We pulled it off – no one could tell that I had been sick for a week with bronchitis and severe asthma with my singing voice just coming back that day. When my husband and I practiced music the day before, we made adjustments to the music such as changing songs to a lower key. Canceling our two shows was not an option as there were too many people dependent on me to make it on Saturday – the shows must go on!
New this year, we performed twice rather than once on stage at the 12th Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Queen Kaahumanu Center. Entertainment coordinator Hinano Kaumeheiwa asked us (The Hawaiian Serenaders) to fill in for Kalama Intermediate School group who couldn’t make it. There was a one group break in between, and then we were on stage again leading the Maui Ukulele Pops Band for our regular scheduled set.
The Maui Ukulele Pops Band is comprised of students from my Advanced Ukulele class at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. Most students have been with me since I started teaching at Kaunoa in January 2009. This year’s Band members who performed were: Andrea, Beverly, Charles, Eileen, Janet, Linda, Maricruz, and Sandy who sat in one row on stage.
“Thank you so much for your music.” “You folks always sound good playing a variety of songs.”You are always respectful of the time and other performers (not going over your time slot).
I enjoyed seeing the audience swaying in waltz time to “Moon River,” smiling to our version of “Proud Mary,” and dancing to “Rock Around the Clock.”
My husband and I kept it spiffy and simple attire wise by wearing our formal Hawaiian white with red silk leis for The Hawaiian Serenader set, and then just changing lei to gold garland for the Band set. No other ukulele group looks or sounds as professional as we do as we play a variety of ukulele strumming styles to different genres of music.
The Hawaiian Serenaders 30-minute set from 12 – 12:30 p.m. included:
- Koni Au I Ka Wai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
- Night and Day – Bossa Nova Strum.
- Autumn Leaves – I Wanna Rest/Boss Nova Strums.
- Bill Bailey – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with banjo ukulele and u-bass solo.
- Waikiki – Swing Strum with hula by Beverly.
- Quando, Quando, Quando – Bossa Nova Strum.
- All of Me – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with u-bass solo.
- Arrivederci Roma – Bossa Nova Strum.
- There’s No Place Like Hawaii – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
- Beautiful Sunday – Tom Tom Strum.
The Maui Ukulele Pops Band 30-minute set from 1:20 – 1:50 p.m. included:
- Medley: Yes Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with banjo ukulele.
- Lahaina – Latin Strum.
- Aloha Kauai – I Wanna Rest Strum with hula by Janet.
- Sunny – Bossa Nova Strum.
- Moon River – 2 Waltz Strums.
- Proud Mary – Tom Tom Strum.
- Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin Strum with hula by Beverly.
- Maile Lei for Your Hair – Bossa Nova Strum.
- Rock Around the Clock – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
Another first this year was when the leader of the group performing after the Band asked Rich to stay on stage and help out playing his u-bass. “Sure, do you want to use our chairs? Our music stand?” Beverly Romias, a band member, also went back on stage to dance hula to help out. The group from Oahu with youth hula dancers did their set and then quickly left for the airport to return to Oahu where the leader was receiving an award at the 150th anniversary event of the YMCA.
Next year the 13th Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2020. This will be the first year that Queen Kaahumanu Center will also be coordinating the entertainment lineup instead of the Maui Ukulele Guild.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele