Stars Align At The Royal And For Tario

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - April 28, 2010
Kamakahi will be honored at this weekend’s Lei of Stars May Day celebration

Founded in May 1994 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote, preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian music, the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and Museum has continued to celebrate the achievements of significant composers, musicians and contributors to Hawaiian music.

This Saturday the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame presents its annual Lei of Stars honoring individuals or groups who have played a significant role in perpetuating Hawaiian music in song and dance (mele and hula).

The inductees are Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, Kuiokalani Lee, The Hui Ohana (Ledward Kaapana, Nedward Kaapana and Dennis Pavao), Thomas Sylvester Kalama and Maiki Aiu Lake.

“It’s quite an honor, and it was totally unexpected when they contacted me,” says Kamakahi. “I had to pinch myself couple times. I’m in a good class of inductees; it’s good to go with people that you know.”

Kamakahi also will take the stage as one of the event’s featured performers. Also making appearances are Nedward Kaapana, Nina Keali’iwahamana, Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake Ohana, and Kenneth Makuakane and Kumu Hula O’Brien Eselu with Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki.

T.J. Tario at Juilliard School of Music in New York

The May Day celebration happens at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s Monarch Room from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are still available. Cost is $75 adults and $50 for children 12 and younger. For tickets and more information, call 226-0600 or 372-8921.

“Last year I received the Na Hoku Lifetime Achievement award, so getting a phone call to the Hall of Fame makes me feel like I’m kinda old,” says Kamakahi. “I’ve been in the business for 43 years and I’d like to go at least seven more. Ledward and I started the same time, so we’re planning on a 50-year celebration. That’s what we’re looking forward to.” ...

Kamehameha Schools 10th-grader and award-winning pianist T.J. Keanu Tario has been accepted into Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Tario, winner of last year’s Aloha International Piano Competition, will pack up his things over the summer to further his studies in Juilliard’s Pre-College Division.

“After I came home from my trip, I was completely exhausted because all I did for the weeks prior was practice, eat and sleep,” says the 16-year-old. “Getting ready for these auditions was very stressful and very straining. So it was nice once I came home and everything was done and I wasn’t under the clock anymore. From there it was just waiting for a call, and I was so nervous. I was so excited when I found out.”

Tario will begin his pre-college course this fall, and he says Mom is already looking for a place to live.

“When I was really young I knew Juilliard was the top school for music, and that was always my goal to one day go there,” says Tario. “But I also really want to graduate from Kamehameha because it’s also such an honor to go to this school, so I’m trying to see if there’s any way I can still continue my studies and graduate.”

A former student of the late Ellen Masaki, Tario started playing piano at the age of 5. Tario won the Honolulu Symphony Youth Concerto Competition in 2002 and 2005, playing with the symphony at the ages of 8 and 10. He won the Mozart Competition in 2006 and 2007 (Intermediate Division). And at Kamehameha Schools he received the Lila Bruer Orchestra Award.

“When I won my first competition at 7 to play with the Honolulu Symphony, it was then that I really knew that I loved playing piano and it just took off from there,” says Tario, who practices about three hours on weekdays and six hours on weekends. “I plan to be a concert pianist, and maybe also a composer and conductor as well.” ...

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