Summer camp for uke newbies offered at Stafford

Something of an unsung instrument in Canada, the ukulele has a strong home in Langley with the Langley Ukulele Association (LUA).

The popularity of the “tiny guitar” grows each year with kids’ ukulele camps for those aged seven to 11 put on by LUA.

Running from Aug. 18 to 22, the week long camp is held at H.D. Stafford Middle School taught by experienced uke musicians from LUA. Organizer Elizabeth Zielke, LUA’s Intermediate A director, noted the camp is an ideal way to gain experience with the instrument.

“This is definitely the way to start,” she said.

Uke camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon each day with a concert closing out the week.

“On the Friday night, on the 22nd, there’s a performance for friends and family,” Zielke said.

The $75 registration cost includes a T-shirt, daily snack, and music book. Kids can bring their own ukulele or purchase one at the camp.

“It’s really an affordable instrument to pick up,” noted Zielke. “A lot of kids come with their own $25 or $30 uke.”

Zielke explained kids are greeted by eight energetic teachers, led by Paul Luongo − head of LUA − as they arrive and are put into groups by age and experience.

“It’s excitement from then on,” Zielke said.

Within three minutes of arriving, kids will be playing and singing, noted Zielke.

“They learn the most basic parts of the instrument and the first couple of chords, and away we go into classrooms,” she said. “It’s always fun because not everyone knows there’s singing.”

According to Zielke, Langley is known for cultivating the best ukulele players in Canada. Her best friend is one of the best in the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and started with the instrument at jke camp.

“Learning ukulele in this environment is like no other. It’s fun, entertaining, and you can’t help but notice the progress of kids during the week. Whether kids have experience or not, Uke camp is the place to be,” she added.

Zielke explained the camp is the best way for kids who don’t have ukulele in their school to experience the instrument.

“With the kids attending the camp we are looking to extend an invitation to the students to join the after school honour program that runs from September to May, home to the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble,” Zielke said.

To register a child for uke camp, contact Zielke at ukesinfo@langleyukes.com or call 778-840-UKES.

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