Review Big Island Songs 2017

Get Single Song Purchases of Big Island Songs & more

“This is my favorite class.” “More people should come to your program.” Hearing these comments from my students brings a smile and sense of accomplishment of achieving my goal of sharing the joy of making music one ‘ukulele players at-a-time.

Eighteen people signed up for my Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Big Island Songs on Thursday, March 2 from 10:00 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults age 55 and better. In the second year, the program evokes the feeling of sing-along with Mitch Miller programs from long ago. I used PowerPoint to project the lyrics and chords for 8 songs up on the screen so everyone could see. The presentation of 47 slides (approximately 4 lines per slide) took 1 hour and 10 minutes. As I introduced each song, I told the story behind it in keeping with Hawaiian oral traditions whether the song was Hawaiian or not. For songs in the Hawaiian language, I taught how to pronounce the lyrics and the translation. We all had fun singing while I played my ‘ukulele and my husband accompanied the group on his u-bass.

Here are the 8 Hawaiian and hapa haole songs we learned:

  1. Kupa Landing – by Lot Keawe, 1890s.
  2. Akaka Falls – by Helen Lindsey Parker.
  3. Kuhio Bay – by Keliana Bishaw.
  4. The Beauty of Mauna Kea – by Keola Beamer, 1976.
  5. Hilo March – by Joseph Ae’a, 1890s.
  6. Kaula ‘Ili – traditional.
  7. My Little Grass Shack – by Johnny Noble, Tommy Harrison, Bill Cogswell.
  8. Hawaii Aloha – by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons, 1800s

You can learn to play three of the above song arrangements from wherever you live. Select the song you want to purchase one at-a-time and get the downloadable song sheet, video lesson, audio recording, and video story behind the song in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions whether the song is Hawaiian or not. Click on the song titles below to hear an audio sample:

  1. Akaka Falls – 2 Waltz Strums
  2. My Little Grass Shack – I Wanna Rest Strum
  3. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum

Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Kauai Songs coming on Thursday, April 26. Learn more about classes offered at Kaunoa Senior Center for 2017.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Feb 2017 Ukulele Workshop

February workshop fun

Eleven people came to my 40th ‘Ukulele Strumming Workshop on February 18, 2017 at Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House in Wailuku. This brings the total to 515 people I have taught since my 2-hour workshops began on July 14, 2012. Participants came from Utah, Oahu, and Maui.

My goal for the workshops is to introduce people to the Ukulele Mele Way so they will want to learn more. The youngest participants were a teenage brother and sister from Utah who did great.

We played the following:

Part 1: (3 different strums)
1. Horse with No Name – Chalang-alang strum (Am, A7sus)
2. Lion Sleeps Tonight – Chalang-alang strum and I Wanna Rest Strum (C, F, G7)
3. She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (C, F, G7)

Part 2: (2 different strums)
4. Happy Birthday – Chalang strum and Latin Strum (C, F, G7)
5. My Girl – Latin Strum (C, F, G7)
6. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code strum (C, C7, F, Fm, G7)

The next workshop is scheduled for March 18, 2017. Register now and then pay the $10 non-member or $5 museum member fee at the door-of the museum. This will be the last workshop until October 2017.

Can’t make it to Maui? Schedule private webcam lessons from the comfort of your home while I teach you from mine. Visit my online Fan Club and listen to 98 audio recordings of songs you can learn to play the Ukulele Mele Way with private lessons. Another option is to subscribe to online lessons for self-study or purchase Single Song Lessons (choose from 40 songs) to download to your digital device. There are many ways to have fun learning the Ukulele Mele Way.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Hawaiian Serenaders Perform with a Keyboardist

Before our show with George Kahumoku, Jr.

The Hawaiian Serenaders talked story with Grammy Award winner George Kahumoku, Jr. before the start of our show last Saturday, January 21, at the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu. George asked us for ideas on venues in Washington, D.C. where he could perform when he goes there next month. George knows that we used to live in Maryland and perform in Washington. D.C. and we know some of the same people. The occasion was the 5th Anniversary party for Maui Business Brainstormers, an organization of business owners and entrepreneurs who meet regularly to network and help each other solve business challenges. I am a member of MBB and happen to have served on the entertainment committee as part of the planning committee for the party.

Serenaders perform pop and jazz with a keyboardist

The best part of being on the entertainment committee was meeting Michael Elam, President of Mana’o Radio (a local FM station) and keyboardist. When Mike suggested that it would be fun to play music together for the party, we jumped at the chance. Rich and I rehearsed 3 times in 3 weeks with Mike and then it was show time. At our last rehearsal it took exactly 30-minutes to play our trio set which was exactly the plan for the time slot.

The party started at 5:30 p.m. and ended around 8:45 p.m. (earlier than 10 p.m. as planned). In addition to participating in 3 planning committee meetings, we setup our Bose sound system and provided the following services at the party for 110 guests:

  • Provided 45-minutes of instrumental music (pre-recorded on mp3 player) during guest registration, cocktails, meet and greet.
  • Performed 60-minutes during dinner hour (as a duo playing Hawaiian and hapa haole favorites from memory and as a trio playing pop and jazz cover songs).
  • Provided pre-recorded music of the Chicken Dance and I led the motions for group participation.
  • Provided sound system support for Mike to sing and play keyboard as I changed the words for each song that was projected from the computer onto the screen for a group sing-along of Beatles songs.
  • Performed “With A Little Help From My Friends” and then “Hawaii Aloha” to close the party.

Over 100 business people attended the event

After the party, we received many compliments directly and through others. I thought it was great when one couple got up to dance to the first song we played with Mike titled “Uwehi Ami and Slide.” A memory I have is seeing Nancy Kahumoku (George’s wife) moving in time to our music each time she got up from the table to get something to eat. It felt good to showcase what we do and the mix of music we play. “Your music is not boring,” said one person. I put a lot of thought into the selection of songs, tempos, styles, and language, so that we keep our audience guessing what’s next.

Here is The Hawaiian Serenaders set of Hawaiian and hapa haole songs we did from memory:

  1. Kupa Landing
  2. To You Sweetheart Aloha
  3. Wahine Ilikea
  4. I’ll Remember You
  5. Ulupalakua
  6. Hanalei Moon
  7. Island Medley
  8. Lahainaluna
  9. O Ka Leo
  10. Beyond the Reef
  11. Koni Au I Ka Wai
  12. Sophisticated Hula

Here is the trio set of pop and jazz songs we did together (with alternating instrumental solos):

  1. Uwehi Ami and Slide
  2. Flying
  3. Night and Day
  4. Autumn Leaves
  5. Fly Me To the Moon
  6. Girl From Ipanema
  7. I Wish You Love
  8. More

A fun time was had by all. Visit The Hawaiian Serenaders webpage to learn more.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Christmas Party 2016 Review

Advanced Ukulele class at our Christmas Party 2016

Thirty people signed up for the 4th Annual Ukulele Mele Christmas Party held on Wednesday, December 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon. at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. The party had 4 parts: “Kaunoa Through the Years” PowerPoint presentation, play/sing along of Christmas songs, ornament game, and lunch. Afterwards, one student thanked me for having the party especially when she couldn’t be with her family that live on the mainland. I should have replied, “We are your ‘ukulele family.”

PART ONE. This was the second year that I showed a PowerPoint presentation about the evolution of classes since I began teaching at Kaunoa in January 2009. New this year, I prepared summaries of each year from 2009-2016 in consistent formats in blog posts and filed them in a new category titled “Senior Classes.” I also cleaned up the webpage for senior classes on my website and linked the blog posts that summarize the year’s classes. I enjoyed selecting best of photos for the years and hearing comments from past, present, and future students as they watched my presentation.

In summary, from 2009-2016 I taught 648 classes including student performances and our shows:

  • 582 classes
  • 20 classes led by a facilitator for my online courses
  • 41 Band shows at Kaunoa and in the community
  • 5 Hawaiian Serenader (professional shows)

Read blog posts summarizing classes from the past 7 years:

PART TWO. This was the second year that everyone played and sang-along to all 13 Christmas songs from the online Fan Club. Before the party, the Advanced Ukulele class and the Ukulele Strumming 202 class had one 2-hour class to learn the songs. Everyone else shared the music and played the songs on the spot. Here is our song list in order:

  1. Jingle Bells
  2. Silver Bells
  3. Feliz Navidad
  4. Mele Kalikimaka Ia ‘Oe
  5. Hawaiian Santa
  6. Holly Jolly Christmas
  7. The Christmas Song
  8. Winta Wandaland
  9. Christmas Island
  10. White Christmas
  11. Aloha Kalikimaka
  12. Christmas Luau
  13. Mele Kalikimaka

“Holiday songs that could have been tired and predictable became creative and challenging” –Read more of E.S. testimonial.

See photos from the party and other classes at Kaunoa for 2016. (Note: on the bottom of the page look for “Ordering”  then select “Date Ascending” to view photos in chronological order.)

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

December Ukulele Workshop Review

We played Christmas songs at the December Workshop

Seven people came to my 38th ‘Ukulele Strumming Workshop on December 17, 2016 at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku. This brings the total to 499 people I have taught since my 2-hour workshops began on July 14, 2012. Participants came from Argentina, Seattle, WA, and from Maui.

Since it was December, I thought it would be fun to play Christmas songs at the workshop. Thus, I quickly moved people from learning the basics to playing 5-chord songs in different keys. There is a fine line between challenging and frustrating people to do something beyond their abilities. I suggested that people focus on what they want to learn, such as just form the chords or just try strumming the different rhythms rather than trying to put both hands together right away. My goal for the workshops is to introduce people to the Ukulele Mele Way so will want to learn more. Two people scheduled private lessons after the workshop which made me very happy.

We played the following:

Part 1: (4 different strums)
1. Horse with No Name – Chalang-alang strum (Am, A7sus)
2. Lion Sleeps Tonight – Chalang-alang strum (C, F, G7)
3. Jingle Bells – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (C, D7, F, G7)
4. Silver Bells – 2 Waltz Strums (F, F7, Bb, C7)

Part 2: (4 different strums)
5. Feliz Navidad – Latin Strum (F, Gm7, C7)
6. Silent Night – in 4/4 all downs and then in waltz/Pick in 6 (F, F7, Bb, Bbm, C7)
7. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code strum (C, C7, F, Fm, G7)

Had a fun and instructive time” –S.S., Seattle, WA

Learn to play Jingle Bells and Silent Night as Single Song Purchases or in my Mele Kalikimaka Vol. 1 packaged set of book/DVD/CD.

Learn to play Hawaii Aloha as a Single Song Purchase on in my Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Vol. 2 packaged set of book/DVD/CD.

The next workshop is scheduled for January 21, 2017. Sign up now and then pay the $10 non-member or $5 museum member fee at the door-of the museum.

Can’t make it to Maui? Schedule private webcam lessons with me from home.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Ukulele Mele Music Week

Les presents a lei to Mele at the Island Party on November 18

“The best was Ukulele Week which was so much fun – I love it,” wrote Les Perreira referring to a special week of ‘ukulele classes and concerts from November 12 – 19 to celebrate my 7th year of teaching at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better and my 5th year in business as Ukulele Mele On Maui. Read Les’s full testimonial on my website.

In the hopes of attracting new students to my classes at Kaunoa Senior Center, I planned a special singing class and special ‘ukulele class to learn the 9 Hawaiian Island songs for the group sing/play along at the end of the week’s culminating event called “Mele’s Island Party.” I used PowerPoint to project the words and ‘ukulele chords onto the screen at the front of the room so everyone looked forward rather than down at their song sheets. I was pleased that new people came in addition to students from my continuing ‘ukulele classes who signed up for the entire week. Here is a summary of the week’s special classes at Kaunoa:

32 came to Mele’s Island Party (the culminating event) at Kaunoa Senior Center for Ukulele Mele Music Week

  1. Monday, November 14 from 9 – 11 a.m. Fifteen people came to my special singing class. We went over the stories behind the songs, how to pronounce the Hawaiian lyrics, and sang each song at least twice as they learned the songs without needing to read music. Some of my ‘ukulele students brought their instruments and played along. There were some new faces and one lady who said she came because she liked my program on “Na Lani Eha – The Four Royals” about Hawaiian history and singing Hawaiian songs which I gave the previous month. Success!
  2. Tuesday, November 15 from 9 – 11 a.m. Seventeen people came to my special ‘ukulele class. It was difficult to teach without song sheets showing the chord shapes and strum graphic showing the rhythm pattern which I provide in my ‘ukulele classes, but we managed. This method was the real deal of the old Hawaiian way of “watch, listen, play” without reading music and it worked! One current ‘ukulele student commented on how much easier it was to learn this way rather than looking at paper. New students who I never had before in my ‘ukulele classes came and had fun which is what I had hoped for.
  3. Wednesday, November 16 from 8 – 10 a.m. Ten students came to my regularly scheduled continuing class called “Ukulele Strumming 202.” We reviewed the songs for the end of the week event referring to the printed song sheets which is such a different learning experience from PowerPoint. As a class they sounded good. Horray!
  4. Thursday, November 17 from 10 – noon. Twenty people came to The Hawaiian Serenaders “Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert.” My husband and I are fortunate to be on the list of artists available for hire through the University of Hawai’i Statewide Cultural Extension Program. We met the program’s educational requirements by giving a 20-minute talk on the history of the ‘ukulele in addition to showing the different types of instruments from our private collection. We performed 17 songs showcasing different musical genres as we traveled through time from the 1800’s to the 1970s and beyond including a parody that we made up for the Maui Marathon. I know that every so often I need to perform in front of an audience and just play music without having to worry about playing simply so my students can follow me. I do enjoy entertaining with my husband and hearing appreciative comments from the audience.
  5. Friday, November 18 from 10 – noon. Thirty two people came to “Mele’s Island Party.” It was rewarding to look out and see so many people playing their ‘ukulele and singing during the group sing/play along portion to 9 island songs. Seven members of the Maui Ukulele Pops Band from my Advanced ‘Ukulele class performed 10 songs including two women who also danced three hulas. I was proud to announce that some members have been with me since I first started teaching at Kaunoa in January 2009 and that two members just started. While on stage, it was fun to see a student still has her graduation diploma and to reminisce about the Alumni Club card good for a lifetime of ‘ukulele fun and fellowship that I used to give at the end of my Ukulele Beyond the Basics 6-month courses. I think it’s a good idea for seniors to play for seniors and to inspire them with what is possible with practice. My students are my ultimate walking testimonials to my ‘ukulele teaching abilities.

Sitting: Andrea, Claudia, Beverly. Standing: Apo, Charles, Kelcy, Kathleen, and us performed at the Island Party

All in all I feel good about the experiences that I provided my current and new students at Kaunoa Senior Center. It’s all about lifelong learning and having fun together. I make it a point to thank my students for being open to learning new things because if they weren’t willing, I wouldn’t be teaching. And I enjoy teaching and seeing the “a-hah” moments when a student gets it. For a list of upcoming and past classes at Kaunoa, click here.

For more information about Ukulele Mele Music Week:

  1. Announcement for the Week’s Activities for November 12 – 19, 2016.
  2. Review of the Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition on Saturday, November 12, 2016.
  3. Review of The Hawaiian Serenaders concert on November 17, 2016.
  4. Announcement for Island Party Event on November 18, 2016.
  5. Review of ‘Ukulele Strumming Workshop on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
  6. Photo Galleries – see photos from classes, Serenader concerts, etc.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Hawaiian Serenaders Concert

The Hawaiian Serenaders performed a “Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert” on November 17

“You sound better than the solo ‘ukulele players we heard last night at George Kahumoku’s concert series in Na Pili,” commented Fred Litt after our Hawaiian Serenaders show on Thursday, November 17 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. Fred complimented Rich on his u-bass playing as the lower tones fill out the higher pitched sound of the ‘ukulele making our duo sound fuller.

Twenty people attended our “A Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert” scheduled from 10 a.m. – noon. While most artists give one hour concerts, ours lasted 1 ½ hours. We gave a 20-minute talk about the history of the ‘ukulele and showed the different types of instruments from our private collection in addition to performing 17 songs showcasing different musical genres as we traveled through time from the 1800’s to the 1970s and beyond. We had planned on performing 18 songs but ended up cutting “Stranger in Paradise” as an example of a song taken from a movie as time was running out. “Wow,” commented a student after watching us perform.

For our song list with short introductions, go to the program announcement by clicking here.

Before the show, we arrived an hour early to setup which was a good thing as we had technical difficulties with the sound system. My ‘ukulele didn’t sound amplified although it was plugged in. Was it a bad cable? Did the instrument need a new battery for the pre-amp? Turns out it was a bad DI box (direct input) which required wiring us up differently. Then when the show started, we couldn’t hear ourselves playing because we didn’t have a monitor. However, the show must go on and on we went. The audience had no idea of the difficulties that went on behind the scenes.

I do enjoy sharing music just for the joy of playing my ‘ukulele and singing. Rich and I met on stage at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. playing for crowds of people attending a festival in 1993. We married in 1994 and have been entertaining as a husband-wife duo ever since. We are so fortunate that our voices blend and that we like the same music. As a ‘ukulele teacher at Kaunoa Senior Center since 2009, ever so often I have the need to just play music without worrying about playing so my students can follow along. I do enjoy performing and hopefully inspiring others to what is possible to play on the ‘ukulele with practice.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition

Ukulele Pop Band members Sandy, Claudia, Janet, Ellen, Andrea, Kelcy, Holly, Kathleen, Beverly, Charles, Mele & Rich.

“Thank you for sharing your talent,” said one woman as she passed by our Ukulele Mele on Maui display table while we were taking things down on Saturday, November 12 at the 9th Annual Ukulele Guild Exhibition at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului. Her comment meant a lot to me as we had led two groups on stage, the Maui Ukulele Pops Band and the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio, each performing 30-minute sets with 10 songs each with different degrees of complexity.

One of my students said she heard people saying how great we sounded whereas all the other groups sounded the same. The selection of songs, arrangements with different ukulele strumming patterns, and uniformed attire all contributed to our professional image on stage. The three other adult groups who performed only played the chalang-alang (even up and down) strum which is why all their songs sound the same. I have taught my students to go beyond the chalang-alang strum and I am so proud that they have. Ten Band members pictured above in the order they were on stage: Sandy, Claudia, Janet, Ellen, Andrea, Kelcy, Holly, Kathleen, Beverly, Charles, plus us.

“You folks are international,” exclaimed master of ceremonies Kathy Collins as we were setting up on stage for our next performance as the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio. Kathy mentioned to the audience that the Maui Ukulele Pops Band played Filipino, Japanese, Italian, and Hispanic songs besides the usual Hawaiian and hapa haole songs heard on the ‘ukulele.

“You really made his (my dance partner’s) day,” said Kathy after our trio performance. Kathy told us that this man has learning disabilities but knew all the words to the songs we played and enjoyed getting up to dance. He wasn’t the only one dancing as we noticed many people moving in time to the music and singing-along (which we encouraged them to do). Jazz Trio members: Rich on u-bass, myself on ukulele, and Cindee on ukulele and banjo uke (we all sang solos and harmony).

We displayed our NEW consistant look and feel for the 6 packaged song sets for beginners to advanced players

It was a long day. We arrived at the center at about 9:45 a.m. and left at 3:45 p.m. after talking to people all day and performing on stage twice with one costume change. The first thing we noticed was that our table was set off to the side away from the other display tables for the Maui Ukulele Guild members. We quickly moved it next to the other tables and from then on we had constant traffic from people stopping to check us out. I was the only ukulele teacher to have a display table. New this year I showed the new look for all my 6 packaged song sets of book/DVD/CD and a flyer about the upcoming strumming workshop to be held the following Saturday. After the event we attended the private party for participants until it ended at 8:30 p.m. We told the organizer that if this is the last year of the event, it was a good run.

For more information:

  1. Read the announcement for the event.
  2. See the song lists performed by both groups.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Four Royals History and Song Program

Before the program started, ‘ukulele student Dolly presented Mele with a puakenikeni lei she made.

“This is for you,” said Dolly Ching as she presented a puakenikeni lei that she made from flowers in her yard. “We’re so proud of you,” said Barbara Fernandez as she put a red hibiscus lei around my neck. I think she was referring to the recent article “A Song in Her Heart” published about me in The Maui News on October 14, 2016 (see the online version or download PDF version).

Eighteen people came to my program on Na Lani Eha: The Four Royals on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. This was the 4th of 4 programs in my Hawaiian History Series for 2016 and replaced the previously scheduled program for April that was cancelled due to sickness.

The program was in two parts. The first part was about each of the siblings: King David Kalākaua, Queen Lili’uokalani, Princess Miriam Likelike, and Prince William Pitt Leleiohōku. The second part was a sing-along and ‘ukulele play-along of a song from each of the four royal composers. The PowerPoint presentation lasted 80 minutes through 59 slides.

Click on the song titles to listen to audio samples:

  1. Koni Au I Ka Wai, written by King David Kalākaua in 1888, is a party song.
  2. Kaulana Na Pua, written by Ellen Prendergast in 1893, supports Queen Lili’uokalani after the overthrow of the monarchy.
  3. Ku’uipo I Ka He’e Pu’e One, written by Princess Likelike in the 1800s, is a love song and her best known composition.
  4. Hawaiian War Chant, written by Prince Leleiohōku in the 1860s and titled “We Two in Spray”, is a love song about two palace lovers who met in secret. In 1936, composer Johnny Noble borrowed the melody, Ralph Freed added English lyrics, and renamed the song Hawaiian War Chant.
  5. Hawaii Aloha, written in the 1800s by Reverend Lorenzo Lyons, tells about love for the islands.

Barbara gives Mele a red hibiscus lei

New this time, I talked through the entire first part lecture without reading from my script and opened it up to questions. I received favorable feedback after the program about how smooth and more personal it was when I talked “off the cuff.” I guess I surprised myself at how much I know about Hawaiian history that I was able to speak confidently without referring to my notes.

Once again, my husband accompanied the sing-along portion of the program by playing his u-bass. We did 5 songs including Hawaii Aloha as the traditional song to end the program. For each song I told the story behind the song in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions, taught everyone how to pronounce the Hawaiian lyrics, and then led everyone in singing the song twice (once to become familiar with the tune, and then once more to gain confidence).

What a kick to see my current ‘ukulele students all sitting together and having fun. I was also happy to see new faces and new ‘ukulele players playing along. Before the program started, I made a point of talking to new people and was surprised to recognize a couple that we had met at a Chinese Club New Year’s dinner last February. They commute back and forth between Seattle, Washington and Maui where they live in the same condo complex as one of my students. They told me they enjoyed themselves at my first program and had signed up for more classes during my Ukulele Mele Music Week coming up in November.

My ‘ukulele students enjoy sitting together to have more fun

‘Ukulele players can learn to play all the songs we did at the program by subscribing to Complete Monthly Online Lessons for Advanced players via the One Month Trial or Recurring Monthly Package. You can also learn a few songs offline via my packaged song sets with book/DVD/CD. The song Ku’uipo I Ka He’e Pu’e One is available in Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Volume One. The songs Koni Au, Hawaii Aloha, and Hawaiian War Chant are available in Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Volume Two.

(See photo galleries from past history programs)

(See other oral history programs)

(See past Kaunoa Senior Center programs)

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

October 2016 Workshop Review

5th season of Ukulele Strumming Workshops started Oct 15

Seventeen people came to my 36th ‘Ukulele Strumming Workshop on October 15, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku. This was a great kickoff to my 5th season since I began teaching these workshops at the museum on July 14, 2012. What surprised me was the high number of local Maui residents who came for the first time. Plus, two people from the mainland whom I first met last year, returned for their annual trip and pre-scheduled private ‘ukulele lessons with me which made me very happy.


We played the following:

Part 1: (4 different strums)
1. Horse with No Name – Chalang-alang strum
2. Lion Sleeps Tonight – Chalang-alang strum, I Wanna Rest strum, and Latin strums.
3. Medley: La Bamba/Twist and Shout – Latin Strum
4. She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain – Hum Ding-Ah strum (in Sing-Along Songs Vol. 1 set)

Part 2: (4 different strums)
5. The More We Get Together – 3 different waltz strums (in Sing-Along Songs Vol. 2 set)
6. If I Had A Hammer – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
7. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code strum (in Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Vol. 2 set)

I heard many sighs when the workshop was over. “You taught too many strums,” commented my husband. In comparison to what we experienced at free ukulele lessons this summer, perhaps I gave away too much information. My goal was to introduce people to how much fun they can have learning from me. I know my method of forming chord shapes with minimal muscle strain and strumming unique rhythm patterns is taught by no one else on Maui.

The next workshop is scheduled for November 19. Sign up in advance and then pay the $10 non-member or $5 museum member fee at the door-of the museum.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele