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Polynesian Cultural Center Opens New Ukulele Experience Exhibit

Lā‘ie, Hawai‘i – May 2, 2016 – The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) officially welcomed its newest exhibit – the ‘Ukulele Experience –with a special pau hana (after work), Aloha Friday (April 29) grand opening celebration.
Located in the Hukilau Marketplace in a newly renovated exhibit space of 2,400 square feet designed in the shape of an ‘ukulele, the ‘Ukulele Experience is part museum, part educational, and a beautiful showcase for a beloved instrument epitomizing Hawai‘i’s gift of music to the world. The exhibit features tours showing how the ‘ukulele is crafted, along with photos, artwork, mementos, and a wide variety of ‘ukulele on display.

‘Ukulele Experience Honors Hawai‘i’s Musical Legacy
The ‘Ukulele Experience stands as an enduring tribute to the history and significance of Hawai‘i’s official state instrument. Guests learn how a once obscure taro patch and cane field instrument with lineage from Portugal became an internationally recognized symbol of Hawai‘i’s aloha and musical legacy.

The new exhibit is designed to present an inviting, welcoming atmosphere for all to luana (relax) and enjoy the sounds of the wonderful embodiment of Hawai‘i culture.

Alfred Grace, PCC President and CEO, commented, “Culture is a gift from our ancestors and our responsibility to share with future generations. The ‘Ukulele Experience is a beautiful new exhibit that showcases the history, the woodworking, the artistry and the significance of the ‘ukulele to Hawai‘i’s culture, and to everyone who enjoys its music.

“We have designed the ‘Ukulele Experience to appeal to all ages, residents and visitors alike. All you need is an appreciation for music and a love for Hawai‘i.”

The ‘Ukulele Experience shows guests how a rough piece of rare koa wood is transformed into melodies that touch people worldwide, taking them through the five stages of crafting an ‘ukulele – cultivating, milling, assembling, finishing and final assembly. Both guided and interactive digital tours are offered.

President Grace noted, “The ‘ukulele is the gift of music from the Hawaiian people, connecting all of us, and people from around the world with the spirit of these islands and a culture founded in Polynesia and celebrated in Hawai‘i.”
Keiki Studio Inspires Children to Embrace Music

The ‘Ukulele Experience features a Keiki Studio, presented as an interactive and fun way for young children to learn about the instrument and spark their interest at an early age. Strumming and basic chords are taught to keiki (children) daily, provided complimentary by staff members. Keiki can also participate in a coloring activity.

President Grace said, “Our hope is that the Keiki Studio will inspire more young people to embrace music and adopt the ‘ukulele as their instrument of choice.”

Guests can purchase various brands of ‘ukulele, including Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele, Kamaka Hawaii Inc., Islander by Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele, and Kala Brand Music Co. The wide selection offers ‘ukulele to match any skill set, from beginners to experts.
Grand Opening Celebration, April 29.

With more than 200 people in attendance, the ‘Ukulele Experience grand opening on April 29 began with a ceremony in the tradition of Hawaiian culture, featuring the sound of the pū (triton conch shell), an oli (Hawaiian chant) and untying of a maile lei by President Grace, Joseph Souza of Kanile‘a ‘Ukulele, Casey and Sam Kamaka of Kamaka Hawai‘i, and Patrick McCarthy of Kala Brand Music. A crowd favorite during the ceremony was the performance by the Kahulu‘u Elementary School ‘Ukulele Band.

Following the ceremony, everyone enjoyed a free ‘ukulele concert featuring Hawai‘i artists Corey Fujimoto, Honoka & Azita, and Kalei Gamiao. Ten lucky guests were presented with a free ‘ukulele, as part of a special drawing in celebration of the grand opening.

For more information visit www.HukilauMarketplace.com/events or call (808) 293-3333.