Langley Ukulele Ensemble host its first live concerts on Friday at the Bez Arts Hub. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley Ukulele Ensemble host its first live concerts on Friday at the Bez Arts Hub. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Uke concerts mark 40 years of music

First time since Christmas 2019, Langley Ukulele Ensemble performs in anniversary celebration

They’ve performed outdoors as part of a fall fair in Abbotsford recently.

They entertained in small groups outside a couple of seniors care residences this past summer.

But Friday marks the first time since Christmas 2019 that the Langley Ukulele’s full senior A ensemble has hosted a live indoor concert.

That and the fact this week’s shows mark the ensemble’s 40th anniversary is a huge reason to celebrate, said director Paolo Luongo.

“This is a big deal for our association,” Luongo shared with the Langley Advance Times.

And, of course, they want to mark the milestone in style, so in addition to releasing a 40th anniversary album this month, they have chosen to host not one but two back-to-back concerts – that, it just so happens, will showcase the music from the anniversary CD, Luongo explained.

There will be two shows on Friday night, one at 6 p.m. and another at 8:30 p.m. at the Bez Arts Hub on 64th Avenue in Langley.

RELATED: Uke leaders called to teach in international music sessions

There will be a few uke alumni members who will be joining the ensemble on stage for the first show of the night. And the later show will feature former ensemble director and Paolo’s father, Peter Luongo – who is also featured prominently on the new album.

With capacity limited to 25 per in-person show, Luongo noted people will also have the option of taking in either of Friday night’s concerts virtually.

“With all the additional health precautions and measures being taken, I know some people are enthusiastic to get back out there, while some would prefer to enjoy it from their households, hence the online virtual option.”

Either way, he said there were still a few tickets left for either of the concerts, and he’s hoping for a “packed” house for both.

RELATED: Bez Arts Hub announces a ‘slow start to LIVE’

In-person ticket costs $40 each – and include the anniversary album CD. The cost for the virtual show is only $10, and available through the ensemble website at langleyukes.com.

Luongo hopes these concerts are just the start of more in-person shows for the kids.

“I know a lot of the kids, myself included, are excited to performing in an intimate setting again,” he said.

“Maybe it will be a stepping stone for getting back to performing in the community,” as they gear up for their next concert, The Themes of Christmas, happening Dec. 11 at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley. Tickets go on sale soon for that concert.

RELATED: VIDEO GREETING – Merry Christmas, Langley!

In the meantime, Friday’s show is going to be a “live rendition” of the anniversary album, which he’s anxious to share.

“We’re going to do all the songs. We have 12 new songs, so we’re pretty much going to perform every single one… and people will get context behind the songs, the arrangements, the reason as to why it’s on there.”

The album, entitled Celebrate: 40 Years of Enriching Lives Through Music, features arrangements of songs and pieces from the 1970s and ’80s “in and around the time period when the LUA was established,” Luongo said.

“You’ll get your classic ’80s pop songs,” as well as the Bee Gees, Jacksons, Doobie Brothers, and more.

“It will have a really nice flavour of disco and it brings in a few other pop and rock tunes,” Luongo said.

Not wanting to reveal too much more about it, Luongo simply said that the album was recorded March through July, and assembling it during COVID-19 brings with it a hint of that reality in its creation.

“There’s a little pandemic influence, shall we say.”

While the CD will be first available at the Friday’s shows, copies will also be available soon on the LUA website for $20. The music is also expected to be available on iTunes by the end of the month.

.


Is there more to the story? Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

EntertainmentLangleyLive music