Review Island Sing-Along Songs 2019

A woman got up and danced hula to “Hanalei Moon” during our monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong class on Island Songs on August 15 to celebrate Hawaii’s Statehood Day.

‘Ukulele students who came early to class got to play along with my husband and me as we practiced songs from memory to perform later that afternoon at a Kamehameha Alumni event where 100 people were expected to attend. In the old Hawaiian way, one person jumped up and danced hula as we sang “Hanalei Moon.” What a treat!

Twenty-three people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Island Songs on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang 11 songs to celebrate Statehood Day aka Admissions Day when Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state on August 21, 1959.

Read more about Statehood Day >>

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 70-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Hawaii Ponoi – Waltz Variation Strum.
  2. King Kamehameha – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  3. What Aloha Means – 2 Waltz Strums.
  4. Oahu – On the Beach at Waikiki – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  5. Blue Hawaii – I Wanna Rest Strum/4And Strum.
  6. Kauai – Hele On To Kauai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  7. Kauai – Hanalei Moon – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  8. Maui Waltz – 2 Waltz Strums.
  9. Big Island – Grass Shack – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  10. There’s No Place Like Hawaii – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs is Thursday, September 5.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Patriotic Sing-Along Songs

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Patriotic Songs was the theme for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series in July.

“I thought Aloha ‘Oe was the song to sing to end a program,” commented a person who grew up in Hawai’i and lives on the mainland part-time. She was surprised that the traditional song is Hawai’i Aloha.

Sixteen people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Patriotic Songs on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang 10 songs (including a medley of 2 songs) to celebrate America’s birthday on the 4th of July.

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 60-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Yankee Doodle – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. America The Beautiful – Pick in 4 Strum.
  3. Medley: Yankee Doodle Boy/You’re A Grand Old Flag – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  4. My Country ‘Tis of Thee – Waltz Variation Strum.
  5. Camptown Races – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. God Bless America – Pick in 4 Strum.
  7. This Is My Country – Tom Tom/Latin Strums.
  8. When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  9. This Land is Your Land – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Island Songs is Thursday, August 15.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Father’s Day Concert 2019

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The Hawaiian Serenaders presented a Father’s Day Concert at Kula Hospital on Maui. A nurse danced 4 hula.

“You are a good looking couple.” “Thank you for coming.” We heard nice comments and saw many smiles on the faces of the 50 plus patients and their families who came to our Father’s Day Concert on Sunday, June 16 at Kula Hospital in upcountry Maui.

This was our second Father’s Day Concert in two years and continues to be a rewarding way to make people happy as we honor our fathers who have passed away. We enjoyed trying out new Big Band jazz songs that we plan to perform at our upcoming “Pop and Jazz ‘Ukulele Concert” in August at Kaunoa Senior Center. New this time the nurse asked to do all four planned hulas at once instead of spreading out the songs throughout our set.

Our songs with unique ‘ukulele strums geared for an older audience were:

  1. Medley: Beer Barrel Polka/There Is A Tavern in the Town – Hum Ding-Ah
  2. Sentimental Journey – 4 And
  3. Quando, Quando, Quando – Bossa Nova
  4. Moon River – 2 Waltz
  5. Sukiyaki – Hum Ding-Ah with u-bass solo
  6. Ulupalakua – ‘Ōlapa with hula
  7. All of Me – Hum Ding-Ah with u-bass solo
  8. Dahil Sa Iyo – Bossa Nova
  9. Autumn Leaves – I Wanna Rest/Bossa Nova
  10. Pāpālina Lahilahi – ‘Ōlapa with hula
  11. As Time Goes By – I Wanna Rest/4And
  12. Blame it On The Bossa Nova – Bossa Nova
  13. Hukilau Song – Hum Ding-Ah with hula
  14. I Could Have Danced All Night – Latin
  15. Medley: Give My Regards to Broadway/I Got Rhythm – Bossa Nova/Hum Ding-Ah
  16. E Huli Mākou – ‘Ōlapa with hula
  17. Hana Hou – Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code

The Hawaiian Serenaders – husband and wife duo of Richard Tom and Mele Fong – sing and play ‘ukulele and u-bass to a variety of Hawaiian, hapa haole, pop, and jazz tunes. They are artists with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Statewide Cultural Extension Program, and have represented the state of Hawai’i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Rich and Mele are both Hawai’i born and raised.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Small Kid Time Songs June

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Sing-Along with Mele Fong – Small Kid Time Songs was Thursday, June 6 at 10 a.m.

“You hit it out of the park,” commented a happy singer.

Thirteen people signed up for my new monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Small Kid Time Songs on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang 11 songs from childhood to kick off the summer season of family car, bus, and camping trips. Three songs were particularly nostalgic in looking back to days when we were younger (Days of My Youth, Ku’u Home O Kahaluu, and Que Sera Sera).

During the “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about June 11 being Kamehameha Day, the official state holiday first declared in 1871 to honor the man who unified the Hawaiian kingdom in 1810. Since 1932, the Hawaii Visitor’s Bureau has been using King Kamehameha’s image for road signs to signify sites of cultural, historic, or scenic value. Learn more about the story behind Kamehameha Day here.

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 70-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Froggie Went A Courtin’ – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. The More We Get Together – 2 Waltz Strums.
  3. She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  4. Days of My Youth – Latin Strum.
  5. You Are My Sunshine – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. Que Sera, Sera – 2 Waltz Strums.
  7. I’ve Been Working on the Railroad – 4And/Tom Tom Strums.
  8. Ku’u Home o Kahaluu – Latin Strum.
  9. Oh Susannah – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. Clementine – 2 Waltz Strums.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Patriotic Songs is Thursday, July 25.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Flower and Lei Songs May 2019

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Flower and Lei Songs was the theme for May’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong on Maui.

“I signed up for your class before I left California to come to Maui,” commented a new program participant.

Twenty people signed up for my new monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Flower and Lei Songs on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang Hawaiian and hapa haole songs to honor the tradition of May Day is Lei Day in Hawai’i.

During the “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about the origins of May Day in Hawaii that was invented in 1927 to celebrate the Hawaiian custom of making and wearing lei. The first lei day was held on May 1, 1928 in Honolulu and everyone was encouraged to wear lei. Learn more about the origins of May Day in Hawaii here.

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 70-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. Sweet Leilani – I Wanna Rest Strum..
  3. For You a Lei – Bossa Nova/Latin Strums.
  4. Ka Pua E – I Wanna Rest/4And Strums.
  5. Pua Lilia – 2 Waltz Strums.
  6. Pretty Red Hibiscus – I Wanna Rest/4And Strums.
  7. Maile Lei For Your Hair – Bossa Nova Strum
  8. My Yellow Ginger Lei – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  9. Song of Old Hawaii – Swing Strum.
  10. Pua Ahihi – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Small Kid Time  Songs is Thursday, June 6.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Serenaders Perform for Celebration of Life

“Your music was so beautiful,” said a lady as she grabbed my hands to thank me after our participation in the Celebration of Life for my former boss Donald W. Reeser on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Piiholo Ranch in upcountry Maui.

Don Reeser was the Superintendent of Haleakalā National Park and hired me as his assistant in 2000. He is the reason my husband and I came home from Maryland after living and working for 27 years on the mainland.

It was nice to see familiar faces from the conservation community whom I knew long ago among the 150 people who attended the outdoors event. The day was cool with occasional blessings from heaven (light rain). Four speakers paid tribute to Don from the Rotary Club of Maui, National Park Service, the Friends of Haleakalā National Park, and Ka ‘Ohana ‘O Kalaupapa. The empty saddle tribute by the owner of Piiholo Ranch was also poignant. The running slide show that could be played with or without music was great, too. Don’s son Bryan spoke on behalf of the family with members who came from California, Oregon, Palau, and Maui.

I kept one of the numerous announcements in our local newspaper that read “Mahalo to everyone who filled his remarkable life with purpose, friendship, love and laughter.”

My husband and I played music for Don’s wife’s Celebration of Life in 2007 per his request and offered to play music for his. After the program, I hugged his daughter Cheryl and said, “Welcome to the club – as a daughter to daughter with both parents passed away – it’s not a club you want to join, but just is.”

Our songs with unique ‘ukulele strums for background music were:

  1. Days of My Youth – Latin
  2. My Yellow Ginger Lei – I Wanna Rest (requested)
  3. Waikiki – I Wanna Rest Variation
  4. Ulupalakua – ‘Ōlapa (requested)
  5. The Beauty of Mauna Kea – Bossa Nova (requested)
  6. Ka Makani Ka ‘Ili Aloha – Pick in 4
  7. Aloha Means – 2 Waltz

Our requested songs with unique ‘ukulele strums during the program were:

  1. Haleakalā – Pick in 4
  2. I’ll Remember You – Latin
  3. Hawai’i Aloha – Morse Code (all sing to close program)

The Hawaiian Serenaders – husband and wife duo of Richard Tom and Mele Fong – sing and play ‘ukulele and u-bass to a variety of Hawaiian, hapa haole, pop, and jazz tunes. They are artists with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Statewide Cultural Extension Program, and have represented the state of Hawai’i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Rich and Mele are both Hawai’i born and raised. Visit The Hawaiian Serenaders webpage to hear song samples, view photos, and read reviews.

You can also learn to play the ‘ukulele the unique Ukulele Mele Way from wherever you live!

Keep up-to-date – receive Mele’s monthly e-newsletter UKE News You Can Use. SIGN-UP TODAY!

 

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Hula Sing-Along Songs April 2019

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Twenty-two people signed up for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hula Songs on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

Twenty-two people signed up for my new monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hula Songs on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang Hawaiian and hapa haole songs about or for hula dancing spanning the 1880s to 1990s.

During the “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about the 56th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long event held every April during the week after Easter in Hilo, HI. The festival honors King David Kalākaua who was called the Merrie Monarch for his support of the arts, especially music and dance. Many hula halau (schools) come from all over the world to participate in the exhibitions and competitions in solo, traditional (kahiko), and modern (auwana) hula. The festival is known as the world’s superbowl of hula.

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. Note Rich’s t-shirt showing an images of 13/8 and 6/4 time signatures with slogan “These are Difficult Times” – get it?

We sang 10 songs during the 75-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Keep Your Eyes on the Hands – I Wanna Rest Strum and 4And Strum.
  2. E Huli Makou – ‘Ōlapa Strum.
  3. Little Brown Gal – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  4. Sophisticated Hula – Boom Shaka I Wanna Strum.
  5. Hapa Haole Hula Girl – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  6. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin Strums.
  7. Haole Hula – I Wanna Rest Strum. (replaced Papalina Lahilahi)
  8. Hukilau Song – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  9. Lovely Hula Hands – I Wanna Rest and 4And Strum.
  10. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Flower and Lei Songs is Thursday, May 23.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Serenader Show April 13

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The Hawaiian Serenaders presented a show with hula dancers at Makawao Library in April 2019.

The Hawaiian Serenaders – Richard Tom and Mele Fong – presented a Nostalgic Hawaiian Music show with hula dancers on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at Makawao Public Library in upcountry Maui. The husband-wife duo played ‘ukulele and u-bass and sang a variety of Hawaiian and hapa haole songs reminiscent of old Hawai’i. This musical program was part of the library’s 50th anniversary celebration and the second time in two years the Serenaders have been invited to perform at the library.

The program included songs about Hawaiian cowboys in keeping with the Makawao Library’s upcountry lifestyle, four songs with two hula dancers (Kaleo and Nalani), and two songs with chant and melodies in the same arrangement. “I liked the variety,” commented the audience.

The song list with unique ‘ukulele strums were:

  1. Kupa Landing – Hum Ding-Ah
  2. Paniolo Country – Hum Ding-Ah
  3. Ulupalakua – ‘Ōlapa with hula dancers
  4. Kula Morning – Latin
  5. Wahine Holo Lio – Pick in 4 and I Wanna Rest (chant and modern)
  6. Medley: Maui Boy / Maui Girl – Hum Ding-Ah
  7. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin with hula dancers
  8. Medley: Maui Waltz / Pua Lilia – Waltz Strums: Chicken Pluck/Thumb Strum Up
  9. Uwehi Ami and Slide – Jazzy I Wanna Rest with instrumental
  10. Wahine Ilikea – Bossa variation with hula dancers
  11. Lahaina – Latin (pop example)
  12. Medley: Sea Breeze / Puamana – I Wanna Rest with hula dancers
  13. Medley: Tiny Bubbles / Pearly Shells – Hum Ding-Ah (60’s example sing-along)
  14. Pāpālina Lahilahi – ‘Ōlapa with hula dancers
  15. Flying – Bossa Nova (jazzy 70s example)
  16. Sophisticated Hula – Boom Shaka I Wanna with hula dancers (40s example)
  17. Hawaiian War Chant – I Wanna Rest / Latin (chant and modern)
  18. There’s No Place Like Hawaii – Hum Ding-Ah

The Serenaders are artists with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Statewide Cultural Extension Program, and have represented the state of Hawai’i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Rich and Mele are both Hawai’i born and raised.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Broadway Sing-Along Songs

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We led the playing of 12 ukulele arrangements with vocals to Broadway Show Tunes during March’s Sing-Along with Mele Fong monthly series on Maui.

“Here is a puakenikeni flower lei I made for you,” greeted student Dolly Ching before the program. After we sang the song My Blue Heaven, a woman originally from Japan commented “we sing My Blue Heaven in Japanese.”

Thirty-three people signed up for my new monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Broadway Show Tunes on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang songs that were popular from vaudeville days to the 1960s.

During the “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about the birthdays of two Hawaiian alii (royalty) that are celebrated in March. Queen Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of King Kamehameha, was born on March 17, 1768, and celebrated with a public program by the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on March 15. Prince Jonah Kuhio, Hawaii’s longest serving territorial representative to congress, was born on March 26, 1871, and celebrated with a state holiday. Learn more about these two Hawaiian leaders.

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 12 happy songs during the 75-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums to song arrangements taught by no one else:

  1. Give My Regards to Broadway – Bossa Nova Strum.
  2. DO-RE-MI – Latin Strum.
  3. Getting to Know You – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  4. Oh What a Beautiful Morning – 2 Waltz Strums.
  5. I Whistle a Happy Tune – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. Summertime – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  7. I Could Have Danced All Night – Latin Strum.
  8. Sound of Music – Pick in 4 Strum.
  9. Singing In The Rain – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. My Blue Heaven – I Wanna Rest/4And Strums.
  11. Moon River – 2 Waltz Strums.
  12. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hula Songs is Thursday, April 18.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Paniolo Songs Sing-Along

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Thirty-seven people signed up for the monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Paniolo Songs on Thursday, February 21, at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

“I want one of your ‘ukulele books,” commented a first timer visiting from California by way of Italy after the program. “I remember seeing you perform at the Shops At Wailea the last time we were in town,” commented another first timer who was referring to our Ukulele Mixed Plate group lessons and entertainment show in 2015. “We’ll have to plan to be here long enough to take your ‘ukulele classes next year,” commented Bob and Carol from New York.

Thirty-seven people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Paniolo Songs on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang Hawaiian cowboy, country and western songs.

During February’s “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about the statue of Ikua Purdy roping a steer that was erected on the Big Island of Hawai’i in February 2003 to honor the Native Hawaiian who stunned the American west by winning the World Roping Championship in Wyoming in 1908.

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. Our wireless headsets and wireless instrument inputs made it possible to move around without being attached to cables to the amplifier. We also continued the routine of telling the story behind each song and playing each song twice to reinforce what we learned.

We repeated 8 songs from last year and added 3 new songs during the 75-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums taught by no one else:

  1. Paniolo Country – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  2. Ulupalakua – ‘Olapa Strum.
  3. NEW I’m An Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande) – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  4. Could I Have This Dance – 2 Waltz Strums.
  5. Hey Good Lookin’ – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. NEW Home on the Range – 2 Waltz Strums.
  7. Ring of Fire – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  8. King of the Road – I Wanna Rest Strum.
  9. NEW Red River Valley – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  10. Take Me Home Country Roads – Latin Strum.
  11. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Broadway Show Tunes is Thursday, March 14.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele