Langley ukulele students have been performing throughout the Lower Mainland this holiday season, including performances at the Surrey Treelighting and Christmas at Hycroft. This Saturday, they’re performing two concerts for their hometown audience in Langley, at the Willougby Christian Reformed Church. (Langley Ukulele Ensemble/Special to Langley Times)

Langley Uke ensemble ramps up its giving efforts

Hometown concerts set for Saturday

Langley Ukulele Ensemble is upping its game, in a pretty significant way for the holidays.

While the world-renowned musical group has often performed in about 20 shows in the weeks leading up to Christmas, music director Paul Luongo and the kids have almost tripled their show count this season.

About 75 children from the senior A and B ensembles, as well as a junior ensemble, are out at numerous seniors homes, at community festivals, the Fort, Glow Christmas, and other larger fundraising events – such as the Langley Christmas Bureau’s Children’s Wish Breakfast, the CTV Toy Mountain, Global TV’s wish breakfast, and the CKNW Orphans’ Fund pledge day.

With close to 60 different concerts on the books this November and December, the biggest event for the kids is actually a concert happening this Saturday (Dec. 9) at home, in Langley.

When performing at all the events throughout the Lower Mainland, the Langley Ukulele Ensemble asks for a minimum donation of $200 to help offset travel costs – although no appearances are dependent on payment if finances are an issue, Luongo noted.

Nevertheless, public and private performances are one of the key methods the ensemble uses to fundraise. Others include selling the group’s multiple CDs, as well as hosting fundraising concerts like the ones this weekend.

The Themes of Christmas concert is being held at the Willoughby Christian Reformed Church. For the first time in several years – there will be two shows in one day, Luongo explained.

It’s hoped this year’s hometown Christmas event will raise about $7,000 of the $50,000 needed to help send the ensemble to Hawaii next summer for their 25th annual show at the Sheraton Waikiki.

These hometown concerts will feature the Langley senior A and B ensembles, with shows at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.langleyukes.com or by calling the box office at 604-340-8537 (UKES).

“We encourage the community of Langley to come out and support the ensemble that has successfully made Langley known as the ‘ukulele capital of Canada’,” Luongo said.

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