April 3 Sunday Serenade Review


Linda and Janet danced hula for our 1st Sunday Serenade on April 3, 2016 at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center

The Hawaiian Serenaders debut for the Maui Made Sundays event at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on April 3 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We were the transition group between a hula halau and jazz group, part of the all day entertainment that ran from 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Vendors included Hula Cookies, succulent plants, Filipino snacks, bottled water, Story of Hawai’i Museum, and fish rubbing art, all of which sold Maui made products. The target audience is local residents and cruise ship passengers, the latter who have Sundays and Mondays in port. The Center already has a Monday morning cultural program, and is trying something new on Sundays.


Keoni Manuel’s hula halau performed before us

We arrived an hour early before our timeslot so we could get good parking and listen to the group performing ahead of us. It was fun to see Keoni Manuel dancing and beating the Tahitian drums while his halau (hula school) students performed. We noticed a young woman singing instead of him. It has been a few years since we last did gigs for Keoni with his hula dancers at shopping centers and train station dinner shows. We did not recognize any of the children that used to dance for us – they must have grown up and are on to other activities. “Aunty, do you have a halau?” asked one child before she went up on stage. She liked that I teach ‘ukulele lessons.

During the planning stages, I had asked the Event coordinator if each group was going to stop playing 15-minutes prior to the hour to allow setup transition time so each group could start on time. The reality was Keoni stopped 5-minutes before our start time, and thus we stopped at 5-minutes before the next group’s start time. “Go with the flow” is what Mike, the Center’s sound guy told us.

We were fortunate to have Linda and Janet dance hula for our show. They take ‘ukulele classes from me and perform as members of the Maui Ukulele Pops Band. Last year they helped out with Ukulele Mixed Plate events at The Shops at Wailea. Barbara is a friend who agreed to “jump up and dance” when she knew the hula. We played the following mix of music:

First Set – (5 Hawaiian including 2 with hula, 6 hapa haole including 1 with hula, 1 Filipino, 3 jazz/blues, and 1 pop song)

  1. Kupa Landing (Hawaiian)
  2. Beyond the Reef (hapa)
  3. Nanakuli (Hawaiian)
  4. Fly Me to the Moon (jazz)
  5. Hanalei Moon – hula by Janet and Linda (hapa)
  6. Wahine Ilikea (Hawaiian)
  7. In a Little Hula Heaven (hapa)
  8. Girl From Ipanema (jazz)
  9. E Huli Makou – hula by Janet and Linda (Hawaiian)
  10. There’s No Place Like Hawaii (hapa)
  11. Dahil Sa Iyo (Filipino)
  12. Blues in the Night (jazz)
  13. Henehene Kou Aka – hula by Janet and Linda (Hawaiian)
  14. Singing Bamboo (hapa)
  15. Could I Have This Dance (pop)
  16. Medley: Tiny Bubbles/Pearly Shells – invite audience sing-along (hapa)

Second Set – (3 Hawaiian with hula, 4 hapa haole, 1 Japanese, 1 jazz, and 1 pop song)

  1. Uwehi Ami & Slide (hapa)
  2. Kuu Home O Kahaluu (hapa)
  3. Aloha Kauai – hula by Janet (Hawaiian)
  4. Night and Day (jazz)
  5. Maui Waltz (hapa)
  6. Sukiyaki (Japanese)
  7. Ulupalakua – hula by Janet and Linda, and Barbara (Hawaiian)
  8. Flying (pop)
  9. Puamana – hula by Janet and Linda (Hawaiian)
  10. Waikiki (hapa)

Flat Stanley played ukulele after our show

“You both have rich music” said one lady as she approached the stage after our set. Another lady came up and asked for a favor if we would we pose with flat Stanley? We went to eat lunch at a Center restaurant, and then returned to listen to Gene Argel’s jazz band.

Come next week April 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for our next “Sunday Serenade” as part of Maui Made Sundays at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

Learn more about The Hawaiian Serenaders at our webpage.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele


Mele Fong is a professional singer, song arranger, and master of multiple strumming styles for the 'ukulele. She is an experienced educator with over 50+ years experience playing the 'ukulele and entertaining worldwide. Mele performs with her husband in the duo "The Hawaiian Serenaders" and leads student groups. In 1996, the duo represented the State of Hawai'i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mele and her husband Richard Tom were both born and raised on Oahu and now reside in Maui.