Review Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition

Ukulele Pop Band members Sandy, Claudia, Janet, Ellen, Andrea, Kelcy, Holly, Kathleen, Beverly, Charles, Mele & Rich.

“Thank you for sharing your talent,” said one woman as she passed by our Ukulele Mele on Maui display table while we were taking things down on Saturday, November 12 at the 9th Annual Ukulele Guild Exhibition at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului. Her comment meant a lot to me as we had led two groups on stage, the Maui Ukulele Pops Band and the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio, each performing 30-minute sets with 10 songs each with different degrees of complexity.

One of my students said she heard people saying how great we sounded whereas all the other groups sounded the same. The selection of songs, arrangements with different ukulele strumming patterns, and uniformed attire all contributed to our professional image on stage. The three other adult groups who performed only played the chalang-alang (even up and down) strum which is why all their songs sound the same. I have taught my students to go beyond the chalang-alang strum and I am so proud that they have. Ten Band members pictured above in the order they were on stage: Sandy, Claudia, Janet, Ellen, Andrea, Kelcy, Holly, Kathleen, Beverly, Charles, plus us.

“You folks are international,” exclaimed master of ceremonies Kathy Collins as we were setting up on stage for our next performance as the Maui Ukulele Jazz Trio. Kathy mentioned to the audience that the Maui Ukulele Pops Band played Filipino, Japanese, Italian, and Hispanic songs besides the usual Hawaiian and hapa haole songs heard on the ‘ukulele.

“You really made his (my dance partner’s) day,” said Kathy after our trio performance. Kathy told us that this man has learning disabilities but knew all the words to the songs we played and enjoyed getting up to dance. He wasn’t the only one dancing as we noticed many people moving in time to the music and singing-along (which we encouraged them to do). Jazz Trio members: Rich on u-bass, myself on ukulele, and Cindee on ukulele and banjo uke (we all sang solos and harmony).

We displayed our NEW consistant look and feel for the 6 packaged song sets for beginners to advanced players

It was a long day. We arrived at the center at about 9:45 a.m. and left at 3:45 p.m. after talking to people all day and performing on stage twice with one costume change. The first thing we noticed was that our table was set off to the side away from the other display tables for the Maui Ukulele Guild members. We quickly moved it next to the other tables and from then on we had constant traffic from people stopping to check us out. I was the only ukulele teacher to have a display table. New this year I showed the new look for all my 6 packaged song sets of book/DVD/CD and a flyer about the upcoming strumming workshop to be held the following Saturday. After the event we attended the private party for participants until it ended at 8:30 p.m. We told the organizer that if this is the last year of the event, it was a good run.

For more information:

  1. Read the announcement for the event.
  2. See the song lists performed by both groups.

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.