Current Apprentices

GEORGE BOBIAS

george compositeGeorge is a Santa Clara native who graduated from Adrian C. Wilcox High School. He earned his BS in nuclear chemistry from San Jose State and did some graduate studies at U.C. San Diego.  He currently works with The Kanavel Group as Chief Technology Officer. George’s introduction into Polynesian Arts evolved from being a roadie – setting up audio and video equipment while accompanying his wife’s hula group to performances.  His interest grew as he learned to drum on the to’ere, hula dance and play the ukulele   before he joined the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes. His hobbies include fishing for smelt with Hawaiian cast/throw nets, cooking, camping, travel, exploring beaches and spending time with his family. 

JEANETTE CORDERO

Jeanette CoderoJeanette is a San Francisco Bay Area native. She is part of a wonderful large and close knit extended family. She is a long time government employee and a part time bartender. She graduated from SFSU with a B.S. in accounting and minor in photography. From grade school thru high school she studied piano, violin and cello. She also studied Filipino dance and Hula (Beamer method). Jeanette grew up listening to Hawaiian music that her father played on an old record player. Knowing that she has always loved ukulele music, her husband gave her an ukulele one Christmas which lead her to Kapalakiko classes and to her apprenticeship. She is amazed and grateful to be in the presence of a wonderful family of musicians. She and her husband, Ron, live in San Francisco. She has two daughters, Angela and Desiree. Ron has a daughter, Heather, a son, Ryan, and grandson, Nicholas.

FRED FLORESCA

Born and raised on the island of San Jose, CA, the legacy of my family stems from the Philippines and Hawaii.   As a result, much of my heritage comes from Hawaii, the Garden Island of Kauai to be more precise.  My love of Hawaiian music stems from my family.  My parents would tune into Hawaii Calls on Saturday evenings just to help feel like they are back home.  One of my uncles played the ukulele and was very passionate about playing and collecting ukuleles.  More recently, the opportunity to learn from uncle Saichi Kawahara made a dream come true for me.  I began to learn Hawaiian music that I enjoy so much listening to, it’s meaning, and the culture it perpetuates.  Most of all, it brought my wife and I back into the Hawaiian community which brought us many new friends which have become our extended ohana.  When I’m not playing, or learning music, I spend my days working as an engineer.  I am also a photographer who loves to capture landscapes, portraits, or anything that appeals to me.  My music and photography brings balance to my passion for technology.

LEILANI FOX

Born in Paia, Maui and raised on Oahu.  I graduated from University of Hawaii with a BFA in painting and drawing, and an MFA in printmaking.  Secondary Professional Diploma in Art from School of Education, and Student Teaching at Waipahu High.  Hawaiian music has always been a part of my life.  On Oahu, I took hula lessons from Aunty Rose Joshua, Maiki Aiu, and John Piilani Watkins.  Moved to New York, where I joined Johnny Pineapple’s South Pacific Revue as a hula dancer and performed in interesting places such as: Thule and Sonderstrom, Greenland, Guantanomo Bay, Cuba and GooseBay,  Labrador in Canada. With no formal music education, I purchased my first ukulele and challenged myself to learn something about this instrument. On Oahu, I enrolled in classes from Roy Sakuma and Alan Akaka.  In California, joined The Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band in Berkeley at the Temple Bar under Uncle Kem Loong, trained in voice lessons specializing in Hawaiian songs from Ka’ala Carmack.  Also took ukulele lessons from Don Sadler at JCCCNC.   It is when I joined Patrick Makuakane’s Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, that I heard of Uncle Saichi’s classes.  I was very fortunate that Uncle accepted me as a student.  The rest is history. 

ALLAN GOODMAN

allan goodmanBorn in Los Angeles, Guitarist Allen Goodman graduated in 1959 from University High School in west Los Angeles. He has studied kī hōalu with Patrick Kamakahi and Cyril Pahinui. To broaden his scope of performing Hawaiian music Allen joined the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Currently residing in Mill Valley, Allen is a retired paramedic from the San Francisco Fire Department. Married to Sandra Hoben, they a one son, Roger

 

 

LORRETTA HOFFMAN

Loretta HoffmanNative San Franciscan, born, raised and attended schools in San Francisco, Calif. My introduction to music began at an early age. Music always filled our home. Piano, violin, guitar and voice were all part of my music experience, including the SF Youth Symphony and St. Michael’s folk choir in San Francisco. In 2005 I joined hālau Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu and began hula instruction and the study of Hawaiian culture with Kumu Patrick Makuakāne. The ukulele has always been part of the hula journey. In 2009 I was able to enroll in ukulele instruction with Kaʻala Carmack. I was looking forward to enrolling in the KHB method when the class finally became available to me in 2012. I owe this musical adventure to my Mom who was born in Mexico and an avid Hawaiian music and dance enthusiast. She would have loved this journey. I am currently employed as a Finance Manager with Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, Ca. as well as overseeing accounting functions for Lana’i Animal Rescue, a small cat sanctuary in Lana’i, Hawai’i. I live in South San Francisco with daughters Jennifer & Kristy and Mandy our border collie rescue.

LEAHI ENOS KAULIA

leahi kauliaLeahi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California with strong family ties to Waikapu, Maui.  Leahi graduated from Loyola Marymount University and received an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.  After traveling and living in Australia for several years she returned to California and settled in the SF Bay Area.  Post graduate school she spent several years working as a Corporate Strategy Consultant and Director of Strategic Initiatives at E*TRADE Financial. Childhood memories of times spent with her extended ʻohana where her father, uncles and aunties would gather around and play their ʻukuleles and guitars and sing until the wee hours of the night brought about a longing to learn more about, and connecting with, her Hawaiian heritage and culture.  This lead to her to study Hula with Kumu Renee Kuʻuleinani Price until her beloved Kumu retired in 2005.  While studying hula, her interest in Hawaiian mele deepened.  She also discovered that she comes from a long line of musicians and entertainers and finally picked up the ʻukulele given to her by her ʻohana to take lessons in the Kapalakiko ʻUkulele System and was honored to join the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band and ʻohana as an apprentice.  She currently studies hula with Kumu Patrick Makuakāne and Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu in San Francisco, is married and has a son.

RALPH LOEN

ralph loenRalph Loen is a native of Hastings, Michigan where he graduated from Loy Norrix Hight School in 1972 and was a member of the church choir, in the early 2000’s. Ralph and his wire Char enrolled in San Francisco’s Kaleo Cofe fee ʻukulele classes honing their skills there for two years. The couple moved over to Hollis Baker’s Kaleponi Strings for five years and then enrolled in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes, which led to Ralph’s improvement in his vocal performances. Because of this he was asked to join the choir at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco with who he still performs. His rise in the Kapalakiko system led to his apprenticeship with the KHB. Having graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Ralph is employed as a Senior Software Engineer. He is married to Charlene Wong and they have two sons by Char’s previous marriage, Keith & Patrick Wong.

GARY MATSUMURA

Gary is a San Jose native who first became interested in the ukulele and Hawaiian music from his wife Gail originally from Honolulu. Holiday parties with Aunties and Uncles in Hawaii were always a kanikapila. Thanks to Smiley and Janet Kai of Ukulele Source in Japantown San Jose, the ukulele community has flourished and Gary has had the fortune to attend workshops by many of the Ukulele greats such as Daniel Ho, Jason Arimoto, Herb Ohta Jr, Bryan Tolentino, Kimo Hussey and Aldrine Guerrero. Through the welcoming members of the Wesley Methodist ukulele band, Gary discovered the joy of performing for others. But, it was Uncle Saichi’s Kapalakiko Hawaiian music workshops and the connection to the hula community that brought the music, Hawaiian culture, and aloha spirit all together for him. Gary works at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as an IT systems developer but knows what he wants his next full time gig to be.

JAY PAGADUAN

jay pagaduan Jay was born in Davao City, Philippines and moved to San Francisco in 1987 with my parents and sister. He graduated from Balboa High School and SFSU with a BS in Management. He works at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco as part of Management working in the Business side of the Hospital.  His interest in music started at a very young age. His Parents, Uncles, Aunties, and cousins were singing and or playing some kind of musical instruments and of course singing along the good ole’ Karaoke. He played the piano for a couple of years; but he always wanted to play the guitar and the ukulele. He started listening to Hawaiian and Polynesian music because he was surrounded by many talented Polynesian friends in high school and college. He enjoys Hawaiian music both modern and old songs and his ipod is a mix of Tahitian, Fijian, Samoan and Tongan music beats. He found his calling to play the ukulele under the tutelage of Uncle Saichi. The knowledge and skills of the Ukulele and Hawaiian Language taught in class has made a great impact in his life.

JAKE SHIMADA (Junior Apprentice)

jake shimada Jake was born in Mt. View, California and lives in Milpitas where he attends school.  At the age of 6 he took his first ʻukulele lessons from Rodney Takahashi of Ukulele Jams. With the support of his father, Scott who grew up in Makiki Hawaiʻi and mother, Rowena born in Manila, Philippines, Jake’s passion for learning Hawaiian music and culture was sparked when they enrolled him in the Kapalakiko ʻukulele classes. Soon after starting class, Uncle Saichi Kawahara took him under his wing and invited him to be a junior apprentice with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band. Jake has two older brothers, Kyle and Derrick who live in Seattle Washington.  He loves ice hockey, swimming, and playing ukulele. Some favorite Hawaiian foods are Kalua pig omelets, Loco Moco, malasadas, spam musubi, saimin, and shave ice.

TINA TANAKA URATA

tina urataTina was born and raised in South Pasadena, California where she doodled on the piano and guitar at home, played percussion for the high school band and, sang in the choir. She graduated from South Pasadena High School. At Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, she earned a BA in Japanese Studies. Then she journeyed to Japan to study linguistics and that is where she met her husband, Susumu Urata. They have three boys, Richard, Stephen and Andrew.  Several generations earlier, Tina’s great granduncle, grandfather, and grandmother lived and worked in Wailuku, Maui at the turn of the century. Her great granduncle founded ‘Iao Congregational Church and her grandfather opened a photo studio on Main St., Wailuku in 1905. Decades later when her sons started to go camping with the Boy Scouts in the Bay area, she dusted off her guitar. Not long after that, San Joseʻs Wesley Methodist Church started an ‘ukulele band and she picked up the ʻukulele and started strumming. Wanting to understand more about Hawaiian music and culture, Tina also joined Hālau Hula Nā Wai ‘Ola where she was given the name “Hiʻilani” (“Held in the arms of Heaven”) and began taking ‘ukulele classes. This, in turn, led to an apprenticeship with the Kapalakiko Hawaiian Band.