Lahaina Library Ukulele Show Review

The Hawaiian Serenaders presented “Story of the Ukulele and Concert” on June 9 at Lahaina Public Library on Maui.

THE HAWAIIAN SERENADERS presented Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert on Saturday, June 9 from 11 a.m. – noon at Lahaina Public Library on Maui. This was the third time in two years that my husband Rich and I were asked to perform at the library. There were approximately twelve people who attended the concert, including one person whom we met in the library parking lot as we were unloading our equipment.

The Hawaiian Serenaders is the stage name for our husband-wife duo as we entertain on ukulele, ukulele-bass, and vocals. We are honored to be on the list of performing artists sponsored by University of Hawai’i Statewide Cultural Extension Program that libraries can select from. As such, our presentations have an educational focus as we engage the audience in learning about the ukulele, the music, and the stories behind the songs.

We displayed our personal collection of different types of ‘ukulele ranging from soprano, concert, and tenor instruments with 4, 6, and 8 strings; and my dad’s banjo ukulele. We demonstrated different sounds from the instruments while strumming a “C” chord and then plucking a high “G” string versus low “G” string. We told the history of the ‘ukulele and performed different genres of music. My husband Rich demonstrated his ‘ukulele bass and played instrumental solos on it.

Here is our song list of 11 songs and why they were selected:

  1. Koni Au I Ka Wai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (history of the ukulele; King Kalākaua patronage).
  2. Sea Breeze/Puamana – I Wanna Rest Strum (uke began as rhythm accompaniment to singers and hula dancers – Aloha ‘Oe and On The Beach at Waikiki first songs that audiences heard outside Hawaii at Pan-Pacific International Exposition in 1915).
  3. Bill Bailey – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (1st of 2 banjo-ukulele examples).
  4. Lahaina – Latin Strum (pop example with sing-along on chorus).
  5. Uwehi Ami and Slide – I Wanna Rest Strum (merging instrumental picking into Hawaiian contemporary song).
  6. Medley: Yes Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (1920’s sing-along song).
  7. Ulupalakua – ‘Ōlapa Strum (Hawaiian place name song with English translation spoken).
  8. Could I Have This Dance – 2 Waltz Strums: Thumb Strum Up/Chicken Pluck (3/4 time and country music example).
  9. When You’re Smiling – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (2nd of 2 banjo-ukulele examples).
  10. Blues in the Night – 4And Strum (change to blues genre and change to ukulele with high A for picking riff).
  11. Girl From Ipanema – Bossa Nova Strum (features u-bass solo and change to jazz genre).

Read reviews of previous shows we presented at the Lahaina Library:

  1. April 2017 show for 50-5th graders
  2. July 2017 show to the public.

Visit our Hawaiian Serenaders 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.