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Lahaina group’s mission is to inspire keiki through music

By Staff | Feb 2, 2017


LAHAINA – According to Ronda Colleen Pali of Maui Music Mission, music is an essential element of life. It is ingrained in every culture – “the tongue of angels.”

“We all need music to thrive. We feel the vibration of rhythm and tones and are affected by it physically, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally. There is nothing that can compare to the vast and glorious, life-giving experience that is music,” she noted.

This is why Maui Music Mission continues to offer low-cost, high-quality music lessons in Lahaina.

For the past two years, husband Reuben Pali has been leading keiki ukulele lessons for youth ages 6-12.

The “mission” really started forming in August 2015, when he opened up twice weekly classes at Na Aikane ‘O Maui directly across the street from King Kamehameha III Elementary School.


After hosting Spring Music Camp, and then a popular Free Spirit Music Camp last summer, the couple opened a full-time afterschool program.

Keiki receive opportunities to work with professional and classically trained musicians. They learn to sing and sample different instruments, such as violins, xylophones, piano keyboards, recorders, flutes, guitars and many types of drums.

Every member of the program receives twice weekly ukulele lessons with emphasis on Hawaiian-inspired music. They also get a chance to perform onstage twice monthly at The Outlets of Maui.

Recently, the Maui Chamber Orchestra sponsored MMM with a donation of new instruments. Along with these gifts, keiki enjoyed an enlightening excursion to the Iao Theater, where they watched the chamber’s full orchestra and chorus present their Christmas concert. They also performed for the audience in the mezzanine.

“Our program has grown so much, and so quickly, that it has been challenging just to keep up with the demand,” said Ronda. “Thankfully, our support team has grown as well.”

Pictured on their excursion to the Iao Theater are (from left): back row — Ronda Pali, Reuben Pali and Sawyer Zeches-Dunning; front row — Kieren Murphy, Makena Murphy, Ava Borg, Miranda Somers and Randal Bandman III.

Mark Valentine has joined MMM as administrative assistant. He is a former producer for “The Muppets” and other children’s television shows. Valentine is the “prize guy,” handling attendance, rewards and other transactions.

Currently, he is creating a promotional video for the group as a volunteer project.

Also on board is Preschool Teacher Liana Pagan. A full-time student at the University of Hawaii studying Early Child Development, she lends her expertise in the “Musical You” class for beginners.

“In this class, we learn about the language and application of musical concepts. We play alphabet and rhythm games on different instruments,” she explained.

Two new classes, Keiki Chorus and Symphony, are now accepting new members. Keiki learn to sing using their whole body. It’s a fun, funny and interactive class. “We’ve seen amazing changes in kids overcoming their shyness after being in this class,” Reuben explained.

Symphony includes Violin I and II in a weekly small group, with personal lessons available on viola, cello and flute.

Daily encouragement is as important as practice. Parents may participate in learning music with their child either as a classroom volunteer or by scheduling a personal lesson together.

Low-cost enrollment is a standard in keeping the doors open to everyone.

“The result that we are looking for is that many lives will be inspired with hope through music, because a dream fulfilled… is a tree of life,” Ronda said.

To enroll, e-mail MauiMusicMission@gmail.com or call (808) 463-7856.