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Band of 700 ukulele players to perform at Honolulu festival

Band of 700 ukulele players to perform at Honolulu festival
The Ukastle Ukestra from Newcastle, Australia, is among the international bands set to perform at Ukulele Festival Hawaii in Waikiki. (Ukulele Festival Hawaii)

The sound of music, specifically ukuleles, will waft through Waikiki in a really big way. More than 700 ukulele players, most of them children, will take the stage at the Ukulele Festival Hawaii in Honolulu on Sunday.

The giant band will be directed by festival founder Roy Sakuma, who taught the kids how to play the diminutive stringed instrument.

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The band's performance of Hawaiian songs is the highlight of the annual festival that began in 1971. The event is also will feature ukulele bands from Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Ukulele festival founder Roy Sakuma (holding microphone) revels in a performance by a 700-strong band, made up mostly of children who he has taught how to play the small stringed instrument.
Ukulele festival founder Roy Sakuma (holding microphone) revels in a performance by a 700-strong band, made up mostly of children who he has taught how to play the small stringed instrument. (Ukulele Festival Hawaii)

And there's something for novices too. Beginners are encouraged to grab a uke for a free lesson and learn to play at least one song, according to a news release.

If they have a desire to buy an instrument, various ukulele makers will be showcasing their handcrafted wares. Among the festival sponsors is Kamaka Ukuleles, a company celebrating its centennial this year. Sam Kamaka began making ukuleles in his Honolulu home in 1916.

Ukuleles in various shapes and sizes, crafted by various manufacturers, are displayed at Ukulele Festival Hawaii.
Ukuleles in various shapes and sizes, crafted by various manufacturers, are displayed at Ukulele Festival Hawaii. (Tina Mahina)

A dozen food booths will be scattered throughout the festival grounds in Kapiolani Park near the southern end of Waikiki Beach. The festival is set for 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

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