I had the pleasure of travelling to Leppävirta, Finland in mid-January to take part in Tropical Winter Ukulele Fest. I spent a few days before the festival travelling to some communities to teach workshops in schools, then enjoyed performing and teaching at the festival. A fabulous experience checking out the international scene and meeting some lovely and talented ukulele performers and instructors.

I enjoyed travelling out to Truro, Nova Scotia in early January to teach and perform at the Marigold Ukulele Festival, alongside James Hill & Anne Janelle, Heidi Litke and Angela Dwyer.

Transit Lounge and the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed at Old Quebec Street Shoppes Christmas Village weekend. Lots of holiday tunes were shared!

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed at the Children’s Foundation of Guelph-Wellington’s fundraising gala on October 13, with the theme of Aloha Ohana, celebrating Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. We enjoyed sharing our love for this wonderful little instrument. 

An afternoon of workshop fun up in Midland, Ontario with the Askennonia Ukulele Group! 

I had a great time teaching at Uketoberfest! at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan on October 6 alongside Lil Rev, Ben Hassenger and the Ukulele Kings. It was a great group of folks learning and playing in such a lovely setting!


The second annual Royal City Uke Fest on September 29 was an incredible success! 225 beautiful ukulele players descended on Guelph for a day of strumming and singing, learning and laughing, and hopefully walking away feeling inspired. You can read about the festival on the website and if you want to see photos you can visit the Facebook page which is being updated regularly. I’m so grateful for our instructors, performers (Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, Milo Fultz, and The Springtails) and our volunteers who made the event run so smoothly.

I had a great time visiting the Ohana Ukulele Headquarters in Long Beach, California and taking in the LA International Ukulele Festival the weekend of September 22. So wonderful to meet the awesome Ohana Ukuleles team and to experience more of this beautiful international ukulele community.  

It’s been an exciting year filled with lessons, workshops, classes and performances! One personal highlight was my article in the Summer 2018 issue of Ukulele Magazine. Grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of my ukulele journey in this fabulous magazine! 

August was another opportunity to work with James Hill at his JHUI Toronto Institute and what a treat to connect with such a beautiful community of music teachers. Three cheers for ukuleles!

Had some travels out west in July, teaching and performing at the Nanaimo Ukulele Festival and then teaching with James Hill at the JHUI Vancouver Institute. Have met so many lovely people in the ukulele world!


Very proud of my young students who worked hard and took their Conservatory Canada exams in June. A wonderful way to challenge and advance in your musical learning! 

I was busy at this year’s Summer Lights Festival in Kitchener, running a ukulele workshop, leading the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble at a wedding sing-along and performance, and a late-night performance by Transit Lounge. Such great energy at this street festival.

Really enjoyed teaching alongside Kevin Carroll and Bob Guz in Texas at the Kerrville Folk Festival’s 3-day Ukulele workshops in June. 

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble helped kick things off at the 10C Epic Celebration on May 5th.

The hard-working Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed four times throughout December, including at Creative Spark Winter Market, The Village of Arbour Trails, the Royal City Ambassadors’ Christmas charity show, and Merry Maker Night Market at the Guelph Farmers’ Market. We had a great time, even in the freezing temps! A mention in Guelph Today here. 

Transit Lounge (Cynthia Kinnunen: ukulele, vocals; Ben Coulson: bass, ukulele) had fun sharing some holiday tunes at the Old Quebec Street Shoppes Christmas Village Market on Friday, December 8, 2017. 

A wonderful experience teaching at one-of-a-kind Ukulele Hot Springs event in November alongside James Hill, Kevin Carroll and John Nash.

Grateful for the opportunity to talk ukulele with Grand Magazine in the Sept-Oct issue.

Had a great time in October on the Uketoberfest! teaching team along with Ben Hassenger, Gerald Ross and Andy Wilson at Interlochen Centre for the Arts in Michigan.

I was thrilled to be part of the teaching team at the 2017 summer institute of the JHUI Teachers Certificate Program, Toronto location, along with James Hill and Simon Akirov. This three-year teacher training program, created by world-renowned ukulele instructor and virtuoso, James Hill, provides hands-on, practical strategies to teach the trusted Ukulele in the Classroom (Hill/Doane) curriculum. You can read more about this unique program here. 

On July 7th, the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble shared some ukulele happiness in downtown Guelph at the Friday Noon Hour Concert Series. Amidst the bustling streets and lunchtime crowd, lots of smiling faces and singing along.

Check out a little snippet: https://goo.gl/photos/sXZpkKJ84uEwxeAc7

Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed again this year at Grand Porch Party in Waterloo on June 11. It was a warm and wonderful afternoon.

Cynthia was recently a guest on the podcast OokTown, with host Stuart Yoshida, co-host Doug Brown, and Hawaiian ukulele instructor and performer, Bryan Tolentino. Give it a listen and download more ukulele podcasts here.

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble and Royal City Ambassadors barbershop chorus had a very successful performance on February 25, putting on a great show and raising money for the Chalmers Community Services Centre. Thanks to everyone who attended!

Of course, we had to keep the fun going with a little post-show ukulele music at Fionn MacCool’s Pub, too!

A snippet from our RCUE portion of the evening:

Beginner Bootcamp at the Kitchener Public Library in February and we had a full house! Lots of fun making music with this group.

Our World Play Your Ukulele Day strum-along (and launch of the Royal City Uke Fest) was a lot of fun! 70+ strummers gathered at the ANAF in Guelph on February 2nd to make music and hear about our wonderful community ukulele festival coming up in September. Thanks to all those ukulele players who joined in the fun!

We even got a bit of media coverage here and here.

In December 2016, Cynthia was interviewed for an article in GuelphToday.com about the growing popularity of the ukulele and the fun being had learning this wonderful little instrument.

Cynthia won Best Musical Instruction in the Guelph Mercury Tribune Readers Choice Awards in 2016. Thank you to everyone who voted! So grateful!

Winner of University of Guelph’s College Idol competition, October 2016, in support of United Way Guelph.

Leading Celtic songs ukulele workshops at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario in August 2016.

A celebration of ukulele music at Silence with a screening of The Mighty Uke film, followed by a big fun strum-along for Music Monday in May 2016.

Royal City Ukulele Ensemble plays Tiffany PorchFest in Guelph in June 2016. What a fun time!

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed at The Guelph Arts Council’s 40th Anniversary/70’s-themed event at the River Run Centre in November 2015.

Ukulele creative break at the City of Waterloo’s Codefest Hackathon in October 2015. Great way to let the participants step back and regroup.

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble joined forces with Cynthia’s Elementary After School Ukulele classes for a massed ukulele performance for Music Monday 2015.

The Royal City Ukulele Ensemble performed at Waterloo’s Grand Porch Party in 2015.

Cynthia’s 5-minute Ignite Talk pitch for why everyone should pick up a ukulele (recorded back in March 2014).