Hawaii’s Ukulele Festival still going strong after 45 years

Hawaii’s Ukulele Festival Still Going Strong after 45 Years

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The ukulele – considered a symbol of aloha – will show its power to bring people together when performers from Hawaii and around the world gather at the 45th Annual Ukulele Festival Sunday, July 19, 2015 at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. Presented by Tony Group Autoplex and Pacific International Realty, this year's Ukulele Festival will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro, Hawaiian Phenomenon Willie K and Ukuleles for Peace from Israel among those on the entertainment line-up.

In addition to Shimabukuro and Willie K, other Hawaii musical artists returning to this year's Ukulele Festival include Ohta-San, Paula Fuga, Herb Ohta Jr., Aidan James, Nick Acosta, and the Roy Sakuma 700-piece Ukulele Band composed mostly of children. Danny Kaleikini, Hawaii's Ambassador of Aloha, serves as emcee for the 44th straight year.

Ukuleles for Peace, started in Israel by musician Paul Moore more than a decade ago, will perform in Hawaii for the first time. The orchestra has been successful in breaking down barriers and uniting Arab and Jewish youth by playing music together. Other out-of-town performers include Aloha Picking Ohana and Sunset Strummers Ukulele Ohana (California); Langley Ukulele Ensemble (Canada); Jontom (Italy); fulare_pad, Nihon Ukulele Association, Yamaha Music School of Ukulele, and Kolohe Imamura & Matt Kobayashi (Japan); Korea Ukulele Orchestra (Korea); Johnny Chang (Taiwan); and Singto Numchok (Thailand).

"At 45 years and still going strong, this is a milestone year for the Ukulele Festival," said Roy Sakuma, who founded the event in 1971. "We have a fantastic line-up of performers and are especially happy to feature the children in Ukuleles for Peace, who are coming all the way from Israel. Despite the conflict in their country, it is wonderful to know that Arab and Jewish children are playing the ukulele together in an effort to foster peace and joy and create a happier society. This is truly an example of the universal power of the ukulele."

Free parking and shuttle service in air-conditioned buses from Kapiolani Community College to Kapiolani Park and back will be available. A second stage in the food tent will allow more performance time for ukulele players, and free ukulele lessons, ukulele displays and giveaways by ukulele manufacturers, food booths, and Ukulele Festival souvenir T-shirts add to the festive atmosphere.

In addition to Tony Group Autoplex and Pacific International Realty, support for the 45th Annual Ukulele Festival is provided by Hawaii Tourism Authority, City & County of Honolulu, Ala Moana Hotel, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Honolulu Disposal Service, KSSK, among others.

Other events include the Ukulele Festival Hawaii Gala on Friday, July 17, 2015 at the Ala Moana Hotel's Hibiscus Ballroom beginning at 5:30 p.m. Seats are $85 with table sponsorships from $1,500 to $5,000. A free one-hour ukulele workshop, conducted by Roy and Kathy Sakuma, will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 10 a.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel.

For more information about the Ukulele Festival, Gala or ukulele workshop, email info@ukulelefestivalhawaii.org or visit www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org.

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