Local Music Talent Lands Debut Award

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - April 02, 2008
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Aiea High School grad Shawna Masuda has been awarded the Diamond Head International Music Festival & Conference’s first-ever scholarship. The 21-year-old multi-talent received $2,500, which she plans to use to continue her musical theater studies, pursue recording a CD of original music and produce a showcase to demonstrate the depth of her performing abilities.

Ron Gibson, president of the nonprofit Diamond Head International Music Festival & Conference, established the scholarship program to support aspiring young talent from Hawaii and to help further their studies and careers.

“Shawna Masuda is an outstanding example of someone with born talent and professional aspirations,” he said. Gibson added that Masuda’s abilities as a piano player (she has studied the instrument for 10 years) and music writer also contributed to her being named the winner.

Masuda just wrapped a role as Amneris in Army Community Theatre’s production of Aida. She has also performed in ACT’s Miss Saigon, CATS, Grease and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; at Diamond Head Theatre in the musicals Thoroughly Modern Millie and Beauty and the Beast; at the Blaisdell Concert Hall as a special guest of Jim Brickman; and at various charity benefits and cabarets with pianist Kit Samson. She is currently completing her degree in cosmetology at Honolulu Community College.

Gibson drew inspiration for the scholarship from Gov. Linda Lingle’s 2007 State of the State address, during which she laid out the foundation for the MELE Program in order to encourage the local recording industry and talent.

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