PHOENIX (April 23, 2014) − The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix will kick off the summer with “Experience Polynesia,” a two-day celebration of Pacific Island culture, with music, dance and cuisine on May 31 and June 1.
“Experience Polynesia” is one of a series of cultural celebrations in MIM’s “Unity Through Diversity” partnership with Phoenix-based PetSmart®. The initiative brings the largest specialty pet retailer and the world’s only global musical instrument museum together to highlight musical traditions that celebrate cultural diversity while reinforcing music as a unifying element of humanity around the world.
Master hula teacher Kehau Chrisman of Halau Hula Napuaokalei’ilima will be joined by her dancers as they perform traditional and modern hula dances that tell stories of chiefs, deities and famous Hawaiian places. Local dance group Na Leo Kupono will also present Samoan, Tahitian and Tongan dances on both days.
Guests will be able to join Hawaiian cultural expert B. Ka’imiloa Chrisman for a look at the wide variety of instruments originating from Hawaii, as well as demonstrations of how Hawaiian drums and joined-gourd instruments are made. Flagstaff-based Patrick Inouye and Paul Taylor of Volcano Ukuleles will showcase their custom-made ukuleles and demonstrate how they are made and basic playing techniques.
Later in the day, the Sandwich Isle Ukulele Band will bring Hawaiian island music to life with a bring-your-own-ukulele jam session. Guests bringing their own ukuleles must have them checked at a dedicated station before entering the galleries, and for the safety of the instruments, ukuleles should be brought to the museum inside their cases.
“The goal of this program is for MIM to be a platform for local Polynesian communities to share their culture with the rest the Valley,” said Celina Chiarello, public programs manager at MIM. “Music from Hawaii, Samoa and Tahiti isn’t hidden away across the Pacific Ocean—it’s right here in our backyard.”
Guests will also be able to craft colorful ‘uli’uli rattles used in Hawaiian dance, as well as enjoy a special tour and discussion of MIM’s Oceania Gallery conducted by MIM curator Colin Pearson.
Face painting and MIM’s custom photo booth, complete with costumes and props, will add to the family fun.
MIM’s award-winning Café Allegro will offer a specially designed menu of Polynesian cuisines available for purchase, including Tahitian fish soup, Hawaiian-seasoned roast pig, Polynesian-style shoyu chicken and Polynesian banana bread pudding. The Museum Store will feature CDs, books and instruments related to the music of Hawaii, including ukuleles and nose flutes, available for purchase.
“Experience Polynesia” performances and activities are included with paid museum admission. Admission is free for Circle of Friends donors.
General Admission: $18
Teens (ages 13‒19): $14
Children (ages 4‒12): $10
Children 3 and under: Free
“Experience Polynesia” Museum Hours
Saturday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Musical Instrument Museum is located at 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard in Phoenix (corner of Tatum and Mayo Boulevards, just south of Loop 101). For general museum information and a full schedule of events, or to learn about our Circle of Friends program, visit MIM.org or call 480.478.6000.
The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) enriches the world by collecting, preserving and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world. We offer our guests a welcoming and fun experience, incomparable interactive technology, dynamic programming and exceptional musical performances. MIM also fosters appreciation of diverse cultures around the globe by showing that we all innovate, adapt and learn from each other to create music—the language of the soul.
Erin Miller, Media Relations Manager, MIM