January. First of three presentations as part of the "Oral History & Sing-Along Series" this year at Kaunoa Senior Center for the Lunch and Learn Program. The presentation on Hawaii's Last Queen Lili'uokalani, was first given at the Bailey House Museum in September 2014 in honor of the Queen's birthday month.
March. Front page of local newspaper "The Maui News" with photo and two-page article "Mauians celebrate Prince Kuhio Day" by Staff Writer Sarah Ruppenthal, published Friday, March 27. See photos from new photo gallery on Hawaiian history. Read more about the popular Oral History & Sing-Along Series.
April. First time approval for pre-registration for 'Ukulele Strumming Workshops to be held April 25 at the 7th Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Plus, new this year are 3 rather than 2 workshops that are available for free. (blog post with sign up links on my website).
May. Updated The Hawaiian Serenaders page with audio samples, video, and more to answer the request for information from a wedding coordinator. Gone are the days of submitting a CD. Now it's all online which makes is easier for the coordinator to forward the link to clients. (blog post) The Fan Club webpage was also rebuilt with 86 songs including PDF and audio recordings after being accidentally deleted by the webmaster.
May. Began new wholesale/retail venture with Maui Mini Alohas, a small business on Maui that sells handmade ornaments designed as small aloha shirts with ukuleles that appeal to homesick Hawaiians and Hawaiians-at-heart on Maui and the mainland. (blog post)
June. Launched new "Ukulele Mele Basics" and "Ukulele Mele Beyond the Basics" online courses by monthly subscription. Created for beginners, the course was first designed to meet the growing need for more classes at Kaunoa Senior Center without having my physical presence in the classroom. The first Ukulele Mele Basics class included a facilitator for 3 one-hour classes who guided them through the online lessons. On the 4th day of class, students joined in person my continuing Ukulele Strumming 202 class that I teach at Kaunoa to benefit from a group learning experience. After the 4th class, the students can continue learning via their online subscription for 30 days. Anyone can subscribe to the online courses for 30 days.
June. Created landing page for new instrument owners. The idea is to market to online ukulele stores and request a link to this special page where their customers can get support for learning how to play the instrument they just purchased for free. Thus, it does not cost the ukulele store anything to direct traffic to my website. Everyone wins!
June. Created new page with directions to the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku. New pictures show what is seen when driving up and entering the museum grounds. Now the pages for Maui Lessons, Private Lessons, Small Group Lessons, Maui Workshops, and Oral History all point here (rather than having the map on each page). Plus, I added new modules for Maui Lessons and Strumming Workshops that include the link to the new Bailey House Museum page.
July. Created new look for "UKE News You Can Use" targeted to locals and mainland students as we celebrated the 4th anniversary of Ukulele On Maui on July 1st. Kicked off a new "Song of the Month" column with American the Beautiful that can be learned via online lessons or via Sing-Along Songs, Vol. 1 book/DVD/CD. Designed a new banner with photo that was taken by professional photographer Llevellyn Lightsey of Light Sea Images.
July. Backed up Willie K on stage at the 45th annual Ukulele Festival on Oahu (read more at blog review). Last year I attended the festival as a spectator, and this year I participated on stage. First time that I was written about in someone's blog (as we met at the pre-workshop). See photo gallery for Oahu Ukulele Festival 2015 with captions.
August. First time Ukulele Mele is featured on another ukulele website where people go to learn and have fun. Visit http://yokulele.com/yo-tutors/ and see my picture on the “Find a Tutor” webpage, and then click on “View Profile” to see details.
September. Launched new look for learning online on September 1st. Now potential students can choose their level from beginner, intermediate, or advanced which takes them to Ukulele Mele Basics, Ukulele Mele Beyond the Basics, and Complete Monthly Online Lessons respectively. I hope this new tiered system of online lessons makes it easier for people to say "yes" to becoming a monthly subscriber for 30 days.
September. First time invited both Ukulele Strumming 202 class and Advanced Ukulele class to the same party at our house. Blending both groups of students along with friends and neighbors to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary and new deck on Labor Day. I purposefully called out easy songs and then progressed to harder songs from the 90+ Fan Club repertoire I use in teaching classes. I also purposefully started from well known folk songs, then Hawaiian and hapa haole with hula, and back to rock and roll. Even the non ukulele players had fun singing along.
September. First feature story in China's Voyage Magazine. As promised, the feature director who had interviewed Ukulele Mele back in May and said the article would be published in September, came through. See the color photos and read the translated magazine story from Chinese to English. First private session for a group of Hong Kong visitors at a Maui resident's condo in Lahaina, requested by the same person who setup the China Voyage Magazine interview.
October. Launched new look and function as a "responsive website," meaning that it is easy to view across all digital devises of different screen sizes on computer monitors, laptops, tablets, and phones. Changes included new photo header and the sidebar navigation moved from the left to the right.
November. Upgraded the website editing software. Changed strategy to reduce freebies: 1) deleted free Strum Summary lesson pages and 2) deleted over 100 free PDF song sheets from Fan Club pages, but left 95 audio recordings as examples of what can be learned during private lessons. Created new pages just for Advanced Ukulele class and Ukulele Strumming 202 class at Kaunoa Senior Center. Created new workshop registration system at http://ukulelemele.eventbrite.com. Uploaded the 50th online lessons for Complete Monthly Online subscribers, and thus concluded the program to offer 30 days access to 50 lessons for $50 at the top of the tier. (Ukulele Mele Basics remains at $20 for 8 lessons and Ukulele Mele Beyond the Basics remains at $30 for 16 lessons for 30 days access).
December. Changed titles for all photos in the Photo Galleries from 2009-2015 so that it fit using the new Photo Gallery software. The new software allowed fewer characters in the photo title. Added new page for Kaunoa Senior Center, and created new Ukulele Mele History pages.
(Read more about individual past events in 2015)