“My dad used to sing these songs and this program brought back memories of him,” commented a new participant after attending her first program at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. She brought her husband “to get him out of the house” and told me they really enjoyed themselves. He is 79 years-old and she is 59 years-old, and they both love to sing. The Dicksons heard us perform last year at the Maui Marathon Health & Fitness Expo at the Westin Kaanapali when they were vendors. What a small world!
Nineteen people came to my second of the two-part Summer Sing-Along Series of Great American Songs on Thursday, August 11 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. There were some new faces in addition to the returning ‘ukulele students. Eleven songs were selected from the golden age of American songs found in The Great American Songbook and the American Song Treasury. Some of the songs had difficult chords and rhythms. New this time was showing how a song in ¾ waltz time could also be played in 4/4 time which we did to “In the Good Old Summertime.” We covered songs about horseracing, railroading, baseball, and the roaring 20s to mention a few. After the program while a bunch of us sat around talking story and eating lunch, people told me how much they also liked hearing the stories behind the songs.
My PowerPoint presentation was 68 slides and took 1 hour and 20 minutes. Rich accompanied us on u-bass and received many compliments afterwards as people liked the sound of the bass line. He also took a video while we were singing “Jamaica Farewell.”
Here are the 11 great American songs plus the traditional event ending song in Hawaiian that we learned:
- Camptown Races – by Stephen Foster, 1850.
- In the Good Old Summertime – by George Evans and Ren Shields, 1902.
- Swanee – by George Gershwin and Irving Caesar, 1919.
- Jamaica Farewell – traditional.
- I’ve Been Working on the Railroad – traditional.
- Medley: Happy Days Are Here Again / Ain’t She Sweet – both by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, 1929 & 1927 respectively.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game – by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth, 1908.
- Oh Susanna – by Stephen Foster, 1846.
- Home on the Range – by Dan Kelly and Dr. Brewster Higley, 1873.
- Baby Face – by Henry Akst and Benny Davis, 1926.
- When the Saints Go Marching In – traditional.
- Hawaii Aloha – by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons, 1800s.
The next program will be titled “Na Lani Eha – The Four Royals” when we return to Hawaiian music and sing some of the royal compositions on Thursday, October 27.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele