Review May Four Royals Program

“I’m so glad I came to your program – your presentation was really good,” commented Helene, a retired school teacher. “When are you going to be at Ukulele Mixed Plate?” asked another lady who had enjoyed our free entertainment/group ukulele lessons at The Shops at Wailea. “We took our friends and you weren’t there.”

May Day Program on The Four Royals

May Day Program on The Four Royals

Twenty-seven people signed up for my last of the Lunch and Learn Presents: Oral History and Sing-Along Series for the year at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. It was nice to recognize some people who had come to every one of my four programs this year, and to recognize former ‘ukulele students. There seemed to be mostly local residents in the audience, rather than mostly visitors now that snow bird season is over and people have returned to the mainland.

The program for Friday, May 1st was “Na Lani Eha – The Four Royals” and focused on learning about royal siblings King David Kalākaua, Queen Lili‘uokalani, Princess Miriam Likelike, and Prince William Pitt Leleiohōku. It was their musical abilities and patronage of Hawai’i’s musical culture during the last half of the 1800’s that continues to live on today. In May 1994, the non-profit membership corporation called the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame was founded to “promote, preserve, and perpetuate Hawaiian music and hula by celebrating the achievements of significant individuals and groups.” As such, the royal composers are noted patrons of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Were it not for their cultural leadership and personal contributions in encouraging and supporting aspiring composers, singers, instrumentalists, dancers, chanters, and poets, Hawaii’s significant musical contributions to the world might not have happened. Part 1 took me about 30-minutes to tell the story of the Four Royals with 23 PowerPoint slides.

Rich Tom plays ukulele bass

Rich Tom plays ‘ukulele bass

New for Part 2, my husband Rich played his ‘ukulele bass as we learned to sing one song composed by each of the Royal Four. The addition of him playing the bass line to my playing the ‘ukulele while leading the group sing-along sounded so much better than just me playing the music. We ended the program with the upbeat song appropriate to celebrate May Day. Here is the song list that took about 40-minutes with 30 PowerPoint slides:

  1. Hawaii Ponoi by Kalākaua/Berger, 1872
  2. Aloha ‘Oe by Lili‘uokalani, 1878
  3. Ku‘uipo I Ka He‘e Pu‘e One by Likelike, 1800s
  4. Hawaiian War Chant by Leleiohōku, 1860s
  5. May Day Is Lei Day in Hawai‘i by Leonard Hawk, 1928

I also told everyone about my plans for next year to offer the Oral History and Sing-Along Series at Kaunoa Senior Center from January – April, and also add a Sing-Along Songs of the Islands Series through May. For example, I may offer Maui island songs in January, Hawaii island songs in February, Kauai songs in March, Oahu songs in April, and then hapa haole boat days songs in May. I’m always trying to come up with new programs to meet what people want, in this case, answering the demand for more Hawaiian cultural programs during snow bird season. Check my Calendar for what’s happening.

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.