Holualoa Ukulele Gallery
We admit that there is nothing groundbreaking about directing those visiting any island in Hawaii to a shop that sells ukuleles. Next to Macadamia Nuts and the Duty Free Dole 3 Pack of pineapples, purchasing a souvenir ukulele on any one of the islands is tourist prerequisite number three.
However, a trip to the Hilu'aloa Ukulele Gallery in Kailua, Kona will have you singing a different tune. At the Holu'aloa Ukulele Gallery, YOU get to make your very own ukulele. The hitch? You'd better be in town for at least two weeks!
Hilu'aloa Ukulele Gallery workshop owner Sam Rosen holds 70 hour courses over a span of 10 days - that's 7 hours per day - where participants immerse themselves in the process of building their very own ukulele, constructed from the Big Island's most prized natural possession - Koa - the rich, curly, butterscotch toned wood seen in upscale hotels, resorts and high end art galleries all over Hawaii. While 10 seven hour days of building, shaping, sanding, stringing and tuning doesn't sound like much of a relaxing vacation, the very first day wisely has participants shape a small thin plank of koa into the silhouette shape that the plucky island instrument is known for, and from that inspiring moment on, the pride of creating something so special (and actually recognizable) takes over and your hooked from there on in.
Sam is a pleasure to be around. His patient demeanor, humor, candor, story telling ability, and strum sessions throughout the day, each day, have you eagerly anticipating the finish line to the finished product so that you too can channel your inner Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is only ten days and a well worth-it *$1000 away.
*$1000 for a rewarding course like this AND the indigenous koa wood used to make your very own masterpiece is a great bargain as far as we are concerned.