Review Hawaiian Serenaders Concert

The Hawaiian Serenaders performed a “Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert” on November 17

“You sound better than the solo ‘ukulele players we heard last night at George Kahumoku’s concert series in Na Pili,” commented Fred Litt after our Hawaiian Serenaders show on Thursday, November 17 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. Fred complimented Rich on his u-bass playing as the lower tones fill out the higher pitched sound of the ‘ukulele making our duo sound fuller.

Twenty people attended our “A Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert” scheduled from 10 a.m. – noon. While most artists give one hour concerts, ours lasted 1 ½ hours. We gave a 20-minute talk about the history of the ‘ukulele and showed the different types of instruments from our private collection in addition to performing 17 songs showcasing different musical genres as we traveled through time from the 1800’s to the 1970s and beyond. We had planned on performing 18 songs but ended up cutting “Stranger in Paradise” as an example of a song taken from a movie as time was running out. “Wow,” commented a student after watching us perform.

For our song list with short introductions, go to the program announcement by clicking here.

Before the show, we arrived an hour early to setup which was a good thing as we had technical difficulties with the sound system. My ‘ukulele didn’t sound amplified although it was plugged in. Was it a bad cable? Did the instrument need a new battery for the pre-amp? Turns out it was a bad DI box (direct input) which required wiring us up differently. Then when the show started, we couldn’t hear ourselves playing because we didn’t have a monitor. However, the show must go on and on we went. The audience had no idea of the difficulties that went on behind the scenes.

I do enjoy sharing music just for the joy of playing my ‘ukulele and singing. Rich and I met on stage at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. playing for crowds of people attending a festival in 1993. We married in 1994 and have been entertaining as a husband-wife duo ever since. We are so fortunate that our voices blend and that we like the same music. As a ‘ukulele teacher at Kaunoa Senior Center since 2009, ever so often I have the need to just play music without worrying about playing so my students can follow along. I do enjoy performing and hopefully inspiring others to what is possible to play on the ‘ukulele with practice.

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.