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

Kamehameha Day Activities 2019

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

The Royal Order of Kamehameha and the Ahahui Kaahumanu celebrated Kamehameha Day with a march in Kahului and a parade in Lahaina, Maui in June.

June 11 is the official state holiday to celebrate King Kamehameha who unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. On Maui, I celebrated the holiday with my Ahahui Kaahumanu sisters in the Kamehameha Day March in Kahului on the actual holiday on Tuesday, June 11 and in the Commemorative Parade in Lahaina on Saturday, June 15. The Ahahui Kaahumanu is a royal society of Native Hawaiian women honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu, favorite wife of King Kamehameha.

The march in Kahului is a solemn event for members of the four royal societies and the community as we walked one-mile down Ka’ahumanu Avenue from the University of Hawaii Maui College to Hoaloha Park. The police coned off the car lane nearest the sidewalk so we could walk safely down the major street in Kahului and cross a major intersection along the way. The Royal Order of Kamehameha led the event and hosted the paina (social gathering with food) afterwards at their clubhouse at Hale Nanea. My Uncle Clifford started this event back in 2000 and the tradition continues today.

The parade in Lahaina is a fun event as we rode in cars and waved to spectators down the one-mile route from Kenui Street along Front Street to Shaw Street. This year we had five bright red cars to accommodate our group with three to four members per car. The Royal Order of Kamehameha led the event and provided a tour bus to take us back and forth from Kahului to the parade start and finish in air conditioned luxury. After Hawaiian protocols concluded the event, I got a photo with the new Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino who rode in the parade with his wife. “Please send me the photo,” commented the mayor. I’m pleased that our current and former mayor know me by name.

Learn more about Kamehameha Day holiday.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

First Christmas in Hawaii Nei

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

On Oahu, the annual Honolulu City Lights is a month long Christmas lights and decorations display at Honolulu Hale that includes a 50-foot Norfolk pine decorated Christmas tree, Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus, the indoor tree display and corridor of wreaths. I have enjoyed driving around the area with my family to see the lights while many people enjoy walking the grounds around Honolulu Hale.

The first recorded Christmas in Hawai’i was in 1786, when Captain George Dixon of the merchant ship Queen Charlotte docked the ship on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Dixon and his crew celebrated a large Christmas dinner that included a whole roast pig.

The ancient Hawaiians did not celebrate Christmas until after the arrival of the missionaries in 1820. Christmas occurred during the Makahiki, the four month period of resting and feasting when ancient Hawaiians honored the earth for giving them plenty to eat. No conflicts or wars were allowed during this time. After the Hawaiian embraced Christianity, it was only natural that they adapted some of the traditions of Makahiki to the celebration of Christmas.

King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma of Hawai’i officially celebrated Christmas in 1856 as a day of Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve of 1858 Mary Dominis threw a party at Washington Place featuring the first instance of a Christmas tree and Santa Claus in Hawaii. King Kamehameha IV declared it an official holiday in 1862.

Today, the traditions on Christmas day are similar to other places; families gather for a large meal and then perhaps go surfing or swimming in the ocean and play ukuleles and dance hula late into the night. The different cultures and ethnic groups that have settled in the islands celebrate the Christmas traditions in their own unique ways. Santa Claus (Hawaiian: Kanakaloka) is not wearing his corporate red and white suit, but has swapped it for aloha shirt and short and slippers. Santa hats are worn and the traditional Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are replaced by an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins.

Mele Kalikimaka

The greeting Merry Christmas was difficult for the Hawaiians to pronounce because English language sounds like “R” in the word merry did not exist in the Hawaiian language. Thus, Mele Kalikimaka is not a literal translation but simply how we say Merry Christmas in Hawai’i.

In 1949, R. Alex Anderson wrote Hawaii’s popular Christmas song “Mele Kalikimaka.” He was born in Honolulu in 1884 composed nearly 200 songs before his death in 1995. As the story goes, in 1949 Anderson was in his office in Honolulu when his secretary, a woman from the mainland, mentioned that she had never heard a Hawaiian Christmas song. Thus, he composed Mele Kalikimaka and it became an enduring classic. Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters made one of the earliest recordings in 1950 on 78 rpm and 45 rpm phonograph records.

‘Ukulele players can learn to play my arrangement of Mele Kalikimaka for free!

  1. Learn Mele Kalikimaka in the sample format of Monthly Online Lessons.
  2. Learn Mele Kalikimaka in the sample downloadable files of Single Song Purchases.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Mele Fong presented Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders on August 29 on Maui. Five Hawaiian royalty and their legacies for health, education, and welfare were presented plus 5 related songs.

“My friend really wanted to come to your program, but couldn’t get in,” commented one student. “I was on the waiting list and lucky to get in,” said another student. When I asked for feedback after the program, there was an enthusiastic response that I should continue the series next year. “Where else will be learn our Hawaiian history?” asked a student.

Fifteen people signed up for Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders, the third program in my new Hawaiian History and Song Series for 2018 on Wednesday, August 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. The program was two-fold: part lecture and part sing-along. In Part One we learned about 5 Hawaiian ali’i (royalty): (Queen Emma, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, King William Lunalilo, Queen Kapiolani, and Queen Lili’uokalani) and what they left behind that we benefit from today. In Part Two we sang 5 Hawaiian songs composed by or appropriate to remember the ali’i.

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

  1. Aloha ‘Oe – Morse Code Strum.
  2. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.
  3. Hawaiian Lullaby – Pick in 4 / Latin Strums.
  4. King Kamehameha the Conqueror of the Islands – I Wanna Rest / 4And Strums.
  5. Wahine Holo Lio – Pick in 4 / I Wanna Rest Strums.

The Hawaiian History and Song series continues on the 5th Wednesdays of the month. The next program is October 31 and is titled The Merrie Monarch.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Ukulele Songs of the Hawaiian Islands Review

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Ukulele teacher Mele Fong taught “Island Songs” for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on August 16.

“I changed my doctor’s appointment so I could come to class,” commented a participant after the program.

Twenty two people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Island Songs on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

During the new “Hawaiian history moment of the month” I talked about statehood. On August 21, 1959, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation welcoming Hawaii as the 50th state of the union and ordered a new American flag featuring 50 stars. The new flag became official on July 4, 1960. Since 1969, Hawaii has commemorated this anniversary with a state holiday on the third Friday in August which this year fell on August 17th. 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! 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 planned Hawaiian and hapa haole songs during the 75-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums:

  1. State anthem: Hawaii Ponoi – Waltz Variation Strum.
  2. King Kamehameha – I Wanna Rest/4 And Strums.
  3. Island Medley – Hum Ding-Ah/I Wanna Rest Strums.
  4. Big Island: Beauty of Mauna Kea – Latin Strum.
  5. Oahu: Honolulu I’m Coming Back Again – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  6. Oahu: Beyond the Rainbow (Waipio) – Pick in 4/Bossa Nova Strums.
  7. Kauai: Hele On To Kauai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  8. Kauai: Hanalei Moon – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  9. What Aloha Means – 2 Waltz Strums.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Pop Hits of the 50s and 60s on Thursday, September 6.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

Mele Fong presents Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders on August 29 on Maui. Five Hawaiian royalty and their legacies for health, education, and welfare will be presented.

Legacies of Hawaiian Leaders is the title of my program on Wednesday, August 29 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We will learn about Hawai’i’s royalty whose legacy included Queen’s Hospital, Kamehameha Schools, Lunalilo Home, Kapi’olani Children’s Hospital, and Lili’uokalani Trust. 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 third of the new Hawaiian History and Song series for 2018 on the 5th Wednesdays of the month. The next program is titled The Merrie Monarch scheduled for October 31.

Aloha, Mele Fong, aka Ukulele Mele

Hawaii Statehood Day 2018

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

On Friday, August 21, 1959, Hawai’i became the 50th state of the union. Photo by Star Bulletin photographer Albert Yamauchi of news carrier Chester Kahapea.

On August 21, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation welcoming Hawai‘i as the 50th state of the union and ordered a new American flag to feature 50 stars. The new design became the official American flag the following year on July 4, 1960.

The effort for statehood had started in 1919 by Prince Kuhio as Hawai‘i’s non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress, and took 40 years and five failed attempts before the Hawai‘i Admission Act was approved. On June 27, 1959, Hawai‘i residents voted 94% in support of statehood.

Since 1969, Hawai‘i has commemorated this anniversary with a state holiday on the third Friday in August. The holiday was originally called “Admissions Day,” but since 2001 it has been called “Statehood Day.” I find it interesting to note that out of all 50 states, only five have official statehood holidays (Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada, West Virginia, and Hawai‘i). Read more about Hawai’i Admissions Day in my previous blog post.

We will commemorate the occasion by playing “Island Songs” at my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series on Thursday, August 16 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. ‘Ukulele players are invited to play-along as everyone sings-along to ten popular songs of the Hawaiian Islands.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

July’s Hawaiian History Moment of the Month

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com

On July 6, 1887, King David Kalakaua was forced by gunpoint to sign a new constitution that reduced his power and gave most of it to his cabinet of businessmen. Lorrin Andrews Thurston wrote the constitution known as the Bayonet Constitution, and later led the overthrow of the monarchy.

All was not merry during Hawaii’s King David Kalākaua’s reign. While sugar profits grew and Hawaii’s economy flourished, business deals and corruption seeped into government. On July 6, 1887, Kalākaua signed a new constitution known as the Bayonet Constitution because he was forced to sign by gunpoint. The armed militia of the business community comprised of mostly non-Hawaiians made the king an offer he could not refuse.

The Bayonet Constitution gave away much of the king’s authority by assigning most of his decision-making power to the cabinet, whereas before he did not need their approval to act. Thus, the king was reduced to a figurehead, and the citizens lost their voice in government. When asked why he signed it, Kalākaua’s sister Lili’uokalani said, “He had every assurance, short of actual demonstration, that the conspirators were ripe for revolution, and had taken measures to have him assassinated if he refused.”

Lorrin Andrews Thurston wrote the new constitution and admitted that the document was signed under shady circumstances. Later in 1893, Thurston led the overthrow of the monarchy.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

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.

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.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele