Carole Kai

Jo McGarry
Wednesday - December 13, 2006
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Carole Kai
Carole Kai

After many years, Carole Kai is still a strong presence in the entertainment world. These days, the longtime singer/dancer has hung up her microphone and put her dancing shoes away, trading them in for a chance at helping others to reach stardom.

Most recently, she’s lent a hand to her alma mater, McKinley High School.

Kai supported the benefit for the McKinley High Band on Saturday, Nov. 18. “A Tiger Roundup: A Musical Night to Remember” raised about $18,000 for the band program to buy new equipment and music. MHS band alumni gathered at the event to help raise the funds, as well as reminisce about their band days.

“At one time in the ‘50s and ‘60s the band was called the Starlighters, specializing in (playing) Glenn Miller-type stuff,” recalls Kai, a 1962 McKinley grad. “People remember how wonderful the band was in those days.

“I remember how wonderful the Starlights were then,” she adds, of her high school days.

The evening’s performers included Noel Okimoto, Ron Miyashiro, Terry Tom, The Royal Drifters, the Starlight Orchestra and others. Brandon Kahole was the night’s emcee.

The former MidWeek cover subject (February 1985 and January 1998) has also started the planning wheels turning on the 23rd annual Great Aloha Run, which she puts on via her Carole Kai Charities Inc. The run takes place on President’s Day 2007 ( Feb. 19).

“That’s my baby,” Kai says proudly. “It’s (the planning) going really well so far. We hope to at least get 6,000 people.”

Now in its 12th year, Kai also executive produces the Hawaii Stars singing contest television show.

“I’m basically still doing Hawaii Stars. It’s in its 12th year, before American Idol started.”

The Honolulu resident also “just made 62” years old. In their spare time, she and her husband, Eddie Onouye (pictured here), enjoy taking trips here and there.

“My husband and I love to travel. When you travel, you get a good perspective on life.”

The couple has no children, but are proud parents to their dog, Sebastian, a white Bichon Frise who’s 11 years old. Onouye and other co-founders Rona Yim and Paula Chong started the Body Mint company, which also makes Smell Goodies products for pets.

“We just ran an ad on Smell Goodies. I got my dog Smell Goodies so his breath doesn’t stink,“she laughs.

- Kerry Miller

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