Saturday, September 5. Four Maui residents came to my Queen Lili̒uokalani program as we celebrated her birthday month at the Bailey House Museum. Richard from Pukalani was brand new, and three were returning ̒ukulele students (Ellen, Holly, and Sally) who take classes from me at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. In addition, six visitors who happened to be in the museum also came to the program. Two men stayed for the first half-hour portion about the Queen’s story, and then two sisters and a couple sat in during the sing-along portion. The program lasted 2 hours.
We learned the story behind the songs in keeping with Hawaiian oral history traditions, how to pronounce the Hawaiian words, and how to sing the songs without reading music. We sang each of the following songs twice as I played my ‘ukulele and Rich played his ‘u-bass:
- Aloha ‘Oe
- The Queen’s Prayer
- Ku̒u Pua I Paoakalani
- The Queen’s Jubilee
- Hawai̒i Aloha
When the museum visitors joined the sing-along portion of the program, I made a point of explaining that the Hawaiian language consists of 5 vowels and 7 consonants for a total of 12 letters, and how important it is to pronounce the words correctly with the two diacritical marks (reverse apostrophe is called an ̒okina, and a line over the vowel is called kahakō) because the marks change the meaning of the words. For example, mo̒i means king, and moi means fish.
New for this program, I added translations of the original songs according to footnoted references, and explained how I used the most popular verses for my arrangements. For example, the original Queen’s Prayer has five verses, but my arrangement uses only the first verse which is played twice.
This completed a full year of my Oral History & Sing-Along Series that began last September at the museum. As planned, the series offered programs on Queen Lili̒uokalani, Prince Kuhio, and King Kamehameha, with the later two programs held on the respective state holidays in March and June. The idea was to offer primarily residents a Hawaiian cultural and educational option on state holidays. However, the low turnout despite advertising in The Maui News, through social media, and on my website has been disappointing.
Next year I have committed to continue the Oral History & Sing-Along Series at Kaunoa Senior Center, plus expand with new programs on Island Sing-Along Songs during the snow bird season of January – April. Stay tuned by checking the Event Calendar on my website.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele