Australian Friends

Heartfelt Highlights

In 2014, we first met Jim Bills from Brisbane, Australia, when he attended Mele’s Ukulele Strumming Workshop at the Bailey House on 15 November. Jim and his wife Julie had watched us perform on stage at the Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition at Queen Kaahumanu Center the previous Saturday. Julie told Jim he needed to get us to SPRUKE. Two days after the workshop, Jim and Julie came back to the Bailey House for a special meeting. They invited us to submit a proposal to teach ukulele workshops and perform at next year’s Ukulele Festival (SPRUKE) in Brisbane, Australia. Jim helped Mele with the proposal via many Skype calls, but it didn’t work out (too many logistics working in Australia).

In 2017, Jim and Julie returned to Maui and came to our monthly Sing-Along with Mele Fong Series – Flower and Lei Songs to celebrate May Day on Thursday, 4 May. Jim gave Mele a “thumbs up” sign after the program and then they drove to our house for an informal jam session.

Read review of Sing-Along at

Later we went to their condo in Kaanapali for lunch and music. We toasted to a bottle of “Mele” labeled red wine from Maui Winery (in the photo). It was nice to have somewhere special to go on the first Mother’s Day after Mele’s mom had passed away earlier in the year.

(Photo of us with Jim and Julie Bills from Bisbane, Australia at their condo in Kaanapali on Sunday 14 May 2017)