Island Ukuleles A Group has been entertaining and having fun with audiences of all ages for almost 40 years with a diverse vocal and instrumental repertoire that ranges from traditional Hawaiian style music to jazz, swing, classical, pop and rock music. Under the dynamic direction of music educator and leader, Tina Horwood, assisted by Matthew Martin, this group of auditioned 12 to 18 year old students come from 12 different middle and high schools in the Victoria area. They are an exceptional group of musicians and truly represent the good in young people and the best in our organization. They are talented performers and community contributors, and they love to entertain at home and abroad. Island Ukuleles brings many children together – from kindergarten to high school seniors – in an inspiring program through which older students mentor younger ones and all give back to the community-at-large through concerts performed in seniors' homes, hospitals, and community concerts. In addition to doing local school tours which introduces this versatile instrument to thousands of young children each year, our “A” ensemble also undertakes an annual Concert Tour. During this trip the ensemble celebrates their accomplishments as well as furthers their growth, not only as young musicians, but also as young people learning the value of teamwork. After touring to California and Disneyland last year, the group is excited to be touring our very own beautiful Vancouver Island. The A Group will be traveling to Strathcona Park Lodge, Horne Lake Caves, Ucuelet, and Tofino. They are excited to rock climb, surf, kayak, whale watch, and participate in T'ashii Canoeing. Over the years, the group has played in and toured Panama, California, Disneyland, Universal Studios, San Francisco, Hawaii, Cuba, Japan, Seattle, Portland, Calgary and the Rocky Mountains ...and even by request, at 30,000 feet for the passengers on a flight home from Hawaii! The group has performed at various large ukulele festivals and was the first ukulele ensemble to have ever played on the Disneyland stage.
Island Ukuleles B Group
Formerly "A-2" and "A-3", the "B" program offers instruction to students in grades 3 through 8. The primary focus of this ensemble is to promote enjoyment and musical learning through fun and skills programs. Many of the skills acquired through the program can be transferred to any instrument later on. No audition is necessary. Under the direction of Island Ukuleles alumnae, Jacqueline Czar, Melanie West, and Sylvie Bernard, The "B" program is divided into three groups: "B Gold Ensemble", "B Silver Crew" and "B Bronze Players". Each student will be working towards earning a bronze pin, silver pin, and gold pin through the completion of various skills. The "B" program also encourages students to develop personally and socially as they become members of a performance ensemble. The students perform several concerts a year and also take part in a team-building event in the spring. Previous team building events have included overnight trips to the Space Centre in Vancouver, Strathcona Park outside of Campbell River, Camp Thunderbird, train trips, Ukefest in Campbell River, and other small day trips
Imagine a program designed specifically for primary-aged students! "Little Ukers" offers children ages 5 through 8 the opportunity to try the ukulele in a fun and energetic setting. Students in this class are introduced to basic ukulele skills, music reading, and singing with an emphasis on fun! Designed by Pacifica Ukes alumna, Melissa McKnight and under the leadership of "Island Ukuleles" graduates and certified teachers, the students work in both a large performance group and small work groups. "Little Ukers" is offered in two eight-week terms from October through December and January through March. To help maintain a very small teacher:student ratio and maximizes the potential for individual success, the class is limited to 20 kindergarten/grade 1 students and 16 grade 2/3 students.
Tina Horwood Musical Director - Island Ukuleles
A beacon of energy and enthusiasm, Tina is an alumna of "Island Ukuleles", A's director and a great inspiration to her students. She has been directing the group for 25 years and continues to instill high expectations for musical skill development in the areas of vocal and instrumental technique. On a personal level Tina encourages her students to step forward and lead with confidence! Tina is currently the vocal jazz teacher at Oak Bay High School.
Matthew Martin General Manager - Assistant Director
For 12 years, Matthew has been involved with Island Ukuleles. Beginning with the Little Ukers group at Braefoot Elementary and eventually moving into roles with all three groups, technical director, webmaster, and non-voting member of the Board of Directors. Matthew is currently the music teacher at Strawberry Vale Elementary School where he runs a full-time music program with ukulele, bass, drums, and choral components. Matthew is also very active with the British Columbia Music Educators' Association serving as the Secretary of the Board and Marketplace and Industry Chairperson of the annual BCMEA Conference.
Melissa McKnight Director - Little Ukuers
With her father, Vince Sequeira, as a mentor, Melissa developed a keen interest in the ukulele. Melissa was a member of her father's ukulele ensemble, "Pacific Ukes", where she learned to play the ukulele with proficiency. After high school graduation she joined the "Island Ukuleles" where, as an accomplished bassist, coupled with her focus on choral music and arranging skills, Melissa has become an indispensable asset to the "Island Ukuleles". Melissa is currently the choral and strings teacher at Cedar Hill Middle School and strings teacher at Lakehill Elementary School.
Melanie West Director - Island Ukuleles Bronze
Jacqueline Czar Director - Island Ukuleles Silver
An alumna of Island Ukuleles, Jacqueline has always been a part of the program. During university, she helped to teach the Little Ukers and B Group programs but left to explore teaching in the UK. When she came back to Canada, Jacqueline came back to Island Ukuleles but this time to the B Group where she currently sits as music director and administrator. Jacqueline is currently the music teacher at Frank Hobbs Elementary School.