Ukulele Mele On Maui
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Spring 2013 Events

HIGHLIGHTS: Scroll down to read reviews by the date of the event

Spring: (April - June 2013)
April 13. Education Center Grand Opening music at Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, Kahului.
April 20. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku.
April 20. Two workshops at Maui Steel Guitar Festival at Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
April 21. Sunday brunch concert at Kaanapali Beach Hotel for Maui Steel Guitar Festival.
April 27. Maui Business Brainstormers Event at Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, Lahaina.
May 11. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku.
June 8. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku.


April 13. Education Center Grand Opening music at Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, Kahului.

The Hawaiian Serenaders performed for one-hour outside for the grand opening of the Education Center. The wind in our faces kept us cool as we gazed at the 50+ people in the audience and out across to the pounding waves along the coastline. It was nerve racking when the center's new PA system couldn't amplify Mele's ukulele, and thus Mele ending up playing acoustically. The show must go on! Afterwards, people came up to comment on how much they enjoyed our singing and Rich's bass playing. It felt good to be part of a worthwhile cause to honor the veterans who fought for our freedom.

"Listening to Mele Fong and the Hawaiian Serenaders play brought back his fond memories of learning "Ahi Wela" from William Hoopii - with Mele Fong at Nisei Veterans Memorial Center." - Melanie Agrabante (see her photo in The Hawaiian Serenaders Photo Gallery for 2013).

April 20. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku. (for current workshop info)

Eight people came during a very busy Saturday on Maui with many fairs and free activities to choose from. Since everyone was either a private student or takes classes from Mele at Kaunoa Senior Center, we played jazz and a harder mix of songs by ear. What fun we had! After the workshop ended at 12 noon, we quickly drove over to Kaanapali Beach Hotel to check in and setup to teach the first of two workshops starting at 1:30 p.m.

April 20. Two workshops at Maui Steel Guitar Festival at Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

Over 30 people, mostly beginners, showed up at the Kanahele Room for lessons from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The hotel provided 10 instruments, but many went without and played air ukulele or sang along to the popular songs. We did chalang-alang, waltz, and latin strums to one-four chord songs within an hour. Afterwards, positive comments were overheard among the guests. The turnout was a huge improvement over the one person who showed up when Mele was setup under a tent last year. One person had a private lesson during the second workshop from 3-4:00 p.m.

April 21. Sunday Brunch concert at Kaanapali Beach Hotel for Maui Steel Guitar Festival.

The Hawaiian Serenaders performed on the main stage in between two steel guitar groups as part of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival. Greg Sardinha Trio and Ed Puna preceeded us, and then the Islanders and Bobby Ingano followed us. We sang a mix of Hawaiian and hapa-haole songs from the boat days era, and received a standing ovation after singing "Flying." It meant a lot to see Kaipo Ahsing, Alan Akaka's guitar player, and a visitor rise to their feet and applauding. After our 40-minutes show, one man came up asking to buy a CD. He said of all the groups he listened to the previous day, we were the only one he heard. Mele took a picture with Chris, from last year, who had purchased a song booklet to take back to California to teach children during summer school. Chris said he looked but couldn't find where the ukulele lessons were on Saturday. As we walked past the audience eating lunch outdoors, we saw many nods of thanks and shaka signs of appreciation. Then it was our turn to eat and be entertained. What a great festival!

April 27. Maui Business Brainstormers Event at Maui Dragon Fruit Farm, Lahaina.

The Hawaiian Serenaders opened for Grammy award winner George Kahumoku, Jr. at the After Tax Party event outdoors from 5:00pm-9:00 p.m. on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. As we were playing our 30-minute set, we could see the sun slowing setting over the island of Lanai as a cruise ship departed from Lahaina. We had friends from Florida on that ship whom we will see when the ship returns on Tuesday. Oahu TV news commentator Howard Dicus, the keynote speaker, followed us on stage. We were pleased when Howard mentioned the four different genres of music we played - Hawaiian, hapa haole, jazz, and Cole Porter and how much he enjoyed our music. George Kahumoku played slack key guitar and told some of his kolohe stories that are in his book and film. George had a harmonica player accompany him that could really bend the notes. An organizer of the Kihei Town Party on the 4th Friday of the month, invited us to check out their venue and perform on stage for their family fun event. Over 100 people attended the event of mostly small business owners, members of Maui Business Brainstormers (Mele is a member) and Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (we are members). 

May 11. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku. (for current workshop info)

Twelve ukulele players came, five of whom were brand new to the workshop. One ukulele player visiting from California added a nice touch with his mandolin playing and vocal harmonies. In fact, we had many singers this time who loved to sing and play. Afterwards, four packaged songbooklet/DVD/CDs were sold, including the newly released "Sing-along Songs, Vol. 1" with some of the songs we did that day. What fun we all had!

Here's what someone wrote on our Facebook page: "Aloha Mele, my friend Joe and I had such a fun time at your class this morning at the Bailey House Museum. Learned some new things about strumming patterns and the correct (and easier!) ways to make chords. Great singing along and jamming with you. Mahalo, Phil (Kihei, Maui) "

June 8. Play Along with Ukulele Mele Workshop at Bailey House Museum, Wailuku. (for current workshop info)

Sixteen ukulele players came, including one friend of Mele's new student and several returning workshop participants. The new incoming Executive Director of the Bailey House Museum treated us to pastries from a local bakery and coffee as a goodbye to the outgoing Executive Director who is leaving at the end of June. Mele started the Play Along Workshop program with the outgoing Executive Director a year ago on July 14th. What started as an experiment has continued into an ongoing monthly commitment with the museum. The museum gains memberships and new people (both residents and visitors alike) as Mele teaches ukulele players how to play by ear (and hopefully gains new students who want to learn more). During break time, the informal kanikapila as players sit around the circle and jam is priceless. Where else can like minded ukulele players get together to play "Mele's way" of different strumming styles to popular songs and have fun?

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