What a surprise to see my smiling picture prominently in the main part of our local newspaper the day after an event! I had recognized Matt Thayer, photographer from the Maui News, who came to my Oral History & Sing-along program on King Kamehameha at the Bailey House Museum on Thursday, June 11. He snapped a few photographs and then waved good-bye without interrupting the program to talk to me. I figured he must have gotten the information he needed. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised on Friday, June 12 to see my photo and caption “Mele Fong leads an ukulele class Thursday at the Bailey House Museum” in the newspaper.
Five people attended my program on Kamehameha Day, a Hawaii state holiday, at the Bailey House Museum. Since I knew most of the people had attended a similar program I had given at Kaunoa Senior Center, I decided to forgo the Hawaiian history lecture part and go straight to the sing-along part of the program.
During the 2-hour program, we learned the story behind 9 traditional Hawaiian songs, how to pronounce the Hawaiian words, and how to sing the songs the old Hawaiian way by listening to the melody without reading music. Three people take ‘ukulele classes from me at Kaunoa Senior Center, and brought their instruments to play along with my husband on u-bass and myself on ‘ukulele. We led the singing of the following songs with unique Ukulele Mele strums:
- Hawaii Ponoi
- Na Ali’i
- King Kamehameha the Conqueror of the Islands
- Aloha ‘Oe
- Hawaiian War Chant
- Ku’u Pua I Paoakalani
- On the Beach at Waikiki
- Kaimana Hila
- Hawaii Aloha
The time went quickly. “I liked it,” commented one person. Although the numbers of attendees was small, I still feel good about the community service I am giving at the Bailey House Museum to further Hawaiian cultural education.
My next Oral History and Sing-Along program will be Saturday, September 5 about Hawaii’s last monarch Queen Lili’uokalani to celebrate her birthday month.
Aloha, Mele Fong, aka Ukulele Mele