Review Pop & Jazz Ukulele Concert

The Hawaiian Serenaders, the husband and wife duo of Richard Tom and Mele Fong showcased the versatility of Hawai’i’s official instrument in presenting a Pop & Jazz ‘Ukulele concert on Thursday, August 22 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui.

The Hawaiian Serenaders, the husband and wife duo of Richard Tom and Mele Fong showcased the versatility of Hawai’i’s official instrument in presenting a Pop & Jazz ‘Ukulele concert on Thursday, August 22 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Kaunoa Senior Center on Maui. The Serenaders sang and played ‘ukulele and u-bass to a mix of songs from the swing era of the 30s-40s, Broadway, 60s rock ‘n’ roll, country, and jazz, including 3 songs on the banjo-uke popular in the 1920s.

“It was awesome! I was amazed at some of those chord changes you had in several songs! I really liked the banjo ‘ukulele. I thought your brief explanations of the different ‘ukulele were helpful to the audience.” — Written comments from Lee Ann Shigezawa.

There was a full house of sixty-eight people who signed up for the concert including a bus load from Hana (2 ½ hours away) celebrating Aunty Louisa Pu’s 83rd birthday with family and friends on this side of the island. Toward the end of the concert we acknowledged Aunty Louisa and led everyone in singing Happy Birthday in English and Hawaiian. Twenty-four songs were performed with the concert lasting 1 ½ hours.

The repertoire by song title, names of composers and year:

  1. There’s No Business Like Show Business – Irving Berlin, 1946.
  2. Medley: Give My Regards to Broadway/I Got Rhythm – George Cohan, 1904 & George Gershwin, 1930.
  3. I Could Have Danced All Night – Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Lowe, 1956.
  4. As Time Goes By – Herman Hupfeld, 1931.
  5. Banjo Uke. Bill Bailey – Hughie Cannon, 1902.
  6. Flying – Patrick Downs, 1970s.
  7. Fly Me To the Moon – Bart Howard, 1954.
  8. Twilight Time – Buck Ram, Morty Nevins, Al Nevins, & Artie Dunn, 1944.
  9. Blues In The Night – Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen, 1941.
  10. Moon River – Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini, 1961.
  11. Night and Day – Cole Porter, 1932.
  12. All Of Me – Gerald Marks & Seymour Simons, 1931.
  13. Haleakalā – recorded by Dennis Pavao, 2004.
  14. Rock ‘n’ Roll. Proud Mary – John Fogerty, 1968.
  15. Autumn Leaves – Johnny Mercer & Joseph Kosma, 1945.
  16. Quando, Quando, Quando – Tony Renis & Alberto Testa, 1962.
  17. The Nearness Of You – Ned Washington & Hoagy Carmichael, 1937.
  18. Banjo Uke. Medley: Yes Sir That’s My Baby/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson, 1925; Joe Young, Sam Lewis & Ray Henderson, 1925, Benny Davis & Harry Akst, 1926.
  19. Could I Have This Dance – Wayland Holyfield & Bob House, 1980.
  20. Girl From Ipanema – Antonio Carlos Jobim, 1962.
  21. Only You – Buck Ram, 1955.
  22. Banjo Uke. When You’re Smiling – Larry Shay, Mark Fisher,& Joe Goodwin, 1928.
  23. Happy Birthday in English and Hawaiian.
  24. Hawai’i Aloha – Rev. Lorenzo Lyons & James McGranahan, 1800s.

The concert was a great way to celebrate my 10th anniversary of teaching music classes at Kaunoa Senior Center. What started out as a 6-month experiment in January 2009, has continued to grow into wonderful experiences as I contribute to the pursuit of adult lifelong learning. We are fortunate to be co-sponsored by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Statewide Cultural Extension Program to be able to share our educational programs in our community.

Enjoy the video of Bill Bailey at https://youtu.be/9gjdkEUfKsU

Enjoy the video of Proud Mary at https://youtu.be/XlIkLNBvfR8

Enjoy the video of All of Me at https://youtu.be/IiK83g50r48

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele