Christmas may still be a month away, but for the Kaleoaloha Keiki Choir, giving the gift of music happens year-round.
“Our mission is to engage children to enjoy the gift of music and to share their love of music with our kupuna, thereby bridging the gap between keiki and kupuna,” explains executive director Wallace Horibata. “In addition to teaching children the gift of music, we’re trying to help them understand how to be accountable for their actions, how to make small talk - especially with their elders and parents - and most important we teach them to make a difference in this world, it doesn’t matter how young they are, they can give back to their community through their music.”
Under the choral direction of Kaleo Agsalda and accompanied by pianist Sean Choo, boys and girls ages 6 through 16 perform a special Christmas concert series this holiday season at various venues all over the Island. It starts with the annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Event this Saturday (Nov. 29) at 1 p.m., at the Koko Marina Center Court. Other appearances include the Outrigger Reef Hotel Tree Lighting ceremony Dec. 1, 6 p.m.; Easter Seals Hawaii’s annual Gingerbread Festival Dec. 7, 10:30 a.m., at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; a performance at Kahala Mall Dec. 17, 7 p.m.; at the Ko Olina Marriott Dec. 20, 6 p.m., and two morning service performances at Hawaii Kai Church Dec. 21, at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. On Dec. 22, the choir goes caroling at the Moana Surfrider and Sheraton Waikiki.
“We’re very excited to be performing at several hotels and for the Hawaii Kai Chamber, however, it will not take away from our experiences that we have when we visit nursing homes, especially Kulana Malama,” Horibata says. Located in Ewa Beach, Kulana Malama is a nursing home for medically fragile children. Family friend Cathy Iwai introduced co-founders Horibata, wife Bonnie (pictured with Horibata above) and son Trevor-James to the facility shortly after the choir’s inception last October, and Horibata attests they have made a commitment to visit the keiki ever since.
“It’s amazing to watch the children perform there, and you might not think the residents are listening or understanding what’s going on because of their disabilities or health challenges, but you just know they are enjoying the performance. The children always shake their hands after the concerts, and the smile and hugs the residents give are truly ‘chicken-skin’ moments.”
Horibata says they are always recruiting new singers; for more information, call 779-1465 or visit www.kaleoalohachoir.org.
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