Review Hawaii’s Last Queen Program

Hawaii's Last Queen Program

Oral History Talk: Queen Lili’uokalani

Forty-five people signed up for my first Lunch and Learn Program of 2015 titled “Hawaii’s Last Queen.” What a great turnout for my Hawaiian oral history program at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better! We deliberately scheduled this series of three programs to coincide when the snow birds (people escaping the winter weather on the mainland) flock to Maui, as they seem to be the majority of people who have attended my programs in the past.

The Monday, January 5 program was a scaled down version of the presentation on Queen Lili’uokalani that I gave at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku last September 2014 (which didn’t have near the turnout). I used a wireless headset to amplify my voice, and a wireless remote control to advance the fourteen PowerPoint slides on my laptop computer onto the huge screen in the multi-purpose room. I enjoyed looking out into the crowd and occasionally hearing gasps of “oh” as people reacted to what they were learning.

New for the Kaunoa program was the addition of a sing-along portion to some of the Queen’s compositions. I took my ukulele and Rich’s portable amp which I plugged into so my ukulele playing could be heard over the many singing voices. I had prepared 6 songs to teach, but only had time for 4 before lunch. I told the stories behind the songs, taught line by line how to pronounce the Hawaiian lyrics as seen on the screen, and then we sang the songs together as I played my ukulele to Aloha ‘Oe, Queen’s Prayer, Ku’u Pua I Paoakalani, and Hawaii Aloha. We sang each song twice so people had a chance to learn each song. I setup a display table showing some of the books and sheet music I used for references, along with display copies of my two ‘Ukulele Strums for Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 book/DVD/CD packages that include some of the songs we sang. My contact at Kaunoa liked the new sing-along component to my oral history program.

The next day, at a Kaunoa Instructor Meeting, a person who had attended my program asked for a copy of my script so he could read it. I put a lot of time and energy into researching, condensing, and presenting the historical information to make it easy to understand and relevant to my audiences.

One participant who has taken ukulele classes from me in the past, wrote saying “Your presentation about Queen Lili’uokalani was wonderful! My husband, Fred, and I enjoyed it immensely! We are definitely planning to sign up for February’s presentation about the first king. Mahalo nui loa! A hui hou, Jane Litt.”

The next two programs, one on Hawaii’s First King and one on the Citizen Prince, will be held in February and March at Kaunoa. I will repeat the programs on the respective state holidays in March and June to attract local residents of all ages to the Oral History & Sing-along Series at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele