Review 10th Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition

MEMORABLE MOMENTS – CLICK ON A PHOTO for the story behind it

My husband and I led the performance of 10 Maui Ukulele Pops Band members on stage this year at the 10th Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition on Nov. 11, 2017 at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului. Band members were: Andrea, Beverly, Claudia, Eileen, Ellen, Holly, Kathleen, Linda, Maricruz, and Sandy who sat in one row on stage. New this year, every person wore gold garland leis made years ago by Faith a former member. The leis added a sparkle to our Band formal attire of white or pink long muumuu for women and black pants with white aloha shirts for men. I am proud of my students as they sounded great as we played our unique repertoire of Hawaiian, hapa haole, and pop songs with different strums. Beverly danced hula to one song. “Everyone looked like they were having fun,” commented a spectator after our performance.

Here is the Maui Ukulele Pops Band’s 30-minute set with the name of the strum:

  1. Medley: Yes Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  2. Dahil Sa Iyo (in Filipino) – Bossa Nova Strum
  3. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai (in Hawaiian) – Latin Strum, plus hula by Beverly
  4. Proud Mary – Tom Tom Strum
  5. Medley: Tiny Bubbles/Pearly Shells (in English and Hawaiian) – Hum Ding-Ah Strum, 2 keys
  6. Que Sera, Sera – 2 Waltz Strums: Chicken Pluck/Thumb Strum Up
  7. Sukiyaki (in Japanese) – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  8. Lahaina – Latin Strum
  9. Be My Baby – Boom Shaka I Wanna Strum
  10. Medley: La Bamba/Twist and Shout (in English and Spanish) – Latin Strum

This year my husband and I added a new member to our Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio. We discovered Leilani when she came to our house on Sept. 29 to audio record two traditional Hawaiian songs for the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu (we are both members) and afterwards we jammed to songs from our jazz repertoire. We were amazed at how good we sounded and wondered how much better we’d sound after practicing together. I originally formed the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio in 2012 to play difficult songs without having to teach them – the joy of playing music is my play time. We had fun!

Here is the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio’s 30-minute set with name of the strum:

  1. Uwehi Ami and Slide – fast jazzy strum with instrumentals to In the Mood
  2. Autumn Leaves – I Wanna Rest/Bossa Nova Strums
  3. L.O.V.E. – Boom Chick Strum.
  4. Somewhere in Hawaii – Latin Strum.
  5. More – Bossa Nova Strum.
  6. Could I Have This Dance – 2 Waltz Strums.
  7. Sway – Bossa Nova Strum.
  8. Kuu Home O Kahaluu – Latin Strum.
  9. Flying – Bossa Nova Strum.
  10. Fly Me To The Moon – Latin Strum.

All Maui Ukulele Pops Band members and the new third member of our Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio take my classes at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. This once a year opportunity to perform our music in public is a treat. Hinano (one of my former students), as president of the Maui Ukulele Guild (organization of builders), said this was his last year as coordinator of the event.

When we first arrived at 9:30 a.m. at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, we were surprised to learn that Hinano was absent (turns out health reasons). Kathy Collins did a great job as MC and the show went on. Benny ran 15-minutes late with his Kalama Intermediate School group which pushed all the other groups back. After our last performance on stage ended at 3:20 p.m. we packed up our display table and called it a day.

Read about the program lineup of community and school groups who performed.

One of the benefits of participating in this annual event has been the opportunity to talk to new people at my Ukulele Mele On Maui display table and to talk to ukulele players who play with other groups that I only see once a year. I was excited when Susie, my very first student who took private lessons at the Bailey House in November 2011 was back in town (she lives in California) and stopped by to say hello and listen to us perform. We participated in seven of the 10 events through the years and don’t know what will happen next year. Stay tuned.

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.