As many of you know, one of the missions of La Semana de Uke-Culinary Fiesta in Ajijic was to establish an ‘ukulele program for the local kids in Ajijc. And did we ever!
Our role was actually quite small: Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward did a concert at a local school and each of the retreat attendees brought an Ohana ‘ukulele from the U.S. and presented it to the kids after the concert. The looks on their faces were precious. And that was it…..but it was just the little spark that was needed.
From there the budding (at the time) local ‘ukulele community, Club Ukulele Laguna (CUL), under the direction of Sheila Ruof, Judy King, and Kay Epps Headley, took over. They interviewed and hired a director for the program, a young man whom we call “Lalo,” a young man who, in addition to being a fabulous musician, has turned out to be a wonderful force in the lives of these young people–a stern, but loving task master. And the members of CUL continue to raise money so that Lalo remains gainfully employed by the program, while the directors keep a watchful eye on everything that goes on.
And this is the wonderful result: the first-ever concert by the Academia de Ukuleles de la Ribera. (By the way, tickets are 100 pesos, not US dollars–the kids are good…..but not that good!)
We could not be any prouder!