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Deja Vu in Paradise

On Wednesday, February 20, 2002, downtown Honolulu will witness a celebration more reminiscent of a Romanesque fete in a small European village. In fact, it's a musical theater gathering that dates back to the Hawaiian monarchy, brought to life again for the 7th consecutive year.

This is the night a sizable crowd of both visitors and local residents dressed in their finest mu`umu`us and Aloha shirts will line the sidewalk in front of the historic Hawai`i Theatre Center on Bethel Street, and the Chinatown park adjacent to it, their tickets handy, waiting to be let in to the annual Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame concert, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. The scene will be filled with the fragrance of flower leis worn by those in line. Some will even have bags of leis to present to the performers. Many will be deep in talk story. This is the night that the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame will introduce to the public the music of it newly inducted honorees.

In 2002, the celebration of "cherished ones" (E hi`ipoi `ia ) will be for slack key artist, the late Gabby Pahinui, and renowned Hawaiian singer, composer and orchestra leader of the 1930s and '40's, Ray Kinney, who gained national recognition during his years at the Hawaiian Room of the Hotel Lexington in New York City.

In addition to the Kahauanu Lake Singers and a stellar cast of vocalists and dancers who perform each year, Gabby's equally famous sons along with Peter Moon, will play the best known of their father's slack key stylings, in honor of him. At intermission, an elegant koa framed exhibit in the Hawai`i Theater's 2nd floor Reception area will bring Gabby and Ray Kinney to life in rare photographs and written biography. The exhibit will then join four others depicting the first twenty-two honorees in the Hall of Fame's present viewing location, Kawaiaha`o Church at Punchbowl and King Streets in downtown Honolulu.

Visitors to Hawai`i who attend the 6:30 p.m.concert can expect to find a visible force of uniformed police to control traffic, protect the arriving concert goers, and watch many of the kama`aina spend the next pre-concert hour greeting and often hugging other ticket holders up and down the line and throughout the lobby like family members, which many of them surely are. Many of the shiny pre-teen girls, huddled in chatty groups, with gleaming black hair hanging almost to their waists, are hula students of one of the evening's performing groups.

When the theater doors open, the audience will stream to their reserved seats to enjoy the next one and a half hours steeped in memories of the Hawai`i's traditional music inside the beautifully restored 100+ year old theater.

Hall of Fame concerts always begin with a prayer (pule). This night, it will be the Queen's prayer, sung by well-known and loved vocalists Nina Keali`iwahamana (whose mother is in the Hall of Fame); Mahiai Beamer (whose famous composer mother, Helen Desha Beamer is a Hall of Fame honoree); Iwalani Kahalewai (once a member of the "Hawai`i Calls" radio show entourage); and Gary Aiko (son of Genoa Keawe, a Hall of Fame honoree who was honored with the nation's highest honor in folk and traditional arts, the National Heritage Fellowship, presented in a Washington D. C. ceremony by the National Endowment for the Arts).

Hawaiian songs dating back 100 years to the Royal patrons, King David Kalakaua, Prince William Leleiohoku, Queen Lili`uokalani and her sister Miriam Likelike, bring out all ages of Hawaiian families from Seniors to grandchildren - sometimes even great-grandchildren. Some of the elders may still be singing the Hawaiian songs and dancing the hulas that they did professionally with such Hall of Fame Honorees as John K. Almeida and "Hawai`i Calls" entertainers Alfred Apaka and Haunani Kahalewai. As always, the concert will conclude with Hawai`i's State anthem "Hawai`i Pono`i", with the entire standing audience singing along.

Kahauanu Lake of the famous Kahauanu Lake Trio produces and directs these annual Hall of Fame benefit concerts, whose net proceeds support future Hall of Fame music concerts during the year on Oahu as well as other of the Hawaiian Islands.

Tickets for the February 20 event, priced at $25, $20 and $15, will be available from the Hawai`i Theatre box office beginning January 7, 2002, and may be purchased with a credit card by phoning (808) 528-5535.

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Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame and Museum
P.O. Box 1619, Kailua, Hawai`i 96734
Phone/Fax (808) 236-1517
Email: [email protected]

Homepage URL: www.hawaiimusicmuseum.org ([email protected])
Last updated: 12/6/01 by John Ely ([email protected])