Last Thursday we went to see Makana at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room for the second time. We were invited back after the re-opening last week and were asked to bring several of our friends and agents to the show. The concert was even better the second time around and all those that attended really enjoyed themselves and had a wonderful experience.
The historic value of the Monarch Room is attracting many legends back to this special place. One such legend is Bill Tapia. Uncle Bill wanted to come back because he actually opened the Monarch Room back in 1927. Rather than tell Uncle Bill’s story that has been done many times and by much more qualified writers than myself, I thought I would share a little bit about how he is now and our experience with him last week.
At 102 years old, Uncle Bill is more active than any other person I’ve ever known his age. He’s alert and still very dedicated to his music. He showed up before the concert at the Mai Tai Bar to meet Makana and hang out. He was accompanied by a small entourage of people including Michi Moore who will be accompanying him to Japan where Uncle Bill will be performing at a couple of concerts. Michi was excited to show us the ukulele Uncle Bill had given her. She didn’t know the history behind it but was honored to receive it. Yaling and I were able to take a couple of pictures with him and share a story or two about some musical venues I’ve seen him in over the years.
Later we were invited to join Uncle Bill at Duc’s Bistro after the concert so we headed over to Chinatown where Uncle Bill was to play a little (see the video below) and have some dinner. When we got to Duc’s Uncle Bill was just finishing up but agreed to play a couple more songs, Hapa Haole Girl and King Kamehameha. This was a special moment and we were so honored and touched to be in his presence and to enjoy this wonderful legend’s music once again.
As mentioned, Uncle Bill will be going to Japan for an upcoming tour. At his age they are very careful to make sure that he gets daily medical attention. Upon arriving in Japan, Uncle Bill will see a doctor who will measure all his vital signs and make sure he is in good health. He will continue to receive this medical attention before each performance while he is in Japan.
I think we can all take a lesson from Uncle Bill Tapia and the importance of loving what we do as a way of staying engaged in life. I truly believe that it’s his music and the love of all that is around him that keeps him going every day.