HMA, Pianists And Goo Goo Dolls

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - January 26, 2011
| Del.icio.us
Joanna Fan and Kai Wong

No vote, no grumble, right?

Get your favorite musician and CD a spot in the winner’s circle at the 15th annual Hawaii Music Awards by casting your vote.

Also known as the People’s Choice Awards, the deadline to vote is Jan. 31. This year, 87 nominees compete in 31 award categories including reggae, hip-hop, jazz and classical, to name a few.

“We have noticed a drop in recent years of the number of entries, caused, in my opinion, by the availability and ease of downloading for the masses, which has led to a noticeable drop in sales at the store level,” says Johnny Kai, HMA’s founder and executive producer/director. “So, this year Hawaii Music Awards has become a musicians award instead of just CD-only nominees. We are now open to musicians who record for digital downloading on accepted online outlets.”


Voting is done online at thehawaiimusicawards.com. Only one voting ballot will be accepted per e-mail address. In previous years there had been as many as 3 million hits, and more than 95,000 actual votes from more than 125 countries in the two-week window to vote.

“Everything with voting is the same,” says Kai. “We are seeing a higher average across the board from the social networking sites most of the musicians are part of today.”

The winners will be recognized at the annual winners banquet scheduled for April 9 or 10. The location hasn’t yet been determined.

“The awards show will have a slight change in the format this year because of the direction of Danny Fonseca, a new addition to our crew who is formerly of Mass Appeal,” adds Kai. “So we may see a more local island music feel to it as we both see an MTV-style approach to the program. Next year Danny will have more time to implement his ideas and connections to the program, and we will see a bigger move in achieving the overall look of a People’s Choice Awards.”

In addition to Fonseca joining the HMA staff, Kai has been working on training the Brown Bags crew including Tesia Worley, a 2010 graduate of Kamehameha Schools, and Mikey Monis, a 2010 graduate of Waianae High School.

“We are also training a new camera crew starting with Josh Fonseca, and there will be others included in our mission to be an educational program for young people seeking a future in this field,” says Kai ...

Goo Goo Dolls

A young musician doing his state proud is Kai Wong, an eighth-grade student at Punahou School who recently won the Junior High School Piano Competition at the Southwest Division Competitions.

“I don’t get nervous about competitions because I don’t care about winning, and I also don’t care if I lose,” says Wong, who celebrated his 14th birthday Jan. 24. “I do this for fun.”

Held at the University of California in Santa Barbara earlier this month, Wong’s win earned him a spot at the national competition at the Music Teachers National Association national conference in Wisconsin in March, where he will compete against the six other division winners.

“This is my first very big competition,” adds Wong. “I am practicing a lot, but I can’t practice on the week-days because I’m doing homework and I’m too busy.”

Wong has been playing the piano since the age of 5 and is a student of Joanna Fan.

“Without my piano teacher I wouldn’t be playing as good as I am right now,” he says.


Others from Hawaii who did well by placing second in the Southwest Division Competitions are the UH Manoa Piano Trio (Ryoko Fujie, James Gochenouer, Mai Kawahara), Riana Anthony and Tyler Ramos.

In the event that the first-place winners are not able to play at the national competitions, the second-place winners will serve as alternates ...

The Pro Bowl kicks off Sunday (Jan. 30) at Aloha Stadium with a special opening ceremony featuring a live performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Band members John Rzeznik, Robby Takac and Mike Malinin are looking forward to the Hawaii trip, as it has been about three years since they’ve performed in the Islands.

“Before that, aside from vacations, we played a New Year’s Eve show at Hard Rock, which was probably about 10 years ago, and I was supposed to be there overnight and I ended up staying for about a month,” says Takac. “I was having so much fun. I really love Hawaii.”

Unfortunately, this trip will only be a 24-hour stay because the guys have an upcoming Canada tour for which they are scheduled to begin rehearsing in L.A.

For their Pro Bowl performance, the Goo Goo Dolls will do a medley of two of their hit songs, Not Broken, from their recently released album Something For The Rest Of Us, and Stay With You, from their 2006 release Let Love In.

The Goo Goo Dolls have been creating hits since 1986, and Something For The Rest Of Us debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

 

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