Ahahui Christmas Party 2019

Ahahui KaahumanuAhahui Ka’ahumanu Chapter IV Wailuku, Maui held our Annual Christmas Party at Kahili Restaurant’s Nahele Ballroom on Saturday, December 7 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. with music by the 3-member band Nevah Too Late. One of members, Anela, is the Food and Beverage Manager of the Kahili Restaurant and King Kamehameha Club properties in Waikapu and was able to get us a great local menu for the buffet. Anela also shuttled guests in a golf cart from the upper parking lot to the lower level restaurant which made it much easier than walking and carrying all our stuff.

New this year, my husband Rich went to party. It had been years ago since Rich went with me when the party was at Asian Star Restaurant in Wailuku and we took our instruments and played music. This year, one of my ukulele students, Beverly, asked if we could play and sing “Silent Night” for her to dance hula during a short Ahahui program when the Band was on break. We made arrangements ahead of time with Derek Bal, leader of the band, to bring a small mixer to plug in our ukulele and u-bass into their Bose PA system open channel and to use their wireless microphones on stands to sing. Shortly after we arrived at the party, Mililani, the party planner, asked us to also play “Puamana” for Ululani, another hula dancer. We performed both songs by memory without music. Fun!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS – CLICK ON A PHOTO for the story behind it

The theme for the party was oldies – which is why there is a car with the plates “Rock and Roll” that we stood behind for pictures with Santa.  During the party we played Christmas games and Mele danced to the music. When professional singer Hulu Lindsey was called to the stage to sing with the Band, I loaned her my ukulele so she would feel more comfortable. “I like your ‘ukulele,” commented Hulu afterwards.

Here are “Recollections” that Carol Lee Kamekona, President of our chapter wrote in the printed program:

  • We welcomed six new members into the ‘Ahahui.
  • We lost our eldest member Auntie Bessie DeMello.
  • We awarded three Scholarships this year.
  • We were asked to participate in the Queen’s Women play at Hale Ho’ike’ike in Wailuku.
  • We held a food drive for the furloughed Federal workers – Helping Hands, Loving Hearts.
  • We participated in the 200th Anniversary Celebration of the passing of Kamehameha Ekahi in Kona.
  • We participated in the Kamehameha Day Parade in Lahaina.

On a personal note, I participated in 10 Ahahui activities for the year which surpassed the 8 minimum activities to be considered a member in good standing:

  • I attended 7 monthly membership meetings held at St. Anthony’s school.
  • I attended Alii Sunday honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu at Queen Ka’ahumanu Church on March 17.
  • I marched in the Kamehameha Day March honoring King Kamehameha in Kahului on June 11.
  • I rode in a convertible in the Kamehameha Day Parade honoring King Kamehameha in Lahaina on June 15.

Ever since being initiated into the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu sponsored by Chapter President Liz Morales on Saturday, September 11, 2004, it has been a good experience to be with a sisterhood of Native Hawaiian women to perpetuate the legacy of Queen Ka’ahumanu.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Hawaiian Style Christmas Concert December 19

Picnic For Poki

2018 Christmas Concert

Mele Fong and Richard Tom of the husband and wife duo The Hawaiian Serenaders are performing a Hawaiian Style Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 19 at 11 a.m. at the historic Ka’ahumanu Church grounds in Wailuku. The Serenaders sing and play ‘ukulele and u-bass to a variety of local and standard holiday favorites. Adult hula dancers from Na Hula Kupuna O Kaunoa will be dancing to six songs during the concert.

This is the second consecutive year The Hawaiian Serenaders have been asked to perform in December at the Picnic for Poki Hawaiian Music Series held on the third Thursday of the month. In 2018, the weather forecast was for rain and the concert was moved to inside Ka’ahumanu Church. The setting was magical as the rain gently fell as hula dancers from Na Hula Kupuna O Kaunoa danced to “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” inside the church.

The free monthly performances are presented by Roselani Place and Ola Na Mele Productions. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch to enjoy outdoors and Roselani Place will provide fresh based cookies, coffee and water. Call 808-871-7720 for more information.

Visit my website at https://www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review American Classic Songs Sing-Along

Sing-Along with Mele Fong

American Classics 2019

“You are an entertainer” commented a new participant who accompanied his mother from Hale Makua.

Twenty-nine people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – American Classics on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang 10 songs from the late 19th century and early 20th century referred to as Tin Pan Alley songs – the place in New York city where music publishers and songwriters thrived.

Sing-Along with Mele Fong

Hawaiian History Moment

During the “Hawaiian History Moment of the Month” we talked about 2 events that happened on November 11. In Hawaiian history, the date of November 11, 1917 is remembered as the day when Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani died at the age of 79 at Washington Place. In American history, the date of November 11, 1918 is remembered to honor the end of World War I and was known as Armistice Day. In 1938, federal legislation passed setting Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, as a legal holiday.

We continued the “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room for singers and ‘ukulele players to see. We also continued the routine of telling the story behind each song and playing each song twice to reinforce what we learned.

We sang 10 songs during the 1-hour and 10-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

History: Veterans Day & Queen Liliuokalani died same day different year

  1. Medley: Beer Barrel Polka/There is a Tavern in the Town – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. Medley: Happy Days/Ain’t She Sweet – Tom Tom/I Wanna Rest Strums.
  3. Sloop John B – Latin Strum.
  4. Medley: Daisy Bell/Sidewalks of New York/In My Merry Oldsmobile – 2 Waltz Strums.
  5. Medley: Yes Sir That’s My Baby/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strums.
  6. Medley: Shine On Harvest Moon/Moonlight Bay – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  7. Jamaica Farewell – Latin Strum.
  8. Medley: Let Me Call You Sweetheart/In The Good Old Summertime/Take Me Out to the Ballgame – 2 Waltz Strums.
  9. When You’re Smiling – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Christmas Songs will be part of my 7th Annual Christmas Party at Kaunoa Senior Center on Wednesday, December 18. There is a waiting list to get in as the demand is more than what the classroom can accommodate comfortably.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing American Classic Songs in November

November sing-along 2019

Early American Classic Songs is the theme for this month’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 10 a.m. to noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We will sing Tin Pan Alley songs from the late 19th century and early 20th century that remain popular today and learn the stories behind them. Songs like Daisy Bell, Shine on Harvest Moon, etc.

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 whether you consider yourself a singer or not.

Why are people returning? “It’s fun!” is what participants have told me.

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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Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Maui Ukulele Guild 2019

Maui Ukulele Guild

2019 Band Show

We pulled it off – no one could tell that I had been sick for a week with bronchitis and severe asthma with my singing voice just coming back that day. When my husband and I practiced music the day before, we made adjustments to the music such as changing songs to a lower key. Canceling our two shows was not an option as there were too many people dependent on me to make it on Saturday – the shows must go on!

New this year, we performed twice rather than once on stage at the 12th Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Queen Kaahumanu Center. Entertainment coordinator Hinano Kaumeheiwa asked us (The Hawaiian Serenaders) to fill in for Kalama Intermediate School group who couldn’t make it. There was a one group break in between, and then we were on stage again leading the Maui Ukulele Pops Band for our regular scheduled set.

The Maui Ukulele Pops Band is comprised of students from my Advanced Ukulele class at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. Most students have been with me since I started teaching at Kaunoa in January 2009. This year’s Band members who performed were: Andrea, Beverly, Charles, Eileen, Janet, Linda, Maricruz, and Sandy who sat in one row on stage.

“Thank you so much for your music.” “You folks always sound good playing a variety of songs.”You are always respectful of the time and other performers (not going over your time slot).

I enjoyed seeing the audience swaying in waltz time to “Moon River,” smiling to our version of “Proud Mary,” and dancing to “Rock Around the Clock.”

My husband and I kept it spiffy and simple attire wise by wearing our formal Hawaiian white with red silk leis for The Hawaiian Serenader set, and then just changing lei to gold garland for the Band set. No other ukulele group looks or sounds as professional as we do as we play a variety of ukulele strumming styles to different genres of music.

The Hawaiian Serenaders 30-minute set from 12 – 12:30 p.m. included:

  1. Koni Au I Ka Wai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. Night and Day – Bossa Nova Strum.
  3. Autumn Leaves – I Wanna Rest/Boss Nova Strums.
  4. Bill Bailey – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with banjo ukulele and u-bass solo.
  5. Waikiki – Swing Strum with hula by Beverly.
  6. Quando, Quando, Quando – Bossa Nova Strum.
  7. All of Me – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with u-bass solo.
  8. Arrivederci Roma – Bossa Nova Strum.
  9. There’s No Place Like Hawaii – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. Beautiful Sunday – Tom Tom Strum.
Maui Ukulele Guild

2019 Helping Out

The Maui Ukulele Pops Band 30-minute set from 1:20 – 1:50 p.m. included:

  1. Medley: Yes Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with banjo ukulele.
  2. Lahaina – Latin Strum.
  3. Aloha Kauai – I Wanna Rest Strum with hula by Janet.
  4. Sunny – Bossa Nova Strum.
  5. Moon River – 2 Waltz Strums.
  6. Proud Mary – Tom Tom Strum.
  7. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin Strum with hula by Beverly.
  8. Maile Lei for Your Hair – Bossa Nova Strum.
  9. Rock Around the Clock – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.

Another first this year was when the leader of the group performing after the Band asked Rich to stay on stage and help out playing his u-bass. “Sure, do you want to use our chairs? Our music stand?” Beverly Romias, a band member, also went back on stage to dance hula to help out. The group from Oahu with youth hula dancers did their set and then quickly left for the airport to return to Oahu where the leader was receiving an award at the 150th anniversary event of the YMCA.

Next year the 13th Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2020. This will be the first year that Queen Kaahumanu Center will also be coordinating the entertainment lineup instead of the Maui Ukulele Guild.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Walk with Royalty Review

“I enjoyed it and learned something,” commented a retired librarian after the class.
Hawaiian History and Song

A full room of seventeen people signed up for my new Walk with Royalty class on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. I had done this tour over two days in April 2019 and wanted to share some of what I learned and more. Part 1 lecture took 1 hour and Part 2 sing-along took 20-minutes which totaled 10 minutes longer than previous programs. There were a total of 84 PowerPoint slides and 13 pages of notes.

Part 1: A virtual tour of Washington Place (Queen Lili’uokalani’s home), ‘Iolani Palace (only royal palace in the United States), and King Kamehameha Statue (unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810) all within walking distance of each other in downtown Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Plus we looked at the Queen’s Statue and the stone monument to the Queen’s composition Aloha ‘Oe.

Part 2: Audience sing and play along to my song arrangements with unique ‘ukulele strums to five songs about the monarchy period (including the traditional song to end all public events):

  1. Hawaii Ponoi (state anthem) – Waltz Variation Strum.
  2. King Kamehameha – I Wanna Rest/4 And Strums.
  3. Aloha ‘Oe – Morse Code Strum.
  4. On the Beach at Waikiki – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  5. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

This class was the last in the Hawaiian History and Song Series scheduled for the 5th Wednesdays of the month in 2019.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review International Songs

Sing-Along with Mele Fong

International Songs 2019

“I like the different rhythms,” commented Father Roland, a new participant after the program.

Thirty people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – International Songs on Friday, October 25, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center. I wore a traditional Chinese dress (bought while touring China in 2002) with Hawaiian bag (to hold the controls for my wireless headset) to reflect my Chinese-Hawaiian heritage for the event. We sang 11 songs from around the world (mostly in English) to celebrate World Singing Day and United Nations Day that occur in October.

World Singing Day is a global sing-along for everyone on the 3rd Saturday of October when people from all over the world gather in groups of all sizes to sing all kinds of songs plus one song that everyone sings. A non-profit began in 2012 with the slogan “sing together-unite the world.” Their website provides inspiration and resources on how to participate.

The 24th of October has been celebrated as United National Day since 1948. United Nations Day marks the anniversary of the UN Charter and the founding of the international organization in 1945 after World War II ended and nations were in ruins and the world wanted peace. There are currently 193 Member States.

We continued the “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room for singers and ‘ukulele players to see. We also continued the routine of telling the story behind each song and playing each song twice to reinforce what we learned.

We sang 11 songs during the 1-hour and 20-minute program. Here is the song list by country, title, and names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Japan. Beautiful Sunday – Tom Tom Strum.
  2. Austria. Edelweiss – 2 Waltz Strums.
  3. Australia. Waltzing Matilda – Swing Strum.
  4. Italy. Arrivederci Roma – Bossa Nova Strum.
  5. Israel. Hava Nagila – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. Ireland. Medley: My Wild Irish Rose/When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – 2 Waltz Strums.
  7. Germany. The Happy Wanderer – Tom Tom Strum.
  8. Greece. Never On A Sunday – Latin Strum.
  9. Sing – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. It’s A Small World (After All) – Pick in 4/Tom Tom Strums.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – American Classic Songs is Thursday, November 21.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Walk with Royalty in October

Hawaiian History and SongWalk with Royalty is the title of my PowerPoint presentation on Wednesday, October 30 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. This is part of my Hawaiian History and Song Series scheduled for the 5th Wednesdays of the month and will be the last class for the year. I am going to share some of the historical places I visited in April. A few days ago I was pleased to find out that the class is full with a waiting list.

We will take a virtual tour of Heritage Sites in Honolulu, Oahu including:

  1. Washington Place – Queen Lili’uokalani’s former residence
  2. ‘Iolani Palace – the only royal palace in the United States
  3. King Kamehameha Statue – honors the warrior who unified the islands

Plus we will sing and play ‘ukulele to songs about the monarchy period and learn the stories behind the songs in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions. Lunch is optional and a good time to sit around and talk story with like minded people who enjoy learning about the Hawaiian Islands, singing, and playing the ukulele.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Sing World Songs in October

Sing-Along with Mele FongInternational Songs is the theme for this month’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Friday, October 25, 2019 from 10 a.m. to noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We will sing popular songs about countries around the world and learning the stories behind them. As a bonus, we will celebrate United Nations Day and World Singing Day that occur in October.

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 whether you consider yourself a singer or not.

Why are people returning? “It’s fun!” is what participants have told me.

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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Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Ukulele Mele Basics in 2020

Kaunoa classes

Ukulele Mele Basics in 2020

“UKULELE MELE BASICS” will be offered in 2020 just for beginners with little or no knowledge of playing the ‘ukulele at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better in Spreckelsville, Maui. Students will build foundation knowledge about the ‘ukulele and its history, types, parts, etc. and learn my method for forming ‘ukulele chords with minimal muscle strain and unique strumming styles taught by no one else. My goal is for students to gain confidence in playing fun 1-3 chord songs arranged the Ukulele Mele Way. BONUS – audio recordings to play along to the emailed song sheets and some video lessons will be available for free on my website.

4 Tuesdays, January 7 – 28
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

3 Tuesdays, February 11 – 25
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

4 Tuesdays, March 3 – 31 (not March 17)
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

4 Tuesdays, April 7 – 28
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

4 Tuesdays, May 5 – 26
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

3 Tuesdays, June 2 – 16
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

CHECK THE CALENDAR for updates.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele