The 4th Annual Marianas Ukulele Festival over the weekend handed out 40 ukulele scholarships that included lessons for people of all ages.
Marianas Ukulele Festival Association chair Larry Lee told Saipan Tribune over the weekend that 40 registered for free ukulele lessons from Ed Johnson, the Marianas Music Association, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, and the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture with the Carolinian Affairs Office.
“…The Marianas Ukulele Festival Association would pay for that,” Lee told Saipan Tribune in an interview.
The festival, which was held at the Marianas Business Plaza parking lot, was the first time it was held outside of the Garapan Fishing Base since the festival started.
“We don’t have to deal with tents and rain or shine, the festival would push through,” Lee said.
According to him, the main goal of the festival is to promote an instrument that originated in Hawaii—the ukulele.
“We just want to share the love of ukulele music and give people the opportunity to come out and get local performers to come and play—just getting people together to enjoy music and culture,” he said.
According to Lee, the festival has garnered more donations and community support. “Every year the festival has been growing.”
Both Lee and association vice chair Gordon Marciano spearheaded the organization of the festival.
Featured artists included veteran musical group Tata Lino, Tata Felix, and General Joe; Marvin and Jay; Sunset Cruisers’ Alana’ia, Da Kine, Demalyn Pagarao, Jose Carreon and Juan Ichihara, and the Saipan Community School, among many others.
Musical performances from Jon Paul and Jason Sablan, Ukituki band, Monkeya Brothers, and more were also highlighted during the one-day festival.