A total of 250 family, friends, and community members came out to watch more than 100 students of Saipan Community School perform in last May 7’s Uke Jam at the Saipan Community Church Chapel.
Uke Jam, which is in its 15th year, had SCS students electrify the assembled crowd with familiar songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb (third grade), If You’re Happy and You Know It (fourth grade), Are You Sleeping and BINGO (fifth grade), Hawaii Five-O and He’s a Pirate (sixth, seventh, and eighth grades).
The event also had several students performing solos and ensembles. Tommy Cayetano, for example, strummed Toreador March in his ukulele, while Jason Sablan, Maxine Rabago, Seung Ju Lee, Miku Torres, and Rovin and Vinson Bacani performed The Beatles classic Can’t Buy Me Love.
The Michael Jackson ’80s hit, Beat It, was played by the quartet of James Park, Oliver Lee, John Hong, and Shaina Lee.
Esther Park, Kate Ishida, Iris Lee, and Julie Kim, meanwhile, mesmerized those in attendance with their rendition of Palladio.
As an encore, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders gave Uke Jam some touch of K Pop (Korean Pop) with their interpretation of the Wonder Girls’ Nobody Nobody But You, which also saw some audience participation as SCS principal Bobby Winkfield and some parents were pulled up the stage for some impromptu dance moves.
SCS ukulele teacher Tamiko Winkfield congratulated all the students who performed for a successful 2015 Uke Jam.
“Job well done everyone! A great night of music and celebration of 15 years of ukulele at SCS. Looking forward to next year and many years to come!” she said.
She also thanked SCS alumnus Ryu Tanzawa who served as Uke Jam’s guest performer that night and wowed everyone with his ultra-fast playing of Crazy G.
Tanzawa is finishing his junior year at Grace Christian Academy. He has played in Uke Jam 14 and 15.
“We are very grateful for his enthusiasm for the ukulele and his willingness to share his musicality with the younger students. We are so proud of him and the excellent man he is becoming,” said Winkfield.
Several awards were also handed out Thursday night. Esther Park, Sunny Woo, and Rovin Bacani all won the Uke Award, while Shane Xie, Maruf Mamun, and Oliver Lee went home with the Most Improved plums.
Jon Paul Sablan was given the Ukulele Enthusiast Award, while Kate Ishida and R.J. Pierce got the Music All-Around Award and Band Emcee Award, respectively.
Honorable mention awardees were Annabelle Sablan, Ellen Lee, Mimi Sakano, Celina Wu, Vincent Tudela, Alan Yu, Ken Song, Iris Lee, Julie Kim, and Vinson Bacani for “all their help playing lead, other instruments that were needed to fill out the sound, or just working really hard to master the ukulele,” said Winkfield. (PR)