said of Saturday’s concerts. “We’ve also been invited to the Stratford Music Festival and to the Canadian National Exhibition… We’ll be performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people.”

The Stratford connection lent the theme for the spring concerts, which is Broadway.

“It’s a Broadway theme because we’re going to Stratford,” he noted. “I think it’s seven different arrangements from Grease to Annie to Wicked.”

Luongo added that learning so many Broadway numbers definitely challenged the young people in the ensemble, but one that was in reach given the calibre of the group.

“We’ve always been seen as the best uke ensemble in the world,” he said. “We’re back to being a strong performing association.”

Tickets for the show are $25 for adults, $15 for those 18 and younger.

Tickets are available through langleyukes.com where people can also listen to the ensemble’s music in many genres.

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