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Local band The Aloha Club to play at Mesa Verde Luminaria

Hawaiian-style band will perform at annual event
The Aloha Club

The Aloha Club plays to bring joy and sense of community to audiences.

The band will play a mix of Hawaiian and Christmas music at Mesa Verde National Park’s annual Luminaria Holiday Open House on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.

Mesa Verde will be lighting luminarias, also known as farolitos, around the headquarters loop of the park.

Other acts at the event will be the Red Sky Drum Group, Southwest Singers, David Nighteagle playing Native American flute and Yvonne Bilinki performing Native American storytelling, according to Janice Buckreus, supervisory park ranger.

The Aloha Club was founded in 2015, after Beth Wheeler purchased a ukulele and found people in the Cortez area who also play and enjoy the instrument.

The band consists of four members – Beth Wheeler, Herb Folsom, Tom Kochanski and Sandy Hoagland – and has played at Cortez and Mancos farmers markets, Dolores River Festival, Escalante Days in Dolores, street fairs in Mancos, and the WildEdge and Mancos breweries.

The Aloha Club plays a variety of music, from the Beatles to traditional Hawaiian music.

“It is a blend of island music and acoustic rock and roll,” Folsom said. “There are three ukuleles and a guitar, a flute and a cajón.”

The band evolved out of a passion for music, according to Folsom.

“I think we bring a lot of aloha to the music, which is kindness and sincerity,” Folsom said. “It is a lot of things that underly our music, I think, generosity all these things that the Hawaiian culture embodies.”

The inspiration for the band came from a love of Hawaiian culture.

Wheeler and Folsom have friends who live in Kauai, Hawaii, and Kochansky has lived in Hawaii himself.

According to Wheeler and Folsom, Hawaii “gets in your blood.”

“I think people like hearing the Hawaiian music,” Wheeler said. “It is different. It is more of a variety, and I think people are surprised to hear what ukuleles can do. We surprise them with the variety.”

The band’s name was inspired by the familial component of traditional Hawaiian music.

“One of the reasons we call it “The Aloha Club” is because people who are in the same room, listening to our music and dancing and singing with us, we are all members of The Aloha Club,” Wheeler said. “I feel like it is kind of a circle where the people who are enjoying it are The Aloha Club too.”

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