Serenaders Perform July 9 in Lahaina

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

The Hawaiian Serenaders, comprised of the husband-wife duo of Rich Tom and Mele Fong, present Story of the Ukulele and Concert on Saturday,  June 9 at 11 a.m. at Lahaina Public Library on Maui. The program includes the history of the instrument, display of different sizes of ukulele, and a variety of songs to demonstrate the instrument’s versatility.

The Hawaiian Serenaders, comprised of the husband-wife duo of Rich Tom and Mele Fong, present Story of the Ukulele and Concert on Saturday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at Lahaina Public Library on Maui. The program includes the history of the instrument, display of different sizes of ukulele, and a variety of songs to demonstrate the instrument’s versatility. We are honored to be sponsored by the University of Hawaii Statewide Cultural Extension Program to be able to present our educational program to the public.

Our appreciation goes to the head librarian who asked us to return after performing at Lahaina Public Library twice last year.

  1. Read about the program we did for 50-5th graders on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 by clicking here.
  2. Read about the program we did for the general public on Saturday, July 1, 2017 by clicking here.

For more information about the entertainment services of our duo, The Hawaiian Serenaders, click here.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Hawaii State Holidays Program

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

State Holidays was the title of the program on Wednesday, May 30 at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui. This was the second in the new Hawaiian History and Song Series for 2018.

Seventeen people signed up for State Holidays, the second program in my new Hawaiian History and Song Series for 2018 on Wednesday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. The focus was on learning the history behind Kuhio Day and Kamehameha Day, Hawaii’s two state holidays honoring past royalty, and singing related songs. Part one lecture took about 60-minutes, followed by Part two taking 25-minutes to get through five songs. The first two songs honored Kamehameha and the second two songs honored Prince Kuhio by taking place in Waikiki where he lived with his wife.

Afterwards, one new attendee came up to ask when the next program would be (just when I’m wondering whether to continue the history series next year). It was rewarding to see many returning people who expressed their enjoyment of the program, too.

Here is the list of 5 songs with my unique ‘ukulele strums that we played:

  1. Hawaii Ponoi – Waltz Variation Strum.
  2. King Kamehameha the Conqueror of the Islands – I Wanna Rest/4And Strums.
  3. Kaimana Hila – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  4. On The Beach at Waikiki – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  5. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

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

DOWNLOAD A SINGLE SONG PURCHASE to your digital device. Get the song sheets, video lesson, audio recording, and video story behind the song bundled for one low price.

PURCHASE A PACKAGED SONG SET OF BOOK/DVD/CD. Get the song sheets, video lesson, and audio recording for 6 songs with 8 unique strumming styles to learn off-line.

  1. Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs, Vol. 1 – On The Beach At Waikiki plus 5 other songs for intermediate ‘ukulele players.
  2. Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs, Vol. 2 – Kaimana Hila, Hawaii Aloha, plus 4 other songs for intermediate ‘ukulele players.

SCHEDULE PRIVATE WEBCAM LESSONS. Listen to the audio recording of King Kamehameha on my website Fan Club, and then get the song sheet with your private webcam lesson on how to play it.

The Hawaiian History and Song series continues on the 5th Wednesdays of the month. The next program is August 29 and is titled Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders (Queen Emma, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, King William Lunalilo, Queen Kapiolani, and Queen Lili’uokalani.

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

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

History Behind Kamehameha Day

Kamehameha the Great

Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. Kamehameha Day is one of two state holidays honoring past royalty.

Kamehameha Day was first declared by King Kamehameha V on June 11, 1871 to honor his grandfather, Kamehameha the Great, on his birthday.  Kamehameha lived from June 11, 1758 – May 18,1819. The first observance of the holiday with parades and more was the following year. When Hawai’i became a state in 1959, Kamehameha Day was one of the two holidays honoring past royalty that were proclaimed by the governor and state legislature.

In 1997, I led the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Chorale during the annual Kamehameha Day program at our Nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C. Kamehameha Schools was established in 1887 by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great. The private school aims to produce industrious men and women of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Fellow alumnus U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and U.S. House of Representative Neil Abercrombie both from Hawai’i participated in the program at the Capitol. Read more about the program here.

Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. His dynasty lasted through five kings followed by King Kalākaua, King Lunalilo, and then Queen Lili’uokalani who was overthrown in 1893. Hawai’i is the only state of the United States to have had a monarchy and the only state where you can visit a palace where the monarchs once lived.

On May 30, 2018, I am presenting a program on Maui about King Kamehameha as part of my new Hawaiian History and Song Series on State Holidays. Read more about the program here.

Ukulele players can learn to play two Hawaiian songs about King Kamehameha:

  1. Na Ali’i – honors Hawaii’s chiefs. Listen to the audio sample and download the digital lesson files here.
  2. King Kamehameha The Conqueror of the Islands – about the battle on Oahu. Listen to the audio recording and then schedule a private webcam lesson to learn how to play it.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

State Holidays and Song for May

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

State Holidays and Song is the title of the program on Wednesday, May 30 at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui.

State Holidays and Song is the title of my program on Wednesday, May 30 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We will learn about Kamehameha Day and Kuhio Day and the significance behind these two state holidays honoring Hawai’i’s royalty. Plus we will sing some songs related to the time period and learn the stories behind the songs in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions.

Participants can follow the song’s lyrics and ‘ukulele chords projected onto the large screen at the front of the room (similar to Sing-Along with Mitch Miller). All ‘ukulele players are invited to bring instruments to play along as I lead everyone by singing and playing my ‘ukulele while my husband accompanies us on ‘ukulele-bass.

Similar to the new additions in my Sing-Along with Mele Fong series, there is a slide before each song that shows the unique strum graphic (how we play the rhythm) and the chord shapes with corresponding finger numbers for playing the ‘ukulele. Don’t worry if you don’t know the ‘ukulele chords or the unique strumming pattern for the songs. The focus is on learning Hawaiian history, singing the songs, finding out the stories behind them, and enjoying the group experience.

Lunch is optional and a good time to sit around and talk story with like minded people who enjoy Hawaiian history, singing, and playing the ‘ukulele.

SIGN UP NOW by calling 808-270-7308.

This program is the second of the new Hawaiian History and Song series for 2018 on the 5th Wednesdays of the month. The next program is titled Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders scheduled for August 29.

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KEEP HAWAIIAN MUSIC ALIVE from wherever you live! Click here.

  1. Download Single Song lessons to your digital device
  2. Purchase Packaged Song Sets of book/DVD/CD for Nostalgic Hawaiian songs
  3. Schedule Private Webcam Lessons for feedback
  4. Subscribe to Complete Monthly Online Lessons and learn many Hawaiian songs
  5. Listen to free audio recordings of Hawaiian songs and then schedule lessons to learn how to play them

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

History Behind May Day in Hawaii

May Day Queen

Mele Fong was crowned by teachers at Kahala Elementary School as May Day queen in 1967. Mele was selected based on academic achievements and happened to be the first queen of Native Hawaiian ancestry. This photo shows Mele and her proud mom before the royal court entered the area. Mele was 12 years-old and in the sixth grade.

“May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” is a song and a special occasion celebrated on the first of May in Hawaii Nei. The song was composed by Leonard “Red” Hawk in 1928 for the first Lei Day festival. Later in 1943, the composer adapted the words to the times and wrote “My War Lei” to emphasize the use of war stamps for leis during WWII.

May Day (May 1st) is also celebrated as Lei Day in Hawaii. Invented in 1927, Don Blanding wrote an article in the local newspaper 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 also came up with 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.

May Day is also the time for school events. When I was in the 6th grade, I was crowned by teachers at Kahala Elementary School as May Day queen in 1967. I was selected based on academic achievements and happened to be the first queen of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Along with the king and our court of princesses representing each of the main Hawaiian Islands, we presided over the day’s activities for grades K-6. Each class performed a hula or another cultural dance for May Day.

LEARN TO PLAY my arrangement of “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” with the Hum Ding-Ah Strum in the key of G with 5-chords for ukulele. Listen to the audio recording and then request private webcam lessons from wherever you live and I will send you the song sheets and teach you how to play it.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Kamehameha Day at the Nation’s Capitol

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

U.S. Senator Akaka, Mele Fong, U.S. Rep Neil Abercrombie, and Richard Tom in front of King  Kamehameha statue in Statuary Hall in Washington DC, 1997

On June 8, 1997, I led the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Chorale during the Kamehameha Day ceremony honoring Hawaii’s first king in Washington, D.C. Our group sang “Hole Waimea” about the place on the Big Island of Hawaii where Kamehameha grew up and “Nā Ali’i about the chiefs and their famous sayings. My husband and I also sang “Ku’u Pua I Paoakalani” while Ipolani Lung danced hula to the song written by Queen Lili’uokalani about her home in Waikīkī. Kamehameha Schools alumnus U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka from Hawaii gave a talk about the national significance of King Kamehameha who united the Hawaiian islands into one kingdom in 1810.

After the program, my husband and I had the honor of taking a picture with Senator Akaka and U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie (from Hawaii) in front of King Kamehameha’s statue draped with leis. The Kamehameha Day ceremony has been happening at our Nation’s Capitol every year since 1969 when the statue of King Kamehameha was unveiled in Statuary Hall.

In 2008, the Kamehameha statue was moved to the new Visitors Center where the Kamehameha Day ceremony hosted by Hawaii State Society continues to this day.

On May 30, 2018, I will be presenting a talk about Kamehameha Day as part of my Hawaiian History and Song Series on the 5th Wednesdays of the month at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. We will be singing a few songs about King Kamehameha and more.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing Flower and Lei Songs for May

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Join in singing flower and lei songs to celebrate May Day is Lei Day (May 1st) for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on May 3 on Maui.

Join in singing flower and lei songs to celebrate May Day is Lei Day (May 1st) for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Thursday, May 3 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. Learn the history behind May Day in Hawaii.

My sing-along 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 ‘ukulele 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 Hula Songs Sing-Along Program

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

June Jones visiting from Arizona commented how excited she was to take ukulele classes again from Mele Fong after many years. Photo shows Richard Tom (Mele’s husband), Mele Fong, and June Jones at the start of the monthly “Sing-Along with Mele Fong” series at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui.

“Singing these songs brought back memories of my sister learning hula when we were growing up,” commented one lady after the Hula Songs program. June Jones visiting from Arizona commented how excited she was to take ukulele classes again from Mele Fong after many years.

Twenty-three people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hula Songs on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

During the new “Hawaiian history moment of the month” I talked about April 1-7 being the 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long event in Hilo, Hawai’i that features an internationally acclaimed hula competition and more dedicated to the memory of King David Kalākaua, also known as the “Merrie Monarch” for his fun loving ways and support of Hawaiian music and hula. Read more by clicking here.

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! New for this program I changed the graphic layout, background color, and font to Arial after learning this font is the easiest to read at a distance. These changes were in addition to a slide showing the strum graphic and ukulele chord shape images before each song. We continued the routine of learning how to pronounce any Hawaiian words in the songs, the story behind each song whether it was Hawaiian or not, and playing each song twice to reinforce what we learned.

We sang all ten songs that we had prepared for the 75-minute program including Hawai’i Aloha (in the Hawaiian language) that is traditionally sung to end a public event in Hawai’i. Here is the song list with my unique ‘ukulele strums:

  1. Keep Your Eyes on the Hands – I Wanna Rest Strum and 4And Strum.
  2. Papalina Lahilahi – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  3. Hula Lolo – I Wanna Rest Strum and 4And Strum.
  4. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin Strums.
  5. Hukilau Song – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. E Huli Makou – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  7. My Little Grass Shack – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  8. Sophisticated Hula – Boom Shaka I Wanna Strum.
  9. Lovely Hula Hands – I Wanna Rest and 4And Strum.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

HERE’S HOW UKULELE PLAYERS CAN LEARN THE ABOVE SONGS FROM WHEREVER YOU LIVE:

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 on how to play it.

  1. From the Hawaiian Songs Category – E Huli Makou, Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai, and Papalina Lahilahi.
  2. From the Hapa Haole Songs Category – Hukilau Song, Hula Lolo, Keep Your Eyes on the Hands, Lovely Hula Hands, My Little Grass Shack, and Sophisticated Hula.
  3. See all categories of songs with over 100+ audio recordings that you can sing and play along with professional entertainers on voice, ukulele, and ukulele-bass.

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

  1. Hawaii Aloha
  2. See all Single Song Purchases

PURCHASE A PACKAGED SONG SET OF BOOK/DVD/CD. Get the song sheets, video lesson, and audio recording for 6 songs with 8 unique strumming styles for beginners to advance ukulele players.

  1. Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs, Vol. 2 – Hawai’i Aloha plus 5 other songs for intermediate ‘ukulele players.
  2. See all packaged song sets

Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Flower and Lei Songs on Thursday, May 3.

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

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing Hula Songs on April 5, 2018

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Hula songs to celebrate the 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival from April 1-7 at Hilo, Hawaii is the theme for this month’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 10 a.m. to noon at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui.

Hula songs to celebrate the 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival from April 1 -7 at Hilo, Hawaii is the theme for this month’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Thursday, April 5 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.  Learn more about the Merrie Monarch Festival by clicking here.

My sing-along 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 ‘ukulele 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.

**********************************************************

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

History Behind the Merrie Monarch Festival

“Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people” — King David Kalākaua.

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

The 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival is April 1-7 in Hilo, Hawaii. The week-long event features an internationally acclaimed hula competition and is dedicated to King David Kalakaua, a patron of the arts.

This year marks the 55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long event in Hilo, Hawai’i that features an internationally acclaimed hula competition, invitational Hawaiian arts fair and grand parade dedicated to the memory of King David Kalākaua, also known as the “Merrie Monarch.” The festival is held annually during the week after Easter, this year being April 1-7.

The Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce began the festival in 1963 to perpetuate, preserve, and promote the art of hula and the Hawaiian culture. Five years later, a community non-profit organization was formed “that honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, who inspired the perpetuation of our traditions, native language and arts.”

Kalākaua was the seventh and last king of the Hawaiian Nation. He was elected in 1874 and reigned until he died in 1891. During his day, Hawaiian beliefs and traditions were suppressed after many years under Christian missionary teachings. Ancient Hawaiians had no written language and used chants and hula to record such things as genealogy and to pass on stories. Kalākaua was a patron of the arts, especially music and dance, and advocated for a renewed sense in all things Hawaiian. At Kalākaua’s royal coronation in 1883, there were public displays of hula for the first time since the missionaries’ arrival in 1820. In 1886, Kalākaua celebrated his 50th birthday known as the Silver Jubilee with two-weeks of festivities including chant and hula dancers performing in public. Every year the Merrie Monarch Festival continues what King David Kalākaua started by hosting a week-long festival to show Hawaiian cultural pride is alive and well in Hilo, Hawai’i.

Kalākaua was also a supporter of ‘ukulele playing. In 1879, three fine wood craftsmen from Madeira, an island off Portugal, immigrated to Hawai’i and brought with them the braguiha or machete that evolved into what we know today as Hawai’i’s official instrument, the ‘ukulele.

‘Ukulele players can keep Hawaiian music alive by learning Hawaiian songs and stories the Ukulele Mele Way by clicking here.

 

Singers and ‘ukulele players are invited to my monthly “Sing-Along with Mele Fong” series with the theme of hula songs in honor of the Merrie Monarch Festival on Thursday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Kaunoa Senior Center in Maui. Write me for information.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele