Ala Wai Elementary revives music program with Jake Shimabukuro

Ala Wai Elementary School received a musical treat Wednesday, courtesy of Jake Shimabukuro.

The local musician teamed up with the non-profit Music for Life Foundation to present the school with dozens of ukuleles.

Twenty-two of them were actually found damaged in a school closet and repaired by Shimabukuro himself.

Leo Daquioag, Music for Life Foundation CEO, president, and founder, explained that when the school’s music program was cut, “a lot of the musical instruments were put away. They were stored and neglected, basically, so when inquiring with the schools about musical instruments, they referred me to the music teacher, who showed me the ukuleles.”


In addition to the repaired instruments, the foundation donated 40 more ukuleles to the school. They were presented at a special assembly that included a performance by Shimabukuro, a former Ala Wai student.

“What these ukuleles allow the teachers to do is let the students take the ukuleles home,” Daquioag explained. “When you read a book in school and you can’t finish it obviously in school, so what do you do? You check it out. You borrow it. Why can’t we do that for the ukuleles?”

Daquioag says the foundation also worked with the school’s music teacher to revive its music program.

“Our hope is for them to be inspired, inspired with sharing, with maybe taking up a passion for music, because music is important,” he said. “It’s the other side of the brain and we need to have a comprehensive learning to have a full education.”

Click here for more information on the Music for Life Foundation.


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