Choir Auditions And Maisey Rika
Friday - March 02, 2011
“Entertaining Hawaii and the world since 1974,” the Honolulu Boy Choir is known for its musical excellence, unvarying professionalism and u’i keikikane (handsome boys).
As the only boy choir west of the Rocky Mountains, what also makes the Honolulu Boy Choir unique is it’s a tuition-free musical and educational program for boys of all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The choir is currently holding open auditions for boys ages 7 to 12. No prior musical experience is required, just a desire to sing. Auditions are by appointment only by calling 596-SING (7464).
“We have auditions about once a year, and the audition process itself is short and sweet,” says executive director Blake M. Nuibe. “It takes about 10-15 minutes. The first part is a quick interview. We then go on the piano to see if they have the ability to match pitch, so we take them up and down the scale, and then we do a short rhythm test. And then we ask the boys to sing a song of their choice.”
The choir performs throughout the year in Hawaii and around the world. The boys are led by choral director Kaimi Pelekai, accompanist Linda Asahina and kumu hula Jarett Souza.
As a nonprofit organization, the choir supports its activities through generous donations and honorariums from its performances. The choir has a longstanding reputation for musical excellence and fostering positive character development in the thousands of young men it has served throughout the years.
“I always say that the greatest benefit is musical education, but we discovered a long time ago that character development is a side benefit,” says Nuibe. “We push the boys for academic achievement.”
Rehearsals are two times a week - Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Central Union Church.
“Our numbers fluctuate, but last year we had about 49 boys, and this year we started the season with 32 boys,” adds Nuibe. “I’m shooting to bring that back up to 50. This gives us a better balance because we shoot for two-thirds soprano and one-third alto.”
As choir members, the boys learn to sing on pitch and in rhythm with appropriate timbre, diction, dynamics articulation and posture. They also learn to sing with expression and present themselves with poise, good grooming and confidence.
“This is not an elementary school presentation,” adds Nuibe. “We are a performing choir and there is a level of expectation. And it’s really a commitment not only from the boys, but also their parents.”
For more information about the Honolulu Boy Choir, visit honoluluboychoir.org ...
Unless you’re planning to visit New Zealand soon, don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear Maisey Rika, one of New Zealand’s most impressive vocalists.
The Maori singer and songwriter makes her Hawaii debut with a tour. It begins Thursday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Hawaii Public Radio’s Atherton Theater, followed by a performance at The Venue Saturday, March 12, also at 7:30 pm. From there, Rika will tour Hawaii Island and Maui.
“This is my first time visiting Hawaii or the United States, for that matter,” says Rika. “You know, the things I love most to do is spend time with family and having the opportunity to sing my songs to people who want to listen - and I will be doing both of those on this tour. I will be accompanied on tour by my husband (manager), our son, and my brother JJ, who is my guitarist, so I am humbled by the fact that I can travel the world and take my loved ones with me.”
For those who measure success in awards, Rika’s second solo album Tohu won four out of four nominated categories at the 2010 Waiata Maori Music Awards including Best Maori Female Solo Artist Award - which she won in 2009 as well - Best Maori Pop Album, Best Maori Song and Best Maori Songwriter of the Year.
Her first recordings on E Hine, a classic collection of Maori traditional songs, went double platinum and won Best Maori Language Album at the New Zealand Music Awards.
Rika fuses English and Maori (Te Reo) lyrics, and her songs are universal with themes of hardship, happiness, love and justice. And her voice and sound transcend cultures and ages.
My daughter, who turned 8 years old yesterday (Happy Birthday Taylor!), requested that I add Rika’s songs to her iPod when she heard me listening to them as I browsed Rika’s website (maiseyrika.com).
Her tantalizing sound is just the surface of what makes Rika’s music so powerful. Through her music, she shares her soul and speaks out on serious issues such as domestic violence and Maori displacement.
Rika has been named an ambassador for the new initiative FebFast, which raises funds and awareness for New Zealand organizations that address drug and alcohol issues in young people. During the month of February, FebFast challenged New Zealanders to forgo their alcohol consumption.
“These issues are so important to me because many of the at-risk youths are my own people, Maori and Pacific Islanders,” says Rika. “These are some of the messages that I write and sing about in my songs. I have family and friends who have lost their way because of alcohol and drugs, and it doesn’t affect just them - everyone feels it. Those are the reasons why I do FebFast. If I can help in some way or another, then I will.”
Joining Rika on her Hawaii tour is Grammy Award-winner George Kahumoku Jr. Kahumoku, who is well-known for his slack key workshops and shows on Maui, is delighted to introduce “our Maori sister” to Hawaii.
Tickets for the March 3 show cost $25 general admission, $20 for HPR members and $15 for full-time students. For tickets, call 955-8821. Tickets for the March 12 show cost $15 advance and $20 at the door. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com.
“Concertgoers can also expect to get a taste of some Te Reo Maori - my native language back here in Aotearoa,” she adds. “Many of my own songs are bilingual with Maori and English lyrics. Every song I write has a purpose, meaning and message - so people will be able to relate to the songs I write and sing.”
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