Christmas Memories 2017

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Santa in Hawaii arrives via outrigger canoe.

As a child growing up in Hawaii, I remember wondering how Santa would deliver his presents because our houses don’t have chimneys. Then I saw a display of Santa in an outrigger canoe and that made sense.

My favorite Christmas memory was learning how to surf on Christmas Day. When I was a kid, my two boy cousins who were three years older me, came over to our house and we walked down to Diamond Head beach with our boards. I remember the thrill of riding the waves and the speed and power of the waves pushing you forward. It was all about balance – learn too far forward and you’d pearl dive nose first into the water – learn too far back and the wave would pass you by. Looking back at that experience, learning to surf was about life – about the balance of taking chances to keep going forward.

When I attended college on the mainland, I would come home during Christmas and help my dad entertain at Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children. My dad sang and played his ukulele as a member of the Aloha Temple musicians during the Christmas Day breakfast program. I joined in singing and playing my guitar to Christmas classics. It was a memorable tradition that we maintained for several years.

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My husband and I married 23 years ago and we have spent the past 23 consecutive Christmases on Oahu visiting both our families and friends.

My husband and I married 23 years ago and we have spent the past 23 consecutive Christmases on Oahu visiting both our families and friends. Rich’s Auntie Annie always hosted a multi-generational family part on Christmas night. We were surprised this year to see Rich’s sister who is a nun in India. She had come home to renew her visa and then gone back to India only to be rejected entry (so she is back in Hawaii). “Do you sing on the radio?” asked one niece when she was a little girl. The little kids are all grown now. Grab bags were chosen by ages with the oldest at 104 going first and the youngest at 20 going last. It was a very subdued party.

This year we attended the Service of Remembrance at Arcadia where I placed a rose to remember my mom who passed away during the year (along with others who lost loved ones). This brought closure to my routine for the past twelve years of going back and forth from Maui to Oahu to visit my parents since they are now both gone (dad died in 2012). Next year another chapter of Christmas traditions begins.

See our Christmas 2017 photo album on my facebook page and read about our 5th Annual Christmas Party on Maui.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Christmas Songs By Ukulele Mele

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Learn to play 6 Christmas songs with 8 unique strums in the Mele Kalikimaka Vol. 1 packaged set of book/DVD/CD by Ukulele Mele

Here are happy secular songs for the season that you can learn to play the Ukulele Mele Way with unique ‘ukulele strums taught by no one else:

  1. Jingle Bells with a verse in Hawaiian – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  2. Silver Bells – 2 Waltz Strums
  3. Feliz Navidad – Latin Strum
  4. Mele Kalikimaka Ia ‘Oe – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  5. Hawaiian Santa – I Wanna Rest Strum and 4And Strum
  6. Holly Jolly Christmas – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  7. The Christmas Song – Pick in 4 Strum
  8. Winta Wandaland – Hum Ding-Ah Strum and X Marks the Spot Strum
  9. Christmas Island – Swing Strum and 4And Strum
  10. White Christmas – I Wanna Rest and Latin Strums
  11. Aloha Kalikimaka – 2 Waltz Strums
  12. Christmas Luau – Play ‘Ukulele Yes I Can Strum and 4And Strum
  13. Mele Kalikimaka – Hum Ding-Ah Strum

HERE’S HOW TO LEARN TO PLAY THE SONGS ABOVE:

  1. Listen to the audio recordings in the online Fan Club and I will send you the song sheet for one song and teach you how to play it with private lessons via webcam or on Maui.
  2. Purchase a downloadable Single Song Lesson for Jingle Bells.
  3. Download the Single Song Lesson for Mele Kalikimaka for free.

Other Christmas song arrangements are available via:

  1. Mele Kalikimaka Vol. 1 packaged song set of book/DVD/CD of 6 songs with 8 strums.
  2. Downloadable Single Song Lessons for Auld Lang Syne, Silent Night and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

Bonus: learn more about the story behind the song, Mele Kalikimaka – Hawai’i’s way to say Merry Christmas.

As we say in Hawai’i, Mele Kalikimaka and a Happy New Year!

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Island Party Songs 2017

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Ukulele Mele on Maui presented “Island Party Songs” for September’s Sing-Along Program at Kaunoa Senior Center

“We go to local parties and now we have a better idea of what they’re singing,” commented recent transplants to Maui.

Twenty two people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Island Party Songs on Thursday, September 7 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. We chose the monthly theme to celebrate Aloha Festivals month, a time when each of the Hawaiian Islands celebrates the aloha spirit with festivals.

The “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room, and having my husband provide the u-bass line to fill in the lower tones to the higher pitched ‘ukulele worked great!

Here are the 11 party songs we learned:

  1. Medley: Maui Boy/Maui Girl – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. The Pidgin English Hula – I Wanna Rest / 4 And Strums.
  3. Manuela Boy – Latin Strum.
  4. E Huli Makou – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  5. Princess Poopooly – I Wanna Rest / 4 And Strums.
  6. U.S.E.D. – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  7. Aloha No Wau I Ko Maka – 2 Waltz Strums.
  8. Keep Your Eyes on the Hands – I Wanna Rest / 4 And Strums.
  9. Medley: Tiny Bubbles/Pearly Shells – Swing/Hum Ding-Ah Strums
  10. Yellow Bird (local style) – Latin Strum.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

HERE’S HOW TO LEARN THE ABOVE SONGS FROM WHEREVER YOU LIVE:

1. LISTEN TO THE RECORDINGS IN THE FREE ONLINE FAN CLUB and then schedule private lessons on Maui or via webcam to get the song sheets and feedback.

  1. From the Hapa Haole Songs Category – Keep Your Eyes on the Hands, Manuela Boy, Medley: Maui Boy/Maui Girl, Medley: Tiny Bubbles/Pearly Shells, Princess Poopooly, The Pidgin English Hula, U.S.E.D. and Yellow Bird.
  2. From the Hawaiian Songs Category – E Huli Makou.

2. DOWNLOAD A SINGLE SONG PURCHASE to your digital device. Get the song sheets, video lesson, audio recording, and video story behind the song for the song you select.

  1. Aloha No Wau I Ko Maka
  2. Hawaii Aloha

Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Na Lani Eha and More  on Thursday, October 5 as we celebrate the four royal composers.

Visit my webpage about classes at Kaunoa and see photos from past classes for more.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing Island Party Songs for September

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This month’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong series theme is “Island Party Songs” to be held September 7 to celebrate Aloha Festivals month on every island.

In celebration of Aloha Festivals held on every Hawaiian Island in September, join us for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong series: Island Party Songs on Thursday, September 7 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better.  The mission of Aloha Festivals is “to foster the Aloha Spirit through the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture and the celebration of the diverse customs and traditions of Hawaii.” Read more about Aloha Festivals.

This program is one of a monthly series that evokes the feeling of sing-along with Mitch Miller programs as the lyrics and ‘ukulele chords are projected on the large screen in the front of room for everyone to follow. ‘Ukulele players are invited to bring instruments to play along as I lead everyone by singing and playing my uke while my husband accompanies us on ‘ukulele bass. Don’t worry if you don’t know the ‘ukulele chords or the unique strumming pattern for the songs. The focus is on singing the songs, finding out the stories behind them, and enjoying the group experience.

Why are people returning? “It’s fun!” is what I’ve heard.

Lunch is optional and recommended as a good time to meet people who enjoy learning the Ukulele Mele Way. Kaunoa Senior Center is located in Spreckelsville, Maui.

SIGN UP NOW by calling 808-270-7308.

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Other learning options with Ukulele Mele:

Whether you are a beginnerintermediate, or advanced ‘ukulele player, you can have fun learning to play the Ukulele Mele Way from WHEREVER you live!

Aloha, Mele Fong, aka Ukulele Mele

Review Island Songs 2017

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Mele Fong led a Sing-Along of Island Songs on August 17 to celebrate when Hawaii became the 50th state of the union on August 21, 1959.

“Being new here, we’re trying to learn Hawaiian songs. We sing Hawaii Aloha at church,” commented a caregiver who has been bringing her elderly mother to the monthly Sing-Along program.

“I like the stories about the songs. You tell them with aloha,” commented another returnee to the program.

Twenty people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Island Songs on Thursday, August 17 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. We chose the monthly theme to celebrate Hawaii’s Statehood Day on August 21, 1959. Learn more about statehood.

The “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room, and having my husband provide the u-bass line to fill in the lower tones to the higher pitched ‘ukulele worked great!

Here are the 10 island songs we learned:

  1. Island Medley (5 islands) – Hum Ding-Ah / I Wanna Rest Strums.
  2. King Kamehameha the Conqueror of the Islands – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  3. Maui – Ulupalakua – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  4. Maui – Maui Waltz – 2 Waltz Strums.
  5. Maui – Lahaina – Latin Strum.
  6. Maui – Puamana – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  7. Oahu – On the Beach at Waikiki – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  8. Big Island – My Little Grass Shack – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  9. Kauai – Hanalei Moon – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

HERE’S HOW TO LEARN THE ABOVE SONGS FROM WHEREVER YOU LIVE:

  1. LISTEN TO THE RECORDINGS IN THE FREE ONLINE FAN CLUB and then schedule private lessons on Maui or via webcam to get the song sheets and feedback.
  1. PURCHASE A PACKAGED SET OF BOOK/DVD/CD to learn the songs off-line.
  1. DOWNLOAD A SINGLE SONG PURCHASE to your digital device. Get the song sheets, video lesson, audio recording, and video story behind the song for the song you select.

Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hawaiian Party Songs on Thursday, September 7 as we celebrate Aloha Festivals month.

Visit my webpage about classes at Kaunoa and see photos from past classes for more.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Homesteading in Hana, Maui

On Saturday, June 24 we embarked on a one-day journey to Hana, Maui. This date happened to be my mom’s 94th birthday had she lived (she died in February 2017). The long and winding road led us on a trip down memory lane. I spent childhood summers with my grandparents in Hana and we still have homestead property there. Enjoy! Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

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The drive to Hana takes about 2 hours each way over many twists and turns and over 57 bridges.

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I remember jumping into these fresh water pools to swim with my teenage friends. The area is now an official rest stop easily accessible off the Hana highway.

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Wainapanapa State Park was our first stop on the road to Hana.  I used to swim in the freshwater cave before it became popular. (Photo of husband Rich Tom)

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We enjoyed our picnic lunch at Hana Bay. I spent many happy summers with my grandparents in Hana and Hamoa, and used to have fun swimming and jumping off the rocks into the water with my country cousins as a child.

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After seeing our homestead property in Hamoa (just outside Hana), we headed back home and stopped at the Wailua overlook. My Aunty Maggie used to farm taro in the valley.

 

 

Honoring the King Who Unified the Hawaiian Islands

Kamehameha the Great

Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands

On Monday, June 12 the state of Hawai’i observes King Kamehameha Day, one of two holidays that recognize Hawaiian royalty (Prince Kuhio Day is the other). The holiday is usually celebrated on the king’s birthday of June 11 but this year the date falls on a Sunday (so the holiday is Monday).

King Kamehameha 1 aka Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands to form the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1810. He ruled until his death in 1819 and the monarchy continued until the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893.

Kamehameha’s grandson, Lot Kapuaiwa aka Kamehameha V, established the first King Kamehameha Day on June 11, 1872. The commoners attended fairs, carnivals, horse races and more to honor their former king. When Hawai’i became a state in 1959, the state legislature continued the royal holiday.

Today on Maui, there is a parade in Lahaina and a commemorative march in Kahului. The parade includes marching bands, colorful floats, and pa’u riders on horseback culminating at the famous Banyan Tree Park for a Ho’olaule’a (public party featuring Hawaiian foods, entertainment, and crafts). The march is organized by the Royal Order of Kamehameha and includes members of the four royal societies marching solemnly down Ka’ahumanu Avenue to honor the king’s memory. I have participated in several marches as a member of Ahahui Ka’ahumanu, a royal society of Native Hawaiian women honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of King Kamehameha.

On Oahu, there is a lei draping ceremony at King Kamehameha’s statue at Ali’iolani Hale, the annual King Kamehameha Hula Competition at Blaisdell Arena, and the floral parade in Waikiki. The King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade is the longest parade in the state.

On the Big Island of Hawai’i, there is a lei draping ceremony at the original statue of King Kamehameha at his birthplace in North Kohala followed by a Ho’olaule’a, and the Kamehameha Festival in Hilo.

Read more about Kamehameha Day festivities in 2017.

‘UKULELE PLAYERS can learn to play two songs honoring King Kamehameha:

  1. Na Ali’i, a traditional Hawaiian song written by Samuel Kuahiwi in 1928 in praise of the chiefs and includes two of their famous sayings. Purchase the single song and download the PDF song sheet with Hum Ding-Ah Strum, video lesson, audio recording, and video story behind the song in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions. Buy Now.
  2. King Kamehameha the Conqueror of the Islands, a hapa haole song written by Johnny Noble and Ted Fiorito in 1934, tells the story in English. Listen to the audio recording in the free online Fan Club and then schedule private lessons by webcam or on Maui to get the PDF song sheet with I Wanna Rest Strum and 4 And Strum and to learn how to play it.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

First Mother’s Day Without Mom

May Day Queen

Mom and me celebrating my being crowned May Day Queen in 6th grade because of academic achievements

My memories of mom are of standing next to the piano and beating time with her hands like a human metronome as I practiced playing songs. I started piano lessons when I was 7-years-old, and continued all the way through high school and into college at the Conservatory of Music at University of Pacific in Stockton, California. Along the way, I learned ‘ukulele, taught myself to play guitar, and entertained audiences. All of our family parties involved gathering around the piano and playing music.

Read more about growing up in Hawaii.

On February 10, 2017 my mom passed away making me a motherless child (my dad died on August 14, 2012.) On March 10, during my mom’s Celebration of Life, I presented a 6-minute slideshow movie titled “Fong Family Memories – A Tribute To My Parents.” The slideshow chronicled 93 years of my mom’s life and gives a sense of where I come from. It was hard to talk about my mom without also talking about my dad as they were married for 68 years when he passed away. It’s easy to see the musical influence and joy of making music that my parents instilled in me from a young age. In the background you’ll hear the music of Kui Lee singing “Days of My Youth” which he wrote when he was dying from cancer and dedicated to his son.

View the tribute on my YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/OfslGCy4uc4

Another memory of my mom was feeling her pride when I was crowned May Day queen for a day in 6th grade when I was selected based on scholastic achievement by my elementary school teachers for the annual program. In Hawaii, May 1st is celebrated with May Day school programs including a royal king and queen, and princesses representing the 8 Hawaiian Islands. It was a big deal to be selected as Queen. Our royal court sat underneath the shade of the huge monkey pod tree while children from classes K-6 performed Hawaiian dances for us. Today, elementary schools stagger their May Day programs throughout the month rather than only on May 1st.

This year we are celebrating Mother’s Day with friends Jim and Julie Bills who are visiting from Brisbane, Australia. We had them over to our house for a jam session after they attended my Sing-Along with Mele Fong series: Flower and Lei Songs on Thursday, May 4th. Read the program review and see their picture.

I remember my dad saying, “Music is the universal language. It will open doors for you.” How true that is as we continue to make musical connections and friends with people from all over the world.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Celebrate May Day in Hawaii

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May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i

May 1st is also known as “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.” Invented in 1927, writer and poet Don Blanding wrote an article in the local paper suggesting that a holiday be created around the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. Fellow writer Grace Tower Warren came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1st in conjunction with May Day. She is also responsible for the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.”

The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928 and everyone in Honolulu was encouraged to wear lei, and festivities were held downtown with hula, music, lei making demos and exhibits and contest.

On May 4th, I am presenting a program about flower and lei songs as we celebrate May Day on Maui. The program is part of my Sing-Along with Mele Fong series from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. The program evokes the feeling of sing-along with Mitch Miller programs as the lyrics and ‘ukulele chords are projected on the large screen in front of room for everyone to follow. ‘Ukulele players are invited to bring instruments to play along. Lunch is optional. Call Kaunoa at 808-270-7308 to sign up.

Live away from Maui? There are several ways to learn to play Hawaiian and hapa haole songs from me:

  1. Visit my online Fan Club and listen to audio recordings of songs you can learn to play via private webcam lessons.
  2. Select a packaged song set of book/DVD/CD of 6 songs with 8 different strumming styles to learn off-line.
  3. Download a single song lesson to your digital device and get only the song you want to learn to play.
  4. Purchase online lessons for self study via a One Month Trial or Subscribe to the Recurring Monthly Package.

For more about May Day in Hawaii, visit http://gohawaii.about.com/cs/festivals/a/lei_day_hawaii.htm

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing Flower and Lei Songs for May Day

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Celebrate May Day with Ukulele Mele

In celebration of May Day, join us for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong series as we learn flower and lei songs on Thursday, May 4 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. The program evokes the feeling of sing-along with Mitch Miller programs as the lyrics and ‘ukulele chords are projected on the large screen in front of room for everyone to follow. ‘Ukulele players are invited to bring instruments to play along. Lunch is optional. Call Kaunoa at 808-270-7308 to register for the program on Maui.

Listen to our recording of the hapa haole song “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” at http://ukulelemeleonmaui.com/images/fullaudio/MayDay.mp3  and then learn how to play it via private ‘ukulele lessons with me via private webcam lessons from the comfort of your home.

May 1st is also known as “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.” Invented in 1927, writer and poet Don Blanding wrote an article in the local paper suggesting that a holiday be created around the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. Fellow writer Grace Tower Warren came up with the idea of a holiday on May 1st in conjunction with May Day. She is also responsible for the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.”

The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928 and everyone in Honolulu was encouraged to wear lei, and festivities were held downtown with hula, music, lei making demos and exhibits and contest.

Originally from Oklahoma, Don Blanding is also credited with inventing the custom of tossing your lei overboard when you sailed from Honolulu. If the lei came back to shore, it meant you would return.

For more about May Day in Hawaii, visit

For more information about my classes offered at Kaunoa Senior Center, click here.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele