Hawaii Statehood Day 2020

www.UkuleleMeleOnMaui.com
Photo by Albert Yamauchi of news carrier Chester Kahapea on Friday, August 21, 1959

This year Hawai’i celebrates Admission Day or Statehood Day on the actual day that it occurred back in 1959, August 21 the third Friday of the month. The legal state holiday commemorates the 1959 admission of Hawai’i into the Union.

On August 21, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation welcoming Hawai‘i as the 50th state of the union and ordered a new American flag to feature 50 stars. The new design became the official American flag the following year on July 4, 1960.

The effort for statehood had started in 1919 by Prince Kuhio as Hawai‘i’s non-voting delegate to the U.S. Congress, and took 40 years and five failed attempts before the Hawai‘i Admission Act was approved. On June 27, 1959, Hawai‘i residents voted 94% in support of statehood.

Since 1969, Hawai‘i has commemorated this anniversary with a state holiday on the third Friday in August. The holiday was originally called “Admissions Day,” but since 2001 it has been called “Statehood Day.” I find it interesting to note that out of all 50 states, only five have official statehood holidays (Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada, West Virginia, and Hawai‘i).

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Welcome to Mele Fong’s YouTube channel

Here is the new introduction video welcoming viewers to videos on ‘ukulele lessons, music, and stories organized into seven playlists on my newly improved YouTube Channel.

SUBSCRIBE TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL to be notified when I publish a new video. Here are the playlists:

UKULELE MELE LESSONS – for all abilities to learn unique named strums as you form chords with minimal muscle strain and play fun songs on your ‘ukulele.

UKULELE MELE’S THE HAWAIIAN SERENADERS – watch my husband and I sing and play ‘ukulele and u-bass at gigs. Our best gig was representing the state of Hawai’i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

UKULELE MELE’S MAUI UKULELE POPS BAND – watch my students from Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better perform in the community.

UKULELE MELE’S MUSIC – listen to popular songs sung in English and other languages plus see photo stories related to some songs.

HAWAIIAN MUSIC BY UKULELE MELE – listen to Hawaiian and hapa haole songs plus see photo stories related to some songs.

UKULELE MELE’S STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS – learn the stories behind the songs according to Hawaiian oral history traditions whether the song is Hawaiian or not.

SING-ALONG WITH UKULELE MELE – experience the fun of participating in sing-along classes I taught at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better.

I created the channel in 2011 to share with Japan performance videos of my students in the Maui Ukulele Pops Band in lieu of a trip to Japan we canceled due to the March 2011 tsunami and devastating earthquake. The channel continues to grow as I find new ways to share my music.

Have fun as you Watch.Listen.Play. The Ukulele Mele Way!
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Folk Songs 2020

American Folk Songs was the theme for the Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series on March 5.

Twenty-six people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Folk Songs on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

During the “Hawaiian History Moment of the Month” we talked about two royal birthdays that are celebrated in March. Queen Kaahumanu was born on March 17, 1768 and was the favorite wife of King Kamehameha the Great. The Ahahui Kaahumanu, a royal society of Native Hawaiian women, have a public program honoring the Queen for her birthday. Prince Jonah Kuhio was born on March 26, 1871 and represented the Territory of Hawaii as delegate to the U.S. Congress. The state of Hawaii honors the Prince with a state holiday on his birthday.

We continued the “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room for singers and ‘ukulele players to see. My husband accompanied us on his u-bass. We sang each song twice.

We sang the following songs during the new 70-minute program:

  1. Medley: 3 Spirituals – This Train/Will The Circle Be Unbroken/When The Saints.
  2. Puff the Magic Dragon.
  3. Today.
  4. Green, Green.
  5. Lion Sleeps Tonight.
  6. Leaving On A Jet Plane.
  7. Cotton Fields.
  8. Michael Row The Boat Ashore.
  9. If I Had a Hammer.
  10. 500 Miles.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

You can listen to audio recordings of some of the songs we played and more on my website at https://ukulelemeleonmaui.com/meles-music/. You can also watch videos of some of our sing-along programs and more on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/melefong/

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hula Songs will be on Thursday, April 16 at Kaunoa Senior Center.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Paniolo Songs 2020

Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) was the theme for February 2020 Sing-Along program.

“You look so cute!” commented a program participant upon seeing my square dancing outfit, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots in keeping with the program’s western theme.

Thirty people signed up for my monthly “Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Paniolo Songs” on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

During the “Hawaiian History Moment of the Month” we talked about Ikua Pudy, the Native Hawaiian who stunned the American West at the World Championship finals in Wyoming by winning the steer-roping contest in 1908. An enormous bronze statue of Ikua Pudy roping a steer was pulled into the Parker Ranch Shopping Center in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii on February 23, 2003. Thus in Purdy’s honor we selected paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy), country and western songs for the theme for February’s sing-along program.

We continued the Sing-Along with Mitch Miller format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room for singers and ‘ukulele players to see. My husband wore his palaka (Hawaiian cowboy) shirt and accompanied us on his u-bass. We sang each song twice and one participant jumped up to dance hula to Ulupalakua, a Hawaiian song about an upcountry ranch on Maui.

We sang the following songs during the 70-minute program:

  1. Paniolo Country
  2. Ulupalakua
  3. I’m An Old Cowhand
  4. Could I Have This Dance
  5. Hey Good Lookin’
  6. Home On The Range
  7. Ring of Fire
  8. King of the Road
  9. Red River Valley
  10. Take Me Home Country Roads
  11. Hawaii Aloha

You can listen to audio recordings of some of the songs we played and more on my website at https://ukulelemeleonmaui.com/meles-music/. You can also watch videos of some of our sing-along programs and more on my YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/melefong/

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Folk Songs of the 1950s & 1960s will be on Thursday, March 5 at Kaunoa Senior Center.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review Hawaiian Party Songs 2020

 It was a real party as we sang songs by ear (without looking at words and ukulele chords projected on the screen) when the lights went out.

Twenty-seven people signed up for my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Hawaiian Party Songs on Thursday, 16 January 2020 from 10 a.m. – noon at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better on Maui.

During the “Hawaiian History Moment of the Month” we talked about the Makahiki Season – the celebration of abundance of land and sea that lasted four months between November and February – when ancient Hawaiians greeted each other saying “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” to say Happy New Year.

We continued the “Sing-Along with Mitch Miller” format of projecting the song lyrics and ‘ukulele chords on a screen at the front of the room for singers and ‘ukulele players to see. However, just as we started, the electricity went out and then continued to go off and on intermittently. Thus, we went to “plan B” and led the singing and playing of popular songs by ear. Fun!

The next Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Paniolo Songs will be on Thursday, February 20 at Kaunoa Senior Center.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Advanced Ukulele Songs 2019

Advanced Ukulele met for 20 (2-hour) classes on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month in 2019 and played 51 songs. Many students started learning from me in January 2009 and some perform in the Maui Ukulele Pops Band. Some students also enrolled in Ukulele Strumming 202 classes on alternate Wednesdays. Students received emailed song sheets to print out and place in a binder with a new curriculum of approximately 10 songs every quarter. Outside of class, students could play along to audio recordings of those song arrangements on my website and then have more fun in class. We also played some of the songs during my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series. Here is the song list for 2019:

January – March (5 classes)

  1. NEW DO-RE-MI – Latin – G-9 chords.
  2. NEW Give My Regards to Broadway – Bossa Nova – C-8 chords.
  3. NEW I Could Have Danced All Night – Latin – F-13 chords.
  4. REQUESTED  I’ll Weave a Lei of Stars for You – I Wanna Rest/Latin – D-9 chords.
  5. REQUESTED In This Life – Pick in 4 – C-8 chords.
  6. NEW Kula Morning – Latin – C-9 chords.
  7. NEW My Blue Heaven – I Wanna Rest/4 And – F-10 chords.
  8. NEW Oh What a Beautiful Morning – 2 Waltz – F-9 chords.
  9. NEW Sound of Music – Pick in 4 – C-12 chords.
  10. NEW The Surrey with the Fringe On Top – Hum Ding-Ah – F-12 chords.

April – June (5 classes)

  1. I Can See Clearly Now – Bossa Nova  – D-6 chords.
  2. REQUESTED – Ku’u Pua I Paoakalani – Pick in 4  – D-6 chords.
  3. Medley: Happy Days/Ain’t She Sweet – Tom Tom/I Wanna Rest – F-10 chords.
  4. Medley: Kilakila o Haleakalā/No Ka Pueo – Hum Ding-Ah/’Ōlapa – C&F – 9 chords.
  5. NEW Pretty Red Hibiscus – I Wanna Rest – C-11 chords.
  6. REQUESTED – Red Sails in the Sunset – Latin – C-9 chords.
  7. REQUESTED – Soft Green Seas – I Wanna Rest/Latin – D-14 chords.
  8. NEW Sweet Leilani – I Wanna Rest – C-9 chords.
  9. REQUESTED Today – Waltz/Pick in 6 – C-7 chords.
  10. Under the Boardwalk/Palm Tree – Bossa/Latin – C-7 chords.

July – August (4 classes)

  1. Aloha Kauai– I Wanna Rest – F-13 chords.
  2. E Huli Makou  – ‘Ōlapa – C&F-8 chords.
  3. Girl From Ipanema – Bossa Nova – F-11 chords.
  4. NEW God Bless America – Morse Code/Pick in 4 – C-9 chords.
  5. NEW Haleakalā– Pick in 4 – C-9 chords.
  6. King Kamehameha – I Wanna Rest/4And – C-12 chords.
  7. Medley: Yes Sir That’s My Baby/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah – F-16 chords.
  8. NEW Moon River – 2 Waltz – F-13 chords.
  9. NEW Only You – I Wanna Rest/Latin – C-14 chords.
  10. Sunny – Bossa Nova – Am-6 chords.

September – October (3 classes) preparation for November 9 show at Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition

  1. Medley: Yes Sir/Five Foot Two/Baby Face – Hum Ding-Ah – F-16 chords.
  2. Lahaina  – Latin – C-4 chords.
  3. Aloha Kauai – I Wanna Rest – F-13 chords.
  4. Sunny – Bossa Nova – Am-6 chords.
  5. Moon River – 2 Waltz – F-13 chords.
  6. Proud Mary – Tom Tom – C-6 chords.
  7. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai – Latin – D&F – 11 chords.
  8. Maile Lei – Bossa Nova – C-12 chords.
  9. Rock Around the Clock – Hum Ding-Ah – C-3 chords.
  10. Sunny – Bossa Nova – Am-6 chords.

Nov 13 – December 11 (3 classes) preparation for the Christmas Party in this order of playing:

  1. Jingle Bells – Hum Ding-Ah – C-6 chords (new ¾ time verses only).
  2. Silver Bells – Waltz – F-4 chords.
  3. Feliz Navidad – Latin – F-3 chords.
  4. White Christmas – I Wanna Rest and Latin – G-7 chords.
  5. Mele Kalikimaka Ia Oe – Hum Ding-Ah – F-4 chords.
  6. Silent Night – Pick in 6 – F-5 chords.
  7. Hawaiian Santa – I Wanna Rest and 4And – C-6 chords.
  8. Holly Jolly Christmas – Hum Ding-Ah – G-7 chords.
  9. The Christmas Song – Pick in 4 – G-10 chords.
  10. Mele Kalikimaka – Hum Ding-Ah – D-7 chords.
  11. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – 2 Waltz – C-7 chords.
  12. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code – C-5 chords.

Onward to 2020 and to more fun playing music together the Ukulele Mele Way! Visit Advanced Ukulele class page >>

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Ukulele Strumming 202 Songs 2019

Ukulele Strumming 202 met for 18 (2-hour) classes on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month in 2019 and played 44 songs. Some students also enrolled in Advanced ‘Ukulele classes on alternate Wednesdays. Students received emailed song sheets to print out and place in a binder with a new curriculum of approximately 10 songs every quarter. Outside of class, students could play along to audio recordings of those song arrangements on my website and then have more fun in class. We also played some of the songs during my monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong series. Here is the song list for 2019:

January – March (4 classes)

  1. NEW Getting To Know You – I Wanna Rest – E-4 chords.
  2. NEW Hey Good Lookin’ – Hum Ding-Ah – F-7 chords.
  3. NEW I Whistle a Happy Tune – Hum Ding-Ah – F-6 chords.
  4. NEW King of the Road – Hum Ding-Ah – F-3 chords.
  5. NEW Kula Morning – Latin – C-9 chords.
  6. NEW Maui Waltz – 2 Waltz – D-4 chords.
  7. NEW Molokai Nui A Hina – Hum Ding-Ah – F-5 chords.
  8. NEW Take Me Home Country Roads – Hum Ding-Ah – C-5 chords.
  9. NEW Ulupalakua – Olapa – F-9 chords.
  10. NEW Wahine Holo Lio – I Wanna Rest/Pick in 4 – Dm & C-6 chords.

April – June (5 classes)

  1. NEW Can’t Help Falling in Love With You – Morse Code Variation – C-5 chords
  2. NEW Days of My Youth – Latin – C-9 chords.
  3. NEW E Huli – ‘Ōlapa – C&F-8 chords.
  4. NEW Hapa Haole Hula Girl – Hum Ding-Ah – C – 9 chords.
  5. NEW Kuu Home o Kahaluu – Latin – D-7 chords.
  6. NEW Lovely Hula Hands – I Wanna Rest – C-6 chords.
  7. NEW May Day Is Lei Day – Hum Ding-Ah – G-5 chords.
  8. NEW My Yellow Ginger Lei – I Wanna Rest – F-10 chords.
  9. NEW Oh What a Beautiful Morning – 2 Waltz  – F-10 chords.
  10. NEW Song of Old Hawaii – Swing – C-5 chords.

July – September (5 classes)

  1. NEW Blue Suede Shoes – Hum Ding-Ah – C-3 chords.
  2. Repeat (from last quarter) Days of My Youth – Latin – C-9 chords.
  3. NEW Henehene Kou Aka – I Wanna Rest – F-8 chords.
  4. NEW In The Still Of The Night – I Wanna Rest/4And Strum – F-7 chords.
  5. Repeat (from last quarter) Kuu Home o Kahaluu – Latin – D-7 chords.
  6. NEW Medley: Kilakika O Haleakalā/No Ka Pueo – C&F – 8 chords.
  7. NEW Medley: La Bamba/Twist & Shout – Latin – C-3 chords.
  8. NEW Medley: Maui Waltz/Pua Lilia – 2 Waltz Strums – D & F – 11 chords.
  9. NEW On The Beach at Waikiki – Hum Ding-Ah – C&F – 7 chords.
  10. NEW Peggy Sue – Tom Tom – C-3 chords.
  11. Repeat (from 2018) Proud Mary – Tom Tom – C-6 chords.
  12. NEW Rock Around the Clock – Hum Ding-Ah – C-3 chords.

October – December (4 classes) preparation for the Christmas Party in this order of playing:

  1. Jingle Bells – Hum Ding-Ah – C-6 chords (new ¾ time verses only).
  2. Silver Bells – Waltz – F-4 chords.
  3. Feliz Navidad – Latin – F-3 chords.
  4. White Christmas – I Wanna Rest and Latin – G-7 chords.
  5. Mele Kalikimaka Ia Oe – Hum Ding-Ah – F-4 chords.
  6. Silent Night – Pick in 6 – F-5 chords.
  7. Hawaiian Santa – I Wanna Rest and 4And – C-6 chords.
  8. Holly Jolly Christmas – Hum Ding-Ah – G-7 chords.
  9. The Christmas Song – Pick in 4 – G-10 chords.
  10. Mele Kalikimaka – Hum Ding-Ah – D-7 chords.
  11. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – 2 Waltz – C-7 chords.
  12. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code – C-5 chords.

Onward to 2020 and to more fun playing music together the Ukulele Mele Way! Visit Ukulele Strumming 202 class webpage >>

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Summary of Sing-Along Songs 2019

Sing-Along with Mele Fong series met for 12 (2-hour) classes once a month mostly on Thursdays in 2019 and we played 129 songs. Each month featured a different theme including the Annual Christmas Party with a Christmas songs sing-along. Some students started coming to the first program in 2016 and then continued in 2019 with a total of 314 people signing up including 38 for the Christmas Party. Here is the list of songs in the order played (mixed for variety of tempo, rhythm, and language) for 2019:

January – Maui Nui Songs (16 signed up)

  1. Medley: Maui Boy/Maui Girl.
  2. Medley: Sea Breeze/Puamana.
  3. Lahaina.
  4. Maui Waltz.
  5. NEW Maui No Ka Oi/Molokai Nui A Hina/Lanai.
  6. Hasegawa General Store.
  7. NEW Kula Morning.
  8. Lahainaluna.
  9. Hawaii Aloha.

February – Paniolo Songs (37 signed up)

  1. Paniolo Country.
  2. Ulupalakua.
  3. NEW I’m An Old Cowhand.
  4. Could I Have This Dance.
  5. Hey Good Looking.
  6. NEW Home on the Range.
  7. Ring of Fire.
  8. King of the Road.
  9. NEW Red River Valley.
  10. Take Me Home Country Roads.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

March 14 – NEW Broadway Show Tunes (33 signed up)

  1. Give My Regards to Broadway.
  2. DO-RE-MI.
  3. Getting to Know You.
  4. Oh What a Beautiful Morning.
  5. I Whistle A Happy Tune.
  6. Summertime.
  7. I Could Have Danced All Night.
  8. Sound of Music.
  9. Singing In The Rain.
  10. My Blue Heaven.
  11. Moon River.
  12. Hawaii Aloha.

April – Hula Songs (22 signed up)

  1. Keep Your Eyes on the Hands.
  2. E Huli Makou.
  3. NEW Little Brown Gal.
  4. Sophisticated Hula.
  5. NEW Hapa Haole Hula Girl.
  6. Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai.
  7. NEW Haole Hula.
  8. Hukilau Song.
  9. Lovely Hula Hands.
  10. Hawaii Aloha.

May – Flowers & Lei Songs (20 signed up)

  1. May Day Is Lei Day.
  2. NEW Sweet Leilani.
  3. For You A Lei.
  4. NEW Ka Pua E.
  5. Pua Lilia.
  6. NEW Pretty Red Hibiscus.
  7.  Maile Lei For Your Hair.
  8. My Yellow Ginger Lei.
  9. NEW Song of Old Hawaii.
  10. Pua Ahihi.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

June – Small Kid Time Songs (13 signed up)

  1. Froggie Went A-Courtin’.
  2. The More We Get Together.
  3. She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain.
  4. Days of My Youth.
  5. You Are My Sunshine.
  6. Que Sera, Sera.
  7. I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.
  8. Kuu Home o Kahaluu.
  9. Oh Susanna.
  10. NEW Clementine.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

July – Patriotic Songs (16 signed up)

  1. Yankee Doodle.
  2. America the Beautiful.
  3. Medley: Yankee Doodle Boy/You’re A Grand Old Flag.
  4. My Country ‘Tis of Thee.
  5. Camptown Races.
  6. God Bless America.
  7. NEW This Is My Country.
  8. When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.
  9. This Land is Your Land.
  10. Hawaii Aloha.

August – Island Songs (23 signed up)

  1. Hawaii Ponoi.
  2. King Kamehameha.
  3. What Aloha Means.
  4. NEW Oahu – On the Beach at Waikiki.
  5. NEW Blue Hawaii.
  6. Kauai – Hele On To Kauai.
  7. Kauai – Hanalei Moon.
  8. NEW Maui Waltz.
  9. NEW Big Island – My Little Grass Shack.
  10. NEW There’s No Place Like Hawaii.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

September – NEW Rock & Roll (37 signed up)

  1. NEW Rock Around The Clock.
  2. Under the Palm Tree.
  3. NEW In The Still Of The Night.
  4. NEW Peggy Sue.
  5. All I Have To Do Is Dream.
  6. NEW Proud Mary.
  7. Silhouette.
  8. NEW Blue Suede Shoes.
  9. My Girl.
  10. Be My Baby.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

October – NEW International Songs (30 signed up)

  1. Japan – Beautiful Sunday.
  2. Switzerland flower – Edelweiss.
  3. Australia – Waltzing Matilda.
  4. Italy – Arrivederci Roma.
  5. Jewish – Hava Nagila.
  6. Irish – Medley: My Wild Iris Rose/When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
  7. German -The Happy Wanderer.
  8. Greece – Never On Sunday.
  9. World Singing Day – Sing.
  10. United Nations Day – It’s A Small World.
  11. Hawaii Aloha.

November – New Early American Classics (29 signed up)

  1. Medley: Beer Barrel Polka/There is a Tavern in the Town.
  2. Medley: Happy Days/Ain’t She Sweet.
  3. Sloop John B.
  4. Medley: Daisy Bell/Sidewalks of New York/In My Merry Oldsmobile.
  5. Medley: Yes Sir That’s My Baby/Five Foot Two/Baby Face.
  6. Medley: Shine On Harvest Moon/Moonlight Bay.
  7. Jamaica Farewell.
  8. Medley: Let Me Call You Sweetheart/In The Good Old Summertime/Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
  9. When You’re Smiling.
  10. Hawaii Aloha.

December –Christmas Songs at party (38 signed up)

  1. Jingle Bells/Kani Na Pele.
  2. Silver Bells.
  3. Feliz Navidad.
  4. White Christmas (Bev danced hula).
  5. Mele Kalikimaka Ia Oe.
  6. Silent Night (Bev danced hula).
  7. Hawaiian Santa.
  8. Holly Jolly Christmas.
  9. The Christmas Song.
  10. Mele Kalikimaka.
  11. We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
  12. Hawaii Aloha.

Onward to 2020 and to more fun singing and playing music together the Ukulele Mele Way! Visit Sing-Along with Mele Fong series webpage >>

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Highlights of 2019

Kaunoa classesI gave a PowerPoint presentation on “Highlights of 2019” at the 7th Annual Ukulele Mele Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 18 at Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville, Maui.

This was my 10th year of teaching ‘ukulele classes and more at the Center for adults 55 and better. What started as a 6-month experiment at Kaunoa in January 2009 continues to evolve as we share the joy of making music together.

Here is a summary:

Two highlights of the year stand out:
1. The Hawaiian Serenaders presented a “Pop and Jazz Ukulele Concert” on Thursday, August 22 co-sponsored by the University of Hawaii Statewide Cultural Extension Program. There was a full-house of sixty-eight people with one person coming from Hana (over 2 1/2 hours away) to celebrate her birthday. We played twenty-four songs with the concert lasting 1 ½ hours rather than the usual 45-minutes.
2. The Hawaiian Serenaders were asked to give our second consecutive “Hawaiian Style Christmas Concert” for the monthly Picnic for Poki Hawaiian Music Series in Wailuku on Thursday, December 19. Eight hula dancers from Na Hula Kupuna O Kaunoa joined us for 6 of the 20 songs we performed lasting over 1 hour. (Photo above taken in 2018)

I had planned 93 classes for the year but actually taught 63. Thirty classes were canceled – 2 because of sickness, 6 because not enough signups, 1 because office didn’t advertise so offer withdrawn, and 21 because I withdrew before the classes were advertised.

Advanced ‘Ukulele class and ‘Ukulele Strumming 202 class continued to meet twice a month on alternating Wednesdays throughout the year. Students received emailed song sheets of my arrangements and could play along to over 100 audio recordings produced by my husband and I on my website’s online Fan Club, with a new song curriculum averaging 10 songs every quarter. Advanced ‘Ukulele class met for 20 classes learning 51 songs and ‘Ukulele Strumming 202 class met for 18 classes learning 44 songs. My husband came to all classes to play along for 2-hours on his u-bass.

New ‘ukulele classes were open for anyone to sign up:
1. February. ‘Ukulele Strumming 101 for 3 Monday 2-hour classes used my Sing-Along Songs Vol 1 packaged set of Book/DVD/CD of 6 songs with 8 strumming styles for $40 or digital download $30.
2. March. ‘Ukulele Strumming 101 for 3 Monday 2-hour classes used my Sing-Along Songs Vol 2 packaged set of Book/DVD/CD of 6 songs with 8 strumming styles for $40 or digital download $30.
3. April 4. Hawaiian Songs for 4 Monday 2-hour classes used my Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Vol. 1 packaged set of Book/DVD/CD of 6 songs with 8 strumming styles for $40. (No digital download available as users had too many problems).

The Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series continued with my husband singing and accompanying on u-bass for the 2-hour classes. Monthly themes were Maui Nui, paniolo, new -Broadway, hula, flowers and lei, small kid time, patriotic, island songs, new – rock ‘n’ roll, new – international, new – American classics, and Christmas songs as part of the 7th Annual Christmas party. New this year, a student took video for the entire length of a song and I posted some of them on my YouTube channel to show the fun we were having singing and playing music together.

NEW Island Stories and Song Series (lecture and sing-along) for 2-hour classes was scheduled on the 5th Wednesdays of the month (except for July that was withdrawn because the office made a mistake and the class announcement was not advertised in the newsletter):
1. January. Oahu Island.
2. May. Big Island.
3. October. Heritage Sites of Honolulu (included history of the monarchy).

The Maui Ukulele Pops Band performed at the 12th Annual Maui ‘Ukulele Guild Exhibition on Saturday, November 9 at Queen Kaahumanu Center. My husband and I led my students from my Advanced ‘Ukulele class in singing and playing 9 songs for our 30-minute set. New this year, The Hawaiian Serenaders played 10 songs for our 30-minute set to fill in for Kalama Intermediate School Ukulele Band that couldn’t make it this year. We were lucky because my voice returned just that morning after being sick for a week.

On another note, 2019 was also the year to continue “ramping down” my business Ukulele Mele On Maui by closing the online store and changing my website to reflect those changes by the end of the year. This meant online subscription lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced ukulele players, 55 single song downloadable lessons, and 6 packaged song sets of Book/DVD/CD were no longer offered in 2019. (Private lessons and ukulele workshops at Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House were no longer offered in 2018). Plus, the last issue of my monthly e-newsletter UKE News You Can Use to mainland and local subscribers was December 2019, but monthly newsletters to Kaunoa subscribers will continue in 2020. It’s been fun to read student testimonials and reflect through the years of meeting my mission to “share the joy of making music one ‘ukulele player at-a-time.” Stay tuned for a new website look in 2020.

Next year in 2020 I plan to offer new classes at Kaunoa titled Ukulele Mele Basics and ‘Ukulele Strumming 101 using a different format without requiring the purchase of a packaged song set with Book/DVD/CD for the curriculum.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele

Review 2nd Annual Christmas Concert 2019

Picnic for Poki“You two are so cute,” remarked a lady after our show.” “I use your book set to practice my ukulele,” said Georgia, a returning student from last year whom I recognized from Vancouver, Canada. We were also pleased to see our photo with lengthy accompanying article in the morning newspaper.

THE HAWAIIAN SERENADERS presented a Hawaiian Style Christmas Concert at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 19 at Kaahumanu Church grounds in Wailuku, Maui. This was our second Annual Christmas concert for the Picnic for Poki Hawaiian music concert series held on the third Thursday of the month. The weather started out sunny, then drizzled, and rained before it cleared up in time for the concert to start. We dried off our music and chairs with a towel – then on with the show!

Eight hula dancers (one man and seven women) from Na Hula Kupuna o Kaunoa joined us once again and performed six hulas (see song list below). Beverly had danced her two solos to “Silent Night” and “White Christmas” that we sang and played the day before at my Annual Ukulele Mele Christmas Party at Kaunoa. The other dancers did not rehearse with us beforehand, but had our online audio recordings of the songs to practice with on their own.

We added four songs to lengthen our show from last year and it turned out perfect at just over one hour. When I asked the audience at one point, “Are you having fun?” – “Yes”, they answered – to which I replied, “We are, too.” It was fun to sing and tell our stories behind the songs and to see the audience smiling at us. It was also nice to see familiar faces including my husband’s high school classmate and his wife who came for the first time to our concert, plus some of my ukulele and sing-along students and friends. There were about 75 people who came.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS – CLICK ON A PHOTO for the story behind it

Here is our song list of 20 songs (6 with hula) with name of my ‘ukulele strum:

  1. Jingle Bells – Waltz Strum/Hum Ding-Ah Strum with chorus in Hawaiian.
  2. Silver Bells – 2 Waltz Strums.
  3. Christmas Luau – Play Ukulele Strum with hula.
  4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – I Wanna Rest/4And Strums.
  5. Winta Wandaland (local version of Winter Wonderland) – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  6. White Christmas – I Wanna Rest/Latin Strums with hula.
  7. Mele Kalikimaka Ia Oe – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  8. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  9. Silent Night – Pick in 6 Strum with verse in Hawaiian and with hula.
  10. Holly Jolly Christmas – Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  11. Feliz Navidad – Latin Strum.
  12. O Holy Night – Pick in 6/Triplet Strums with hula.
  13. Jingle Bell Rock with Hum Ding-Ah Strum.
  14. The Christmas Song – Pick in 4 Strum.
  15. Hawaiian Santa – I Wanna Rest Strum with hula.
  16. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – 2 Waltz Strums.
  17. Christmas Island – Swing/4 And Strums.
  18. Let There Be Peace on Earth – 2 Waltz Strums.
  19. Mele Kalikimaka – Hum Ding-Ah Strum with all hula dancers.
  20. Hana Hou. Hawaii Aloha – Morse Code Strum.

Immediately after our concert, the event organizer asked us to come back next year. What an honor!

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele