47th annual ukulele festival kicks off with Roy Sakuma

The music was flowing in Studio B during Sunrise. Ukulele master teacher and the founder of the Ukulele Festival, Roy Sakuma was in front of some students helping them to get ready for their live performance. During the sound check, you could see Sakuma waving his hands and keeping the players on beat enthusiastically. He was there to talk about the upcoming event, now in its 47th year.

For more information, here is part of the press release that was given to media outlets:

HONOLULU— The first and largest 'ukulele festival will be paying tribute to the late Eddie Kamae, a legendary Hawaiian musician who touched the lives of musicians, 'ukulele enthusiasts and Hawaiian music lovers around the world. Kamae, who passed away earlier this year, was one of the most influential Hawaiian musicians of the last half-century whose work perpetuated the culture and history of the islands.

More than 20 world-class musicians and acts will come together to celebrate both the 'ukulele and Kamae as the musical icons of aloha at this year's 47th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawai'i on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kapi'olani Park. Performers include local talent from Hawai'i and international entertainers who will be traveling from various destinations throughout Asia, Oceania and North America. Under the direction of festival founder and 'ukulele master teacher Roy Sakuma, Kamae's famous melody "E Ku'u Morning Dew" will be played by the Ukulele Festival Band.

"Eddie was a dear friend of mine who has touched so many of our hearts here in the islands and the rest of the world through his music, his work and his love for the Hawaiian culture and history," said Roy Sakuma, who founded the event in 1971. "This year as we continue to celebrate the beauty and significance of the 'ukulele, we also celebrate the life and legacy of one of the greatest Hawaiian musicians and 'ukulele legends of all time."

Presented by Tony Group Autoplex, the festival is expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors and local residents this year. Attendees will get to enjoy the musical stylings of this year's featured artists, including Ohta-San, Willie K, Herb Ohta Jr., Beat-Lele Mania, Nick Acosta, Kamakakehau Fernandez, Manoa DNA, Kamehameha Schools Performing Arts Academy Ukulele Ensemble, and the Roy Sakuma 700-piece 'Ukulele Band composed mostly of children. Danny Kaleikini, Hawai'i's Ambassador of Aloha, will serve as emcee for the 46th straight year.

Out-of-town performers include the North Virginia Ukulele Society (U.S.), Ukestralia (Australia); The Langley Ukulele Ensemble (Canada); Artcourse (China); fulare_pad, Nihon Ukulele Association, Ryo Natoyama and Yamaha Music School of Ukulele (Japan); Ukulele Heaven (New Zealand); and Apollon Ukl Ensemble (Korea).

Free parking and shuttle service in air-conditioned buses from Kapi'olani 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.

Support for the 47th Annual Ukulele Festival is also provided by Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Other events include the Ukulele Festival Hawaii Gala on Friday, July 14, 2017 at Ala Moana Hotel beginning at 5:30 p.m. Seats are $95 with table sponsorships from $1,500 to $5,000. For reservations or more information about the Ukulele Festival Hawaii Gala, email gala@ukulelefestivalhawaii.org or visit www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org.

The Ukulele Festival Hawaii is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.ukulelefestivalhawaii.org.

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