Langley Ukes headed to Kelowna shows

The Langley Ukulele Association (LUA) is on a road trip to Kelowna this week culminating in a concert on Friday night. Brothers Paul and Mark Luongo have seen how Langley has embraced the instrument through the local association and feel Kelowna is ready for a similar program. 

Mark moved to Kelowna and together with John McMahon, an administrator with the Kelowna school district, contacted Paul, the musical director of the Langley senior A & B Ukulele ensembles, about the interest around the instrument seen in the interior community.

“Mark is actually teaching [ukulele] privately and has recently created an adult group called the Uke-anagon-Pickers,” Paul said. “He has done many workshops with teachers in West Kelowna to assist them in their professional development. With the assistance of John McMahon and local funding, the community of Kelowna is striving to create a ukulele program that emulates the Langley Ukulele Association’s.”

Paul will be on a mini tour today through Saturday with the senior A & B ensembles to perform at four Kelowna schools, put on a skills development workshop for students and teachers, and stage the Friday evening performance to raise funds and awareness for the ukulele community in the region.

“To my understanding, these funds will actually assist in purchasing ukuleles for the students in Kelowna,” Paul noted. “It is my hope, along with both my ensembles, that we can raise close to $500.”

Both Paul and Mark provide private instruction in the ukulele and both are preparing to release music – Paul a solo album and his band’s single EP, Mark, his band’s second single. Their combined love of enriching lives through music, mostly through teaching and performing, has led to the Kelowna activities this week. 

“Mark was able to describe the LUA to John and John’s interest began to spark,” Paul said. “The students in both my ensembles are keen to share the gift of music and are especially excited to display the true potential of the ukulele to the students and community of Kelowna.”

Happy to promote his brother’s efforts, Paul points out that Mark has done a “tremendous job in advocating for the ukulele as the main music educational instrument to teach the young people in Kelowna.”

To see first hand just what the ukulele can do, the Langley Ukulele Association is putting on “Music Throughout the Nations,” a concert on April 19 at Chandos Pattison Auditorium at 10238 168 St. Surrey. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased at www.langleyukes.com/LUE/tickets.html or by phone at 604-340-8537.

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