Campbell River’s Pacifica Ukes spent Spring Break in Hawaii performing and touring.

Ukes’ Hawaii trip a hit

The Pacifica Ukes from Campbell River travelled to Kona, Hawaii over Spring Break and performed a series of concerts at various venues, impressing audiences each time.

The 11-member touring ensemble, representing Campbell River, is made up of students from grades 9 to 12. This represents the 7th tour to Hawaii for the highly acclaimed group, under the direction of music teachers Vince and Charlene Sequeira. The group’s last such tour was in 2012.

This was the culmination of four years of dedicated rehearsals, concerts, and fundraising for the students, most of whom started their musical journey with the ukulele at grade 4.

During their eight days in Kona, audiences were treated to a delightful mix of pop, classical, jazz and Hawaiian tunes presented by the Pacifica Ukes students.

Many were curious to see and hear what a group of students from Canada would sound like. They were quite amazed by the skill level of the ensemble, Sequeira said.

“The group was complimented particularly on how well they performed the Hawaiian numbers, especially in the very difficult song, “Kawika”.

The students’ mastery and pronunciation of the Hawaiian lyrics was impressive even to the Hawaiian locals,” Sequeira said.

Equally impressive was the inclusion of two hula numbers which featured three of the older students in the group.

Tunes such as “El Cumbanchero” and Johann Strauss’ “Radetzky March” showed off the students’ instrumental playing skills.

One of the highlights of the tour was an impromptu concert at a cafe in Volcano Village, and jamming with Craig Kekahuna, the very animated and inspirational owner of the cafe, himself a musician.

Aside from the performances, the students took time to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to view Kilauea up close and live; see the world famous Akaka falls; stroll along the Black Sand and Green Sand beaches; visit King Kamehameha’s birthplace and other historic sites; and even take in a full luau.

The purpose of the tour was to share the music of the ukulele with the people of Kona, embracing the similarities and differences of the Canadian style of playing with their Hawaiian counterparts. The spirit of “Aloha” was achieved through the joy of music!