Page 6 - MidWeek Central - August 24, 2022
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6 AUGUST 24, 2022
 Roy And Kathy Sakuma Share Their Passion For ‘Ukulele In Mililani, Beyond
In 1974, Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studio in Kaimukī opened. After an ad in the paper, “the phone was flood- ed,” Roy remembers.
  taught a group of boys called The Termites,” Roy con- tinues. “They played at the halftime of UH (University of Hawai‘i) games and all types of events, and were re- ceiving beautiful exposure.”
Shortly thereafter, anoth- er studio opened in ‘Aiea, Kathy’s hometown, and the Kāne‘ohe and Mililani stu- dios followed.
Around that time, Roy started dating Kathy and, of course, he wanted to in- troduce her to his beloved teacher. Bypassing the lines going around Waikīkī hotels, Roy secured a centerstage table at Ohta-San’s show. During intermission, Ohta- San walked up to Kathy, re- alizing they were cousins.
“Our intent was to get our students, whether adults or children, to enjoy the process of making music,” Kathy states. “But at some point, there would be this road- block with reading music.”
RoySakuma‘UkuleleStudiosseestudentsofallages,includingadults(left),whoperformedatapreviousProBowlinHonolulu,aswellaskeiki(right). PHOTO COURTESY ROY SAKUMA ‘UKULELE STUDIOS
“Ohta-San was influential in my life,” Roy explains. “He not only taught me how to play but also encouraged Kathy — who became my wife — and I to open our own studio.”
Roy continues, “I tran- scribed the music on the manual typewriter, and this was a major breakthrough. I was able to teach children who were 4 years old how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star within a few lessons.”
continue to use this meth- od of ‘ukulele instruction today with its more than 30 teachers, all of whom are the Sakumas’ former students “who know the joy of teach- ing and are able to create a safe environment,” says Roy.
Students also frequently showcase their skills at fes- tivals and concerts. In fact, Roy and Kathy founded the annual ‘Ukulele Festival in Kapi‘olani Park in 1971, which quickly became the largest ‘ukulele festival in
the world and “spread the joy of ‘ukulele with many smiling faces in attendance,” Roy describes.
very special performance,” says Roy.
The Roy Sakuma studios
both in person and virtually — visit
Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studios students will display their talents at 3 p.m. Nov. 5 at Windward Mall “for a
“My dream is to teach until the very end,” Roy concludes. For more info about ‘uku- lele lessons for all ages —
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