Howard A’i

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - April 18, 2008

The 411

Time, love and patience are the elements it took to create such an intimate album. As kumu hula Howard A’i of Halau Hula Olana further explains, “Each and every person, like the gracious mamo (a Hawaiian bird), contributed their talents, or golden feathers to our lei. We have created it together. Kaleihulumamo is lovingly dedicated to our parents, Bert and Angeline Sakuma, Henry A’i and Richard and Blossom Kaipo, who taught us the mele and hula of Hawaii nei and to love the Lord.”

The album, which has been a lifetime in the making, was inspired by A’i's children,Scott,Natalie (2006 Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner for Female Vocalist of the Year), Chad, Tai, Rhett, Shelsea, son-in-law Iolani Kamau’u and Ai’s wife and fellow kumu hula, Olana.

“With adoration for my wife, Olana, who is the love of my life and eternal companion who shares my hopes, desires and adventures, my very best friend, a cushion when things go wrong, a personal cheerleader who always believes in me, who turns my weaknesses into strengths, and who helped me make this dream a reality.”

A’i also credits his admiration for the many dancers of Halau Hula Olana, who, through their commitment and sacrifices, have inspired his heart to sing, and musical friends Myra English, Ethylene Teves, Ihilani Miller and Iwalani Kahalewai.

The album showcases 13 tracks: Kalalea/Anahola, Mokihana Lullabye, Hapa Ilikini, Honaunau Paka, Waiaka, Pua Lili Lehua, Mahukona Hula, Moonlight and Shadows, Halalu, Cowboy Hula, Lei Koele, Adios Kealoha and Ipo Lei Manu.

The Aiea-based hula halau took home three prestigious awards at this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival. The halau placed third for Wahine Kahiko, fourth for Wahine Auana and third for Wahine Overall. Established in 1975, the hula halau has grown to become one of the largest in Hawaii.


Tuning In

Since its inception in 1964, the Hawaii Youth Symphony has earned respect as one of the country’s finest and largest youth symphonies. At 4 p.m. Sunday (April 20), this talented group of young musicians will take the stage at Pearl City Cultural Center for the finale concert of its Spring Concert Series.

The concert will feature HYS’s 89-member Concert Orchestra and its 128-member String Program. The concert will include pieces such as Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony Finale and Highlights from Wicked. The Concert Orchestra is under the direction of conductor Susan Ochi-Onishi and associate conductor Hannah Watanabe. The String Program consists of four orchestras conducted by Charlotte Fukumoto, Helen Nguyen and Chad Uyehara.

Tickets for the concert cost $5; admission is free for students age 17 and younger. Tickets are available through the HYS office at 941-9706, or at the Pearl City Cultural Center box office after 3 p.m. the day of the concert.

HYS is Hawaii’s only statewide youth orchestra program and helps children ages 8 to 18 develop and showcase their musical skills. HYS operates three full symphonic orchestras, four string orchestras, a beginning winds program and a chamber music program during the academic year, serving more than 400 students from absolute beginners to the most-accomplished musicians. It also offers summer programs for an additional 200 students.

The Spring Concert Series features HYS’s seven orchestras, which include students from Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. The concerts, a key element to the program, include students from HYS’s beginning program through most advanced.

For more information about HYS, call 941-9706 or visit


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