Thirty-two people came to my oral history and sing-along program on Prince Kuhio at Kaunoa Senior Center last Friday, March 6. It was great to see some familiar faces in addition to new. I recognized at least one couple who have attended all 3 of my programs so far this year, which means I must be doing something right.
Did you know that Kuhio Day and Kamehameha Day are the only state holidays dedicated to Hawaii’s royalty? The Kuhio Day holiday is celebrated annually on March 26, the actual birthday of Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole. He was heir to the throne of the kingdom of Hawaii, prince of the house of Kalakaua, and later second territorial delegate to the U.S. congress who served 10 consecutive terms lasting 20 years. Part one of my PowerPoint presentation took about 20-minutes to go through 17 slides telling stories about the life and contributions of Prince Kuhio.
Part two took about 50-minutes to teach how-to pronounce the Hawaiian words and to lead the sing-along of five songs that were composed during Prince Kuhio’s lifetime of 1871-1922. I also told the stories behind the songs in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions. One of my ukulele students helped by operating the remote control button to advance the slides so that I could continue singing and playing my ukulele without stopping to put down my instrument to touch the button. With a maximum of 4 lines per slide, and with some songs with 4 verses, I created 27 slides just for the sing-along part of the program. I taught the following 5 songs:
- Ua Like No A Like, 1882 (with Pick in 4 Strum for ukulele)
- Sanoe, 1897 (with Waltz and Pick in 6 Strum for ukulele)
- On the Beach at Waikiki, 1915 (with Hum Ding-Ah Strum for ukulele)
- Kaimana Hila, 1916 (with ‘Olapa Strum for ukulele)
- Hawaii Aloha, 1800s (with Morse Code Strum for ukulele)
One participant during the program told us about a recent gathering of ukulele players to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. I commented how important the exposition was to the world as it was the first time people outside of Hawaii heard Hawaiian music performed, and gave way to the start of the hapa haole music craze.
I will be giving another presentation on Prince Kuhio on the state holiday of March 26 at the Bailey House Museum. The program is open to the general public (whereas programs at Kaunoa Senior Center are for adults ages 55+.)
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele