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Keeping ‘Aloha’ alive

WAIPOULI — The camp is not just about playing ukulele or hula, said Ann Saito of San Jose, California at the Courtyard by Marriott at Coconut Beach.

“This is about living aloha,” Saito said Monday. “When we got here, we only knew each other, but now, people are so welcoming and so full of aloha — and this is just the first day.”

Saito was among the more than 160 people from throughout the U.S. and other countries registered for the Aloha Music Camp, which runs this week at the Courtyard by Marriott.

“The people love Kauai,” said Keoa Beamer, an Aloha Music Camp leader.

Beamer said the camp stems from his own experience with music and from conversations with his mother, Nona Beamer.

“This is a little about music, and a lot about aloha,” he said. “One of my mother’s sayings was ‘malama ko aloha,’ or keep the love. Aloha is more than just a word. It’s about being.”

Aloha Music Camp uses music to bring people together, celebrate diversity and keep aloha alive.

Beamer said he’s been teaching for about 20 years, playing music, and touring the world.

The camp itinerary reflects this core value with classes in making ukulele, learning to play, slack key guitar, steel guitar, advanced Oli, hula, lei making, ‘Olelo, or speaking Hawaiian, and more.

“If we can inspire people through music, that is the goal of Aloha Music Camp,” Beamer said.

Beth Post of Granite Bay, California, is host to a Hawaiian music radio show in her town. She estimated that during the Aloha Music, her daughter, in the three years of attending the Aloha Music Camp, has learned to make an ukulele, speak Hawaiian, and how to hula.

“These are my ‘ohana,’” Beth said. “They care so much. How can I not come to see them?”

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