Featured Image -- 79972

91-year-old Ottawa woman takes up the ukulele (with video)


Such a great story! It’s NEVER too late.

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

She proudly calls herself an “old folkie” and, with her late husband, Gil, hosted countless hootenannies — singalongs — over the decades in the living room of their Ottawa home.

But Helen Levine waited a long time before deciding to pick up an instrument herself.

A very long time.

“That’s one thing I love about the instrument. You don’t have to be good,” says a laughing Levine, 91, as she cradles her Republic resonator ukulele on the sofa of her new apartment at the Rockcliffe Retirement Residence.

Levine took up the instrument a year ago at the urging of her daughter, Tamara, who’d fallen in love with the ukulele herself after hearing players from the Bytown Ukulele Group (BUG) play at the annual spring Grassroots Festival. With lessons from another Ottawa folkie, musician and CKCU radio host Chris White, a longtime family friend, Levine slowly coaxed her arthritic fingers into the simple chord shapes…

View original 615 more words

OFC’s ‘O Canada’ Ukulele Choir is back!

It was so much, fun they’re doing it again! I’m encouraging my students and fellow players to come out and play ‘O Canada’ again at the  game on March 20th. This is an evening game this time, during the March Break. Here’s the Ottawa Folklore Centre’s link to purchase and receive a free ticket for the Uke Choir member (limited to the first 60 to sign-up to be in the Uke Choir).

There is a chord sheet and video lesson on their website. I’ve also created sheet music of the planned arrangement in C, for anyone who would also like to learn to play the melody. Accompanying chord diagrams and tabs are also indicated in C6 tuning.

Kicking off 2015! Registration info for Winter – Spring adult programs

Now that was a fun way to kick off the new year! Here’s a great shot my husband took of our Ukulele Choir playing ‘O Canada’ at yesterday’s Ottawa 67s game at TD Place. Many thanks to the Ottawa Folklore Centre for organizing this event! I was very happy to participate and help to lead this beautiful group and also very proud that 2 of my young Suzukulele students and 2 of my adult students came too! There’s talk of another opportunity to play again, coming up in March.

There’s also an audio clip of a story on CBC Ottawa Morning here, and some Facebook videos of our pre-game rehearsal and of the actual performance on the ice!

Photo by Steve LeBlanc.

Photo by Steve LeBlanc.

Registration is now available for the following Adult Ukulele Programs from Winter to Spring 2015:

Play Ukulele Level 1- Tuesday nights from 7-8:30pm at Brookfield HS starts Feb 3rd. Course #75051

Play Ukulele Level 2- Wednesday nights from 7-8:30pm at Brookfield HS start Feb 4th. Course #75053

To register for the OCDSB’s Continuing Education programs go to https://e-connect.ocdsb.ca or call 613-239-2751

Ottawa Folklore Centre Ukulele Choir- Thursday nights from 7-9pm

To register contact the Ottawa Folklore Centre

If you have any questions about repertoire, how much practice required, level of knowledge required, etc… please feel free to contact me directly.

Starting in Feb 2015 – The Ottawa Folklore Centre Ukulele Choir- Updated Jan. 30

This post was updated on January 30th to reflect changes in program availability.

In conjunction with the City of Ottawa and along with the Ottawa Folklore Centre, I’ll be leading two 10-week sessions of a new ukulele choir program on Thursday evenings, starting in February.

Come and be a part of Ottawa’s exciting first and only Ukulele Choir!

Ukulele players from across the city and beyond will rehearse weekly and perform a final concert that includes a wide variety of repertoire.

Minimal experience required: basic notation and/or tab reading and chord knowledge. Parts will be available for all abilities. Musicians MUST bring their own instrument, music stand, and tuner (10% OFC accessory discount for OFC Ukulele Choir members)

Thursdays, 7-9 p.m., location tbd, February 5 – April 16, 2015, 10 weeks (no Feb 12), concert April 17
$120 (plus HST)*, Registration is available through the Ottawa Folklore Centre.


Come play ‘O Canada’ on January 11!

I’m encouraging my students and fellow players to come out and play ‘O Canada’ at the  game on January 11. Here’s the Ottawa Folklore Centre’s link to purchase and receive a free ticket  (limited to the first 60 to sign-up to be in the Uke Choir).

There is a chord sheet and video lesson on their website. I’ve also created sheet music (updated on Nov 22) of the planned arrangement in C, for anyone who would also like to learn to play the melody.  Accompanying chord diagrams and tabs are also indicated.

This is a must have piece that all Canadian ukulele players should have in their repertoire!

Fall Registration for Ukulele programs

So I guess I’ve “burned the boats”, now that I’ve given up my day job to focus on doing what I love. I’ll be teaching Ukulele in a set of new programs here and there. Here are the details:

2014_08_0002This fall, I’m starting a new ukulele program for adults at Brookfield HS, through the OCDSB’s General Interest Program. I’ll be using the ukulele method from James Hill/Chalmers Doane which includes some basic note reading, scales and playing ensemble pieces, along with chord-accompanied singing. Level 1 is for new beginners on Tuesday evenings and Level 2 on Wednesday evenings, is for intermediate players who may have already mastered some chords but would like to learn to do more with the ukulele. Material covered will be similar in both classes, levels simply determine the pace of the lessons. The first 10-week session starts on Sep. 23. Registration is available online or by phone: 613-239-2751.

For kids at Castor Valley ES, Rockcliffe Park PS and Elmdale PS, registration to their Extra-curricular programs begins on Sep. 2.

And finally, I’ll be teaching the senior students at SuzukiMusic again this year, and also adding an open adult class on Saturdays there too. Parents of senior students, former Suzuki students and even grandparents are welcome to join me for some SuzUkulele fun! Registration information for this one will be sent directly to SuzukiMusic community members.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about programs!

Endings are just new beginnings

It’s been released for almost 3 weeks now and if you’re interested in making sweet sounds on an ukulele and you haven’t been down to The Ukulele Way yet, you need to come and have a look. It’s not just a new book or method of learning but it’s also a place for players, teachers and performers to gather as a community and learn and share together.

I can’t say enough about James Hill as a musician, performer, teacher and master of the ukulele. His entire concept for this website, which was 3 years in the making, also shows his capacity for thinking big as a creative and very kind human being. Even the video ad above reminds me of his very “Zen-like” teaching style. One that is balanced, calm and respectful of everyone’s individual learning processes. (One of his first required reading suggestions, when I started his teacher certification program back in 2011, was a book called Zen Guitar. This book changed everything about how I approach my own self as a learner, as well as my students.

At last year’s JHUI institute in Vancouver, he announced to us that this new technology was coming. A few of his teachers in training signed on to become beta-testers and promoters of this new venture, myself included. And now it’s finally arrived and running full steam ahead.

This is just in time for me, as I have just completed the final JHUI Level 3 teacher certification. (See the lovely new purple badge I am proudly displaying in the top left corner?) Even though I’m very proud to have accomplished this, sometimes endings can feel sad. Like I won’t be going back to institute to see the many friends I made there in the past 3 summers. But as this phase ends for me, The Ukulele Way is a new beginning that will enable me to really keep in touch with these old friends, meet new ones and keep learning, teaching and playing my heart out for years ahead.

If you decide to come and visit The Ukulele Way, you can find me there at http://theukuleleway.com/chantal_leblanc