MELE, Ho‘opi‘i Ohana And K&C

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - November 03, 2010
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MELE audio engineering instructor John Vierra and UH Manoa School of music visiting professor Amy Stillman

This Friday, Honolulu Community College’s Music and Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) program celebrates the unveiling of a state-ofthe-art professional recording studio.

“The studio has the latest equipment and is primarily the keystone for our audio engineering majors,” says Eric Lagrimas, instructor of music business. “The studio will be primarily for MELE students, but hopefully around spring we will be able to open it up for commercial use.”

In recognition of a substantial $250,000 donation from philanthropist and music mogul Mike Curb and the Mike Curb Family Foundation, the new 21st century learning facility is named the Mike Curb Music and Entertainment Learning Experience Studios.

The public is invited to attend the unveiling, which begins at 3 p.m. with a sign dedication ceremony with Curb, followed by a hosted reception with tours conducted by MELE program students.

“We had a smaller setup before, which was more like a home studio, but not a large format with a tracking room, isolation room and such - so, nothing like this,” says Lagrimas. “The studio is located right next to our existing classroom, and the studio actually was a computer networking room. It was basically gutted and built within the existing space.”


The MELE program opened in fall 2007 and is the only one in the state that offers Associate of Science degrees in music business or audio engineering. Its mission is to serve the community as the premier comprehensive program that fosters and promotes music industry professions from technical production and songwriting to artist management and music publishing. To date, more than 300 students have enrolled, and in spring 2011 the first associate degrees will be awarded. For more about the new studio or the program, visit honolulu.hawaii.edu/mele ...

(from left) Eric Keawe and the Ho’opi’i Ohana: Lopaka and Robert Ho’opi’i, Leila Moa, and Taylor and Kauhi Ho’opi’i

Ka Himeni Ana, presented by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, also was founded to foster music here in Hawaii. The amateur competition focuses on nahenahe style (group vocal harmonies supported by unamplified acoustic instruments).

Held in September at Hawaii Theatre, this year’s winners are the Ho’opi’i Ohana, comprised of siblings Lopaka, Taylor and Kauhi Ho’opi’i, Leila Moa (Ho’opi’i) and their dad Robert Ho’opi’i. Other siblings, who I’m told are equally talented but were unable to make the competition from their Mainland homes, are Luana Taukinukufili (Ho’opi’i) and Kaiana Ho’opi’i .

“We’ve been singing for all our lives and performing at family parties and luaus, but we’ve never entered a competition,” says Leila. “How this whole thing came about is we were performing recently at my son’s graduation party, and my dad felt that the music was beautiful, and that now was the time to pull his children together and do something other than play for family and friends - to share what we do as a family.”

As children growing up in Kalihi, Leila remembers that singing in this type of kanikapila style was so natural. Each child was given their parts by their mother Elizabeth, and Dad supplied his repertoire of music.

“My dad has six or seven songs that we’ve been singing forever,” adds Leila. “Of these songs, we picked two for the competition, Akaka Falls and Hula o Makee.”

The talented ohana took home the $1,200 prize, and has plans to possibly make an album someday as a keepsake that captures their dad’s voice and style.

“We did this performance for our dad and as a tribute to our mom, who passed away a few years ago,” adds Leila ...

Carmen and Keith Haugen

Local entertainers Keith and Carmen Haugen moved to Honolulu from Maui almost 40 years ago, and since have been sharing their music to support dozens of charities and fundraisers.

K&C will perform Saturday at 7 p.m. at the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii’s Music with a Message in Mission Memorial Auditorium on the grounds of Honolulu Hale. The Haugens and friends will perform two hours of Keith’s compositions, some dating back to 1962.

“This is a very special concert because we will perform only songs that I’ve written,” says Keith. “I did that once before as a music scholarship fundraiser for Kilohana Church, and it was both successful and personally rewarding. Although we usually do all-Hawaiian performances, it will be fun to do a concert that includes Hawaiian, Christmas, patriotic, country, ballads, love songs, name and place songs, a children’s song, a lullaby, a hymn and some songs that have won awards.”

Adding to the performance, Carmen will sign to the song We Still Care, just as she did when K&C performed it on Christmas Day 1991 for the Aloha Bowl half-time show. Slides and pictures that relate to the songs also will be shown to add another dimension to the concert.


“We’ll be joined by pakini master Frank Uehara, Ron The Piano ManMiyashiro, our son Stanton, our grandson Whitney, and Don GeezerHumphrey,” adds Keith. “Having our son and a grandson perform with us is very special, since both are professional musicians but have never performed with us before.”

The performance is free and open to the public. For more on K&C, check out hawaiiansong.com ...

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