The family That Plays Together

Kevin Chang (left) of the band Kupa’aina, his sister Elina and her husband Tyrone Wells take to the stage at Anna Bannana’s Dec. 27 for some rockin’ family harmony. It will be a family musical affair at Anna Bannana’s next Saturday when the Chang family of Kaneohe, along with a husband/brother-in-law, take the stage for a night of pop rock. The living room of the Changs’ Ahuimanu

Friday - December 19, 2008
By Alice Keesing
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Kevin, Elina and Tyrone rehearse in Kaneohe as the Wells’ pooch Pono relaxes

It will be a family musical affair at Anna Bannana’s next Saturday when the Chang family of Kaneohe, along with a husband/brother-in-law, take the stage for a night of pop rock

The living room of the Changs’ Ahuimanu Valley home is busting with music. Elina (Erin Chang) Wells is jamming with her brother Kevin Chang (of the local band Kupa’aina) and her husband Tyrone Wells, a Mainland pop-rock talent whose new album just debuted in the Top 10 on the iTunes rock album chart.

They are three very unique talents. Elina’s voice is pure and lingering; Tyrone’s got powerful rockin’ soul and Kevin ... well, “he’s got the voice of an angel,” Tyrone offers. Kevin looks somewhat doubtful. “How about I’ve got the voice of Fred Flintstone,” he suggests.


 

No question, the Chang family parties are all about the ‘awa bowl and the music outside in the garage. Lucky for everyone else, they’ll come together at Anna Bannana’s Dec. 27 for the second annual Chang family performance. With the ohana all together in Hawaii for the Christmas holidays, it just makes sense for them to do the show, they say.

“It’s something to do aside from the family concerts, which we’re kinda forced to do by our dad,” Elina says with a smile.“He is our biggest fan.”

“Yeah, he’s one of those obsessive, kind of persistent fans ...” Kevin chips in.

Chang we can believe in: (clockwise from left) Elina, Kevin, Kelly (a college professor in Oregon), Carol and Nelson

At which point, we should tell you that the Chang family has some MidWeek DNA. Mom, Carol, is the regional editor of our four Islander community newspapers. Dad - the biggest fan -is Nelson, a retired attorney.

Growing up, music was always part of the family circle - from grandpa, who loves to belt out the oldies, to Nelson and Carol playing everything from Broadway musicals to local artists - on the stereo. The kitchen pots and pans were often used as percussion instruments, and the grade-school years were full of home shows, often with Kevin directing a cast of puppets and his sisters, Erin and Kelly. And then there’s that home video of Erin (the professional name Elina came much later) sitting on the jungle gym singing her own composition (“I love meeee, I love meeeee ...”).


“You were the loudest one in the house,” Kevin tells his sister. She doesn’t argue.

The music started moving to a different level when Kevin went to college. With time on his hands, he picked up an ukulele and started to learn.

“I really started playing when I was at the University of Hawaii playing football,” he says. “All of the linemen were in the same dorm and wouldn’t sort of go to class - well, I’d go to class and

 

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