Ukulele Fest in the Park
Every Summer a multicultural array of music sung in French, Japanese, Hawaiian, and German tickle the low-hanging leaves of the banyan trees at Kapiolani Park while the sounds reignite Diamond head as if it were aglow. And like those who believed the ancient crater once housed real diamonds, attendees wow over the dazzle that the late afternoon showers across the vast lawn. A string of diamonds joined together with every gentle strum of the ukulele.
The annual Ukulele Festival of Hawaii started 40 years ago as a dream for ukulele master Roy Sakuma. As a parks keeper, he used to clean those very same leaves that softly fall from the surrounding banyans. He could feel the music whispering to him in the wind.
Today more than 850 performers from around the world share their passion for the uke on stage at the Kapiolani Bandstand and keiki get involved as well with about a dozen schools participating in the event.
Sakuma has been teaching ukulele lessons since the age of 19. He then opened an ukulele studio which has expanded to four locations islandwide.
The free festival, Sakuma claims, is the granddaddy of all ukulele festivals throughout the world.
“We are so thankful that from this day, 40 years ago, it has grown throughout the world, and now countries throughout the entire world have ukulele festivals,” he said.
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Alyssa S. Navares, PacificNetwork.tv