Musical director Tryg Renaas prepares to lead the Monterey Ukelele Club in a practice leading up to the annual luau that shifts into February this year.

Musical director Tryg Renaas prepares to lead the Monterey Ukelele Club in a practice leading up to the annual luau that shifts into February this year.

VIDEO: Luau brightness bans February blahs

Annual Hawaiian Luau is at Monterey Centre Feb. 15



With shorter days and cooler temperatures, Monterey organizers expect a shift in its annual luau to lift spirits this gloomy winter.

Monterey Ukelele Club and a group of hula dancers from the centre will perform during Monterey’s annual Hawaiian Luau, about six months earlier this year.

“They’ve been historically doing it in August. It’s more of a winter thing I figure – bring some sunshine into the days,” said Tryg Renaas, music director for the ukelele club. “It makes much more sense.”

The club closes down from May through September, so members were essentially coming back – cold – to the biggest show of the year. Monterey hula dancers will also perform, and the uke club also has its own visual.

“We also have our own hula dancers too,” Renaas said. “It gives people something more than just music to listen to.”

The group boasts more than 60 members, with more than 25 expected for the luau performance.

“It’s our big show of the year,” Renaas said.

Throughout the year the club performs for seniors’ residences – both independent living and extended care.

“When we perform it’s not anything but to bring pleasure to people’s lives,” he said. “I particularly like to play to that audience. I’m a great believer in the therapeutic values of music.”

He was converted watching his mother face dementia. He would pull out the ukelele for her and watch her come alive.

“A fog lifted and she stated singing along,” Renaas said. She even corrected his lyrics in generations old songs.

Songs may spur some memories among the audience Feb. 15 at Monterey Recreation Centre. Renaas’ set list includes: Moonlight Swim (from the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii), Hawaiian War Chant (see video at OakBayNews.com), and Aloa Oe to wrap the show.

“Some of the other tunes are older tunes from maybe the ’30s,” he said.

The Hawaiian Luau is Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. with dinner featuring Hul Hul Moa with Mokulau’ai Laiki and Hal-Kahiki cake.

Tickets are $19 and $24.50 for non-members available at the recreation centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. or call 250-370-7300.

Did you know?

Monterey Recreation Centre offers courses for members and adult non-members. You do not have to be a member to participate in courses, but Monterey members get a deal on many event tickets and can join the more than 30 clubs available (some with additional fees). Annual membership, open to those aged 50 and better, is $43.