My Ohana, My Hoaloha

by Karl Hitzemann

How would your students like to sing, whistle, and play the ukulele? Sounds like fun, right? Well, that's exactly what they get to do while performing the song "My Ohana, My Hoaloha." Ohana (oh-hah-nah) is Hawaiian for family, and hoaloha (hoh-ah-loh-hah) is Hawaiian for friend. Also, the tempo marking for this piece is "hau'oli" (how'oh-lee), which means happiness.

The song begins with the kids singing. Be sure to pronounce ukulele, "oo-koo-lay-lay" wherever it occurs. On the repeat, the ukuleles take over. Note that there is a rhythmic pattern written out for your players (see part on page 47), but if they'd like to be more creative, they can strum freely to the beat of the song. On the full performance and accompaniment tracks, we have a ukulele playing freely as a guide. There are only three chords used – C6, G, and F. While playing their ukuleles, your students can whistle the melody until halfway through measure 12, where the singing resumes. If playing and whistling/singing proves to be too much for your group, you can divide them up, with some playing their ukes and others providing the whistling/singing. If you don't have a lot of strong whistlers, you could have them sing the melody on "loo," or just feature the ukulele players. There are many options.

We're certain your students will be very inspired by the fun, authentic sounding accompaniment. While learning and performing this song, have them imagine that they are on a beach in Waikiki as the sun is setting. A few grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, and sunglasses would be a nice touch, too.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.