By Wayne Harada
An Ukulele Gala, featuring a buffet, entertainment and a silent auction, will be held July 20 at the Ala Moana Hotel’s Hibiscus Ballroom.
The fund-raiser will help support the 42nd Annual Ukulele Festival two days later, on July 22 at Kapiolani Park Bandstand. Proceeds keep the festival free.
Gala details: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for buffet dinner service, with James Ingram and Ho’okena performing and Sam Kamaka Jr. and Fred Kamaka Sr., of the Kamaka Ukulele ‘ohana, will be inducted to the Ukulele Hall of Fame. Tickets: $75; corporate tables also available.
Festival details: Strummers young and old alike will assemble from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Tony Group Autoplex as title sponsor. The festival will be streamed live on "The New Livestream," with real-time photos, text and video clips updates available for the second year. Go to http://new.livestream.com/accounts/457785/events/868055 to sign up or login. Streaming can also be linked to iPads and iPhones.
Casting call: Grammy Award-winning James Ingram tops the cast, also featuring ukulele strummers from Hawaii, California, Australia, Japan, France, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Ingram in 2004 composed the festival’s theme song, “Come and Join Us.”
Troupers include Ohta-san, ManoaDNA, Herb Ohta Jr., Derick Sebastian, Kalei Gamiao, Nick Asocta, Aidan James, Kalama Ukulele Band (Hawaii), Sunset Strummers HUI (California), Adrien Janiak (France), Singto Numchok (Thailand); Yuji Igarashi, Tate “Kolohe” Imamura, Boo Takagi, Keiku Ukulele Japan, LeaLea Ukulele Garden (Japan); Bambell Ukestra (Korea), Taiwan Ukulele Club, Chocolele (Taiwan); Ukastle Ukestra (Australia), Paul Tupou (New Zealand). About 800 students from Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios also will take the stage. Danny Kaleikini will emcee.
Good to know: Free parking and shuttle service from Kapiolani Community College to Kapiolani Park will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Learning curve: An ukulele booth where folks can learn to play the ukulele, see ukulele displays and partake in giveaways, will be open.
Also: food booths, inflatable bouncers for children, and Ukulele Festival collectible pins, T-shirts, and recyclable tote bags will be part of the attraction.
Notable and quotable: “Each year, I am amazed about the growing popularity of the ukulele all over the world. For instance, it’s booming in Korea and so we are pleased to have Bambell Ukestra from Korea and also to have New Zealand represented for the first time,” said Roy Sakuma, who founded the Ukulele Festival in 1971.
“The Ukulele Festival wouldn’t be possible without the support from the community and all the entertainers who perform for the love of the ukulele,” adds Sakuma. “We are thrilled to have Tony Group Autoplex as our title sponsor and support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and City and County of Honolulu’s County Product Enrichment Program.”
More information: www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org.