Review Nov 30 Story of the Ukulele and Concert

The Hawaiian Serenaders – Richard Tom and Mele Fong- performed Nov. 30 at Wailuku Library. Beverly danced hula.

The Hawaiian Serenaders presented “Story of the ‘Ukulele and Concert” at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 30 at Wailuku Public Library. This was our third gig in three days at three different libraries (Read more). The educational program was free to the public and we were paid funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hawai’i’ State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the University of Hawai’i Statewide Cultural Extension Program.

“I’m a fan,” said one lady whom I recognized from previous programs. Marilyn attended our programs at Kihei Library, Kahului Library, and Wailuku Library this year. She has also taken ‘ukulele classes from me during the summer (when she’s not working) at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better.

We were disappointed in the low turnout – four people – especially after performing the previous day for 129 people at Hana Public Library. One lady came 1-hour early at 5:30 p.m. just after we arrived to setup. One lady called from Kihei to confirm the event was happening and then showed up. Regardless of the size of the audience, we presented our best as the show goes on.

We encountered one snafu before the show. Good thing we arrived 1-hour early because that is when the librarian told us the sound guy was sick and would not be bringing his equipment. Unfortunately, that meant Rich had to drive home to get his bass amp so his u-bass could be heard. We did not bring the amp with us since we had planned to plug into the sound guy’s equipment. The road was slick with rain so I reminded Rich to drive safely during the 35-minute drive home and then back. Thus, I started the program without Rich and then he joined in when he arrived.

Here is our 45-minute show set (11 songs including 2 with Beverly Romias dancing hula*):

  1. Koni Au I Ka Wai – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (history-King Kalakaua patronage)
  2. Puamana – I Wanna Rest Strum (started as rhythm accompaniment to singers & hula dancers)*
  3. Girl From Ipanema – Bossa Nova Strum (jazz & u-bass solo example)
  4. Bill Bailey – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (Dixieland jazz & banjo uke example)
  5. Uwehi Ami & Slide – I Wanna Rest Strum (merging instrumental picking into local song)
  6. Could I Have This Dance – 2 Waltz Strums (country & 3/4 time example)
  7. Lahaina – Latin Strum (pop with audience sing-along example)
  8. Ulupalakua – Olapa Strum (Hawaiian place name song with English translation)*
  9. Medley: Yes, Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (1920’s banjo uke example)
  10. Blues in the Night – 4And Strum (blues and change to uke with high G for riff example)
  11. Mele Kalikimaka – Hum Ding-Ah Strum (Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas).

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele