I had the privilege of attending The Aloha Music Camp at the Outrigger Kona Resort on Hawai‘i Island from March 26-30, 2030, with my wife Linda. The camp is run by the Beamer Family (Moana, Keola and Kaliko) and started in 2001; it is a week-long immersion into the music, dance, and culture of Hawai‘i. The camp followed the Kona Steel Guitar Festival which was well attended with the greatest performers of steel in the islands. The Steel Guitar Festival was sponsored and provided by HIMELE.
At the camp you can learn to play slack key guitar, ‘ukulele, or steel guitar, dance hula, make a lei, sing Hawaiian songs, and even build beautiful Hawaiian instruments. Aloha Music Camp Artistic Director Keola Beamer always brings together a great group of instructors for each Camp. They are some of Hawai‘i's finest musicians and performing artists. I had many opportunities to interact one-on-one with them throughout my week at Camp.
Class sizes are kept small so that by the end of Camp, you will have truly made progress in your field of study and will have created lasting friendships that span the years. The camp has had a continuity and quality of instruction. Instructors are available not just for one or two lessons, but for the entire week. Also, everyone is committed to having an absolutely great time!
I had heard about the Music Camp a number of years ago from Alan Akaka because he is one of the Kumu who spend the week teaching Hawaiian Steel Guitar. I had planned to go a few years ago but with the pandemic I had to wait till it opened again. This was the first camp since the pandemic. I was a little intimidated at first, most of the other "campers" have been coming for years some from the beginning. We got a gecko sticker letting long term campers and instructors know you are new to help them make you feel welcomed and become acclimated to the community. Eating together and sharing stories were a wonderful experience. I felt the warm charm of the kumu and fellow campers right away. They asked about our music experience and what we hoped to achieve during the week.
Kumu Kaliko Teaching Oli
There were so many classes and I wanted to experience them all, but due to time constraints I had to limit my activities to just a few. I did beginning Oli, Slack Key Guitar, ‘Ōlelo, Bass Guitar, ‘Ukulele, Mele and Crafts (making a noise flute and other simple Hawaiian Instruments). I skipped Alan's steel class because it was beginner and I had spent many years learning from him. I did not do Hula or Lei making for lack of time and interest. I surveyed the classes the first day and on the remainder of the days stuck with Oli (Hawaiian chanting), ‘Ōlelo (Hawaiian Language), Mele (Hawaiian Song) and Crafts. Some of the classes were inside and some were in tents set up on the lawn. I truly enjoyed all of the classes. Learned a great deal and had old fashion fun. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a crash course in Hawaiian culture.
Kumu Calvin–Crafts making Nose Flutes
Kumu Calvin Creating Other Hawaiian Instruments
Every night there were performances, open mikes, performances from the Beamer ‘Ohana, a Luau night, a Kumu performers night, and a Hō‘ike night where all the campers showed off what they had learned, great fun. I sang ‘Ōlelo with my classmates and played with my newly made instruments.
Kumus Performing For Campers
Hō‘ike Night–Campers Performing New Skills
The closing Ceremony on the last day was emotional as we said good bye to newly made friends, with much song and chanting. Overall a great time seemed to be had by all.
2024 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts
HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.
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