Review Feb 11 Uke Mixed Plate

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

The speakers went out and Rich fixed it so the show went on during our 5th Ukulele Mixed Plate event at The Shops at Wailea last Wednesday night. During each of the five 2-hour ukulele entertainment and education events we have given weekly from January through February, Rich has done sound guy duties, in addition to performing as half of The Hawaiian Serenaders and playing his ukulele bass while I teach group ukulele lessons  from the stage. How lucky I am!

The youth showcase on February 11 was a challenging event from a sound management perspective. The Shops at Wailea’s PA system has three mics and three instrument inputs. The first group was three high school girls from different schools who all sang and played ukulele, but two instruments were acoustic only (and couldn’t be plugged into the system). This meant two mics were used for two singers, and they shared the third remaining mic to play their ukulele. The third girl opted not to sing, but was able to plug her instrument into the PA system so her ukulele playing could be heard. They performed Hawaiian songs, including one with a solo hula dancer.

The second group consisted of one 16-yr-old high school boy who played a solo instrumental song, followed by his 21-yr-old teacher playing a solo instrumental song, and then they played a duet. The teacher brought a complicated sound effects board that he plugged into the PA system. The audience clapped loudly and shouted “hana hou” meaning encore. It was a true mixed plate from the vocal and instrumental sense of the word.

Before the event, an older gentleman told me he was returning just to hear me sing. Our set was shorter because the youth showcase went longer. The Hawaiian Serenaders performed:

1. Hawaiian – Wahine Ilikea – Variation.
2. Jazz – Girl from Ipanema – Bossa Nova Strum.
3. Hapa Haole – Uwehi Ami & Slide – Jazzy I Wanna Rest Strum.
4. Hapa Haole – Medley: Tiny Bubbles/Pearly Shells sing-along – Swing Strum.
5. Blues – Blues in the Night – FourAnd Strum.
6. Hapa Haole – Lahainaluna with hula by Janet – Variation.
7. Pop – Can’t Help Falling in Love with You – Morse Code Variation Strum.
8. Country – Hey Good Lookin’ – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.

I was surprised at the number of many hands raised when I asked the audience how many were returning from previous Ukulele Mixed Plate events. On any event, we have been packing them in with over 120 estimated in attendance. New this time was the number of children who stayed for the ukulele lessons after The Hawaiian Serenaders performance. As we were packing up after the event, a mother came up saying she had video taped me giving the lessons for her mother who couldn’t make it. She also purchased a packaged song set of book/DVD/CD for her son because she heard me say “you don’t need to be able to read music to learn from me.”

We have a week off (headliner does the third Wednesday of the month), and then Ukulele Mixed Plate returns on February 25. Changes are coming, 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.