14-year-old Anthony Pfluke wowed the crowd with his singing and ukulele playing at the second Ukulele Mixed Plate at The Shops at Wailea in south Maui. Anthony was one of two young ukulele players who performed during the youth showcase portion of the 3-part program. He took first place the past two years in the Jr. High Division as Hula Grill’s Maui Youth Ukulele Players Contest held annually in September in Kaanapali.
Twenty-one-year-old Austin Jay also sang and played popular tunes on the ukulele. Austin played guitar since 5 years-old, and ukulele since 10. He likes to play songs you wouldn’t think of that can be played on the ukulele. During his last song, Daniel joined him for a duo performance of “Hawaiian Superman” which has an instrumental section. Austin has been working at Mele Ukulele Store for almost two years.
After the half-hour youth showcase, I taught 4 songs during the “Play Along with Ukulele Mele” lesson. As a result of lessons learned from the first Ukulele Mixed Plate the prior week, I taught an additional song and I enlarged the chord shape diagrams so they were easier to see from a distance. The audience filled every seat around the fountain courtyard, numbering around 50. Mele Ukulele loaned out 8 instruments, plus some people brought their own. It was great!
Next we played a longer Hawaiian Serenaders set to show the diverse genres that we play on ukulele. We changed some songs and added more songs, and encouraged people to sing-along to popular songs (which they did). All it all, it was a great night. As we were packing up, one couple came up to say they had been eating dinner in a restaurant when they heard our music and enjoyed singing along.
Days later, I ran into a couple who had been to both nights of Ukulele Mixed Plate, and commented how much they enjoyed it. They liked how smooth everything flowed. They had no idea of our challenges behind the scenes (and that’s another story).
January 28 is the next Ukulele Mixed Plate where you can “WATCH youth showcase, PLAY ALONG with Ukulele Mele, and ENJOY entertainment by The Hawaiian Serenaders from 6-8 p.m, all for free!
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele