To all Luongo Ukulele Experience Members,
Let me begin by once again thanking you all for your hard work and focus during our time together last weekend. You have inspired me through your commitment to improve, learn, and create music worthy of an audience’s attention! The Luongo Ukulele Experience was created to provide a unique opportunity for adult learners to learn and develop their musical skills with the intention of being able to perform for audiences. I left Reno optimistic that we have much to look forward to as we continue on this musical journey together.

During our debrief meeting last week we discussed the need to split our group into 2. As we have progressed through the September and November sessions a very natural separation has occurred. Those with previous musical background and/or a more developed musical ear have progressed more rapidly. This was anticipated and our plan has always been, and will continue to be to move forward with a strategy that continues to provide all the elements of the Luongo Musical Experience to all participants irrespective of whether it is in an ‘A’ or ‘B’ group.

To be clear, by going into smaller groups based on ability we insure that participants are able to experience success based on their ability level. This should lead to less frustration and a more appropriate pace for for all learners. Furthermore, having smaller more homogeneous groups allows me to tailor the instruction and song arrangements more appropriately to each groups’ ability levels. Those who are advancing more quickly are not waiting for peers to catch up and those needing more time to absorb the concepts are given the time needed to strengthen their understanding. Smaller groupings also allow me to give more attention to the needs of each individual.

Three very important points
1. Though the arrangements will differ in order to meet the skill levels of the 2 groups, all participants in the Luongo Ukulele Experience will learn and perform the same pieces!

2. The the stage/ venue may differ but both levels WILL PERFORM! Indeed, performance is a critical element in the ‘Luongo Experience’. Furthermore, I expect that there will be times when the two levels perform together.

3. Movement between groups is expected. Commitment to practice and natural development will lead to the opportunity to progress from the ‘B’ to the ‘A’ group.

As we conclude the January’s session the initial group will be split into 2 separate ensembles.

Moving Forward
Several of you have asked about attending all four days in January to try to accelerate your abilities within the ensemble. Two ensembles will be created. More attainable versions of songs will be taught on Thursday & Friday. More advanced arrangements will be reserved for Saturday-Sunday.

The prerequisites for new LUE members will be strengthened before announcing January’s session to the public, to assure that they come into LUE with skill sets equivalent to that of existing members. This is intended as a way to insure that the Thursday-Friday session members continue to have a ‘move forward’ experience with a level of instruction that may lead to advancement to the Saturday-Sunday group.

3. At this point, all past attendees may attend either session in January in preparation for the Palm Springs Festival. This said, the group will be split into our two groups by the end of the January weekend sessions.

4. For those of you who want to take advantage of every opportunity to get to the ‘A’ group level, you may want to consider attending the Thursday-Friday session in January. In Palm Springs we are not pursuing new attendees for this group so the vast majority of participants will be our current group from the September and November L.U.E. events.

We realize that there are other considerations for some of you. Work or travel schedules may restrict you to attending on weekends only, or you may attend with a spouse or partner requiring you both attend on the weekend. Again, you are welcome to attend either session in January and discuss your situation with me during the weekend. We want to accommodate everyone. At the same time, we want to produce a musical experience that will be true to our vision and that will wow the ukulele community for years to come.

Final Thoughts
· The goal at this point is for both January groups to perform at the new Douglas County Community Center. This will require a short carpool and possibly a slight adjustment to the schedule. We are also discussing the feasibility of a short evening rehearsal session for Thursday and Saturday nights. More details will be forthcoming.

· Attending all four days is an option, but whether we can offer a discounted tuition cannot be determined until we receive our response from new attendees and existing members choosing to join the Thurs-Fri group.

· As we anticipate our January 2017 get together you can expect regular rehearsal tips and reminders sent through our Facebook page. These are intended to help make your independent practice more effective. I am also pleased to see the efforts being made to set up small group rehearsals.

· You will also receive a repertoire list of approximately 10 songs (including new pieces that will be introduced at our next session). These will form the start of a list from which I will select pieces for upcoming performances. At our January L.U.E. sessions I will teach the new pieces from this list and then devote time to rehearsing and fine-tuning for February and April concerts.

Regards, Peter