CAPTION: Between booked performances, it’s also not uncommon for the ensemble members to break into song. After swimming with the dolphins the other day, an impromptu concert broke out.
Every night through Saturday, members of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble (LUE) are performing at the Sheraton Waikiki hotel, and by day they’re playing on the beaches or sightseeing.
For the 21st time in the music group’s 35-year history, 20 members of the ensemble are in Hawaii this week, performing for the locals – but still managing to squeeze in a little sightseeing.
This trip has become quite the tradition, explained founder and now retired music director Peter Luongo, who joined his son Paul (the current music director) and the students in the tropic resort.
When LUE first started the annual trek to Hawaii, the ensemble would perform in a few local schools.
Since then, the Canadian group has grown incredibly popular and has developed a lot of “invaluable” relationships with people around the island – including with the Sheraton, Rotary Clubs, and media, explained the senior member of the Luongo family.
Now, the kids perform at a number of venues, including the hotel, and are even showcased on a few local television station during their visits.
What’s really exciting… it’s wonderful to stand back and watch, and see these kids – six of them are new on the trip this year – serving as incredibly polite and positive publicists for Langley and great ambassadors for Canada,” Peter told the Langley Advance.
The Hawaiians are so appreciative of these Canadian music students, who have taken such a keen interest in a musical instrument that means so much to their culture and to so many people on the islands, he said.
“The people here are so welcoming, so gracious… this has become a home away from home for us,” Peter added, while joining the ensemble for a trip to Pearl Harbour Tuesday afternoon.
The team left for Hawaii last Thursday, and return home next Tuesday, July 19.
The ensemble is currently made up of four after-school groups, with 90 students ranging from age 13 to 19.
While Waikiki has become a regular destination for a segment of those music students, the ensemble has travelled throughout Canada and the U.S., and even to Japan in past.
Last year, in addition to the stop in Hawaii, Paul said they travelled to Reno and Ontario.