Review Feb 4 Ukulele Mixed Plate

MEMORABLE MOMENTS – CLICK ON PHOTO for the story behind it

On February 4, Ukulele Mixed Plate Youth Showcase was comprised of one group of five 12-yr-old girls in the 7th grade, performing as Nā Pua ‘Elima (the five flowers). I first heard one of them perform last December at an Ahahui Kaahumanu Christmas party, and I was very impressed with the young girls’ talent and poise to sing and play her ukulele all by herself for 40 people. When I discovered that she played in a group that was even better. A mother of one of the girls became my contact. Come to find out the girls attended Kula Kaiapuni o Paia, a Hawaiian language immersion program, and can speak and write in Hawaiian. They began singing together since the 4th grade, and for the past year have been performing at various parties around town. Two major performances were at the Teen Expo at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, and at Hula O Na Keiki Competition at Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The girls performed a mix of Hawaiian and oldies during their 30-minute set, with traditional Hawaiian songs at the start and end. They also included hula, with one soloist, and two dancers during different songs. They all sang using 4 mics and 2 played ukulele (using the PA system 6 inputs). We were pleased with their performance and stage presence.

For the second time we did our Hawaiian Serenaders concert set next followed by me teaching group ukulele lessons. This order worked great. As soon as the girls were done, we turned on my headset and I started talking to the audience as Rich setup the PA system for our set. It was interesting to note the number of hands raised when I asked how many returned from previous Ukulele Mixed Plate events. When asked how they heard about the event, one lady surprised me by saying “facebook.” Ah, the power of social media. Then we turned my headset off as we sang into the mics and performed our mix of music to show the diversity of what can be played on ukulele:

  1. Hawaiian – Kupa Landing – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  2. Big band jazz – I Wish You Love – Latin Strum Strum
  3. Hapa haole – Uwehi Ami and Slide – I Wanna Rest Strum
  4. Hapa haole – Flying – Bossa Nova Strum
  5. Blues – Blues in the Night – FourAnd Strum
  6. Hawaiian – Ulupalakua – Olapa Strum (hula by Janet)
  7. Folk – Today – Pick in 6/Chicken Pluck Strum
  8. Pop – Under the Palm Tree – Latin
  9. Country – Hey Good Lookin’ – Hum Ding-Ah Strum

There seemed to be more people with ukuleles for the group lesson, with some people who I recognized who returned from previous events. Wearing the headset mic again works best here as I turn my head to show the chord diagrams on the velcro board as I teach:

  1. 2 chord song – (NEW) The More We Get Together – Waltz Strum
  2. 2 chord song – Horse with No Name – Chalang-alang strum
  3. 3 chord songs – Lion Sleeps Tonight – I Wanna Rest Strum
  4. (same 3 chords) She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain – Hum Ding-Ah Strum
  5. (same 3 chords) La Bamba/Twist & Shout

Afterwards, we received many compliments and people purchased packaged song sets and The Hawaiian Serenaders CDs. The security guy estimated 120 plus people came, which is just about as many that shows up for “headliners” on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. When his boss asked him how the event is going, he told him, “It’s packed.” I feel like we have turned the corner to seeing success on this new venture. Finally!

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.