A few changes are forthcoming, when the 52nd Annual Ukulele Festival – a summertime attraction and destination for locals and visitors alike – unfolds at 7 p.m. July 17 as a virtual event.
New: a title sponsor, Tony Group Autoplex, will strum in this year, making the event possible. Thus, the annual event will be formally known as the Tony Group Autoplex Annual Ukulele Festival.
Unchanged: Through retired, Roy and Kathy Sakuma, co-founders of the world’s largest and most popular uke activity, are returning to jump-start this year’s attraction with plans to keep alive the spirit of the festival’s success.
The Sakumas earlier retired as co-founders of the ukulele festival, when another couple expressed interest in keeping the fest alive, but clearly, the deal fell through, reasons unexplained.
So Sakuma will be aboard, hosting the event along with Hawaii’s most famous and versatile uke man, Jake Shimabukuro.
What’s also new: a free virtual ukulele workshop on July 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Hawaii time, a week ahead of the virtual festival.
The Sakumas continue their year-round work to train and instruct ukulele students at their Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios. “That’s what I enjoy most – working with the young kids who want to learn to play the ukulele,” said Roy Sakuma, who, in recent years, returned to host in-person classes himself, becoming part of his studio’s teaching staff. And yes, the kids love him. “It’s so much fun…like the old days,” said Roy.
“We wholeheartedly would like to thank all of the ‘ukulele manufacturers, performers, entertainers, international groups, students, sponsors, volunteers, and the entire community of residents and visitors who came out to Kapi‘olani Park year after year to support the festival,” the Sakumas said in a joint statement.
“The ukulele, so small and seemingly ordinary, touches lives in extraordinary ways, and we will continue to spread the joy of the ukulele,” said Kathy.
Shimabukuro, who earned his chops as an early learner, now serves on the board of directors of the Ukulele Festival Hawaii. “It is because of Roy and Kathy’s work that the ‘ukulele is embraced and enjoyed worldwide today with other ukulele festivals throughout the world, and I salute them for their efforts,” said Shimabukuro. …
A Lightbulb Concerto
Streetlight Cadence, the acoustic group from Hawaii, have a reputation of thinking and playing outside the box, which make ‘em truly refreshing.
Ensconced in a room at Sunset Beach in Pupukea recently, the band had a couple of hours to kill following a concert, so they decided to create something special, and impromptu, and recorded a beaut and posted it online.
If the footage — promptly dubbed “A Lightbulb Concerto” –seems unusually dark, clearly it’s intentional: a simple “ghost light,” that single-bulb lamp traditionally left on overnight, a common practice on a Broadway stage, provided the illumination, as Jonathan Franklin performed on violin, Brian Webb on cello, and Ben Chai on banjo, with friend Clara Stegall guesting on guitar . No word on the whereabouts of Jesse Shiroma, the group’s accordionist, but maybe he was the cameraman? Looks and sounds like a winnah! …
So who and what will replace Jay Hernandez and the “Magnum P.I.” crew on Friday nights this fall, on CBS? Taking over the slot: Max Thieriot, from “SWAT Team,” heading up an inmates-and-firefighter drama, “Fire Country,” tucked in between “SWAT Team” and “Blue Bloods.” ….
And that’s Show Biz. …