“You made my month,” commented a returning participant after the program.
Sixteen people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Maui Nui Songs on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui. We sang Hawaiian and hapa haole songs about our home island of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai which comprise “Maui Nui” aka Maui County for the first program for the New Year.
During January’s “Hawaiian history moment of the month,” I talked about the greeting Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to say Happy New Year. In ancient Hawaii, the Makahiki Season was a celebration of abundance of land and sea and the accomplishments of the Hawaiian People. It was the time for healing, new growth, a time of peace and spiritual cleansing of the Hawaiian mind, sound and heart, in celebration of life. The season lasted approximately four months between November and February.
New this month, we sang the first song without my husband Rich’s accompaniment on u-bass as he was having technical difficulties plugging into the Center’s PA system (the person who usually sets up the system was unavailable). What a difference when Rich joined us on the second song by playing the lower bass notes to fill in the higher pitched ukulele to create a fuller sound!
New this month, I lowered my expectations and approach to teaching people how to sing songs in the Hawaiian language. I did not ask everyone to repeat after me for each line in the Hawaiian language – I pronounced the Hawaiian words once, explained the meaning, and asked people to do what they could – because this is music appreciation not Hawaiian language class. I believe it’s good for people to hear songs in the Hawaiian language and to know what the songs are about because we live in Hawaii, but they do not need to become proficient in singing Hawaiian lyrics in order to appreciate the songs and the stories being told through music. After the program when I asked participants for feedback, they appreciated this change.
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 sang nine of the ten planned songs during the 70-minute program. Here is the song list with the names of my unique ‘ukulele strums:
- Medley: Maui Boy/Maui Girl – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
- Medley: Sea Breeze/Puamana – I Wanna Rest Strum.
- Lahaina – Latin Strum.
- Maui Waltz – 2 Waltz Strums.
- Medley: Maui/Molokai/Lani songs – Hum Ding-Ah/I Wanna Rest Strums.
- Hasegawa General Store – I Wanna Rest/4 And Strums.
- Kula Morning – Latin Strum.
- Lahainaluna – I Wanna Rest Strum.
- Singing Bamboo – Latin Strum (omitted for lack of time).
- Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.
Stay tuned for the next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) songs on Thursday, February 21.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele