The Pacifica Ukes, an honour ukulele group, comprised of students from several schools in Campbell River, spent spring break in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii entertaining audiences at resorts and other public venues.
The students, ranging from grade 7 to grade 12 enjoyed a cultural experience they won’t soon forget as they shared the “spirit of Aloha” with their ukuleles.
In addition to the scheduled performances at prestigious resorts such as the Keauhou Beach Resort and the Kona Royal Sea Cliff Resort, several impromptu performances kept the group busy aside from the customary sight-seeing.
All performances were very well received and impressed audiences who have never heard our “Canadian” style of ukulele playing.
The playing style and variety of music that the students presented was a marked contrast to the more customary “sing and strum” styles of most groups.
Many of the locals were surprised at the skill level of the group. They were also impressed by how well they performed the Hawaiian numbers.
One of the many highlights of the musical tour was the interaction between the students and their Hawaiian counterparts at Kealakehe Intermediate School (grades 6-8) at Kailua-Kona.
There, the students not only performed for the Hawaiian students, but also taught them a new song which both groups played together, a blending of the two styles of ukulele playing.
The group’s two young hula dancers had a special opportunity to have a private seesion with a respected hula instructor, “Kanani,” learning the gracious moves of the classic Hawaiian hula.
This friendly and welcoming atmosphere towards the students was evident throughout their stay on the Big Island.
Other highlights included seeing the volcano park and the Kiluaea crater, the rainforest at Akaka Falls, swimming with the sea turtles and manta rays, and visiting some historical spots that reflect the early Hawaiian culture.
This year’s tour is the sixth tour to Hawaii for the Pacifica Ukes, under the direction of music directors, Vince and Charlene Sequeira.