On Thursday, June 30, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) celebrates the start of its 18th season at Fairmont Orchid. The Festival will celebrate the rich culture of Hawai’i during a transcendent season opener in the open-air Plantation Estate. Performers include Hawane Rios, Blayne Asing, Kaulu Amaral with Pomai Brown & Friends, and Hālau Ka’eaikahelelani. All proceeds from this evening will support the HPAF Scholarship Fund for local high school students. Tickets are available here.
Since the summer of 2005, HPAF has continued to bring world-class music to Hawai’i Island. Over the past 18 years, HPAF has garnered an international reputation as a premier training and performance program for aspiring young artists worldwide, many of whom have gone onto significant careers as singers, conductors, directors, orchestral musicians, and teachers. Alumni have recently appeared on Broadway, National Tours, The Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and beyond. Each season, HPAF assembles an exceptional roster of faculty artists who provide instruction and appear in a series of public concerts for the Big Island community.
From June 26 through July 24, HPAF will return for its first full season since 2019. The 2022 Festival, “A Season of Self-Discovery,” includes a diverse offering of chamber music concerts and fully-staged musical theatre and operatic productions featuring Hair, Orpheus in the Underworld, and As One. All performances are presented at various venues across the island, including Kahilu Theatre, Palace Theatre, and more.
“We are absolutely overjoyed to present this remarkable lineup of artists,” says Justin John Moniz, executive director. “One of the key focuses of our organization is to provide a platform for local artists to discover and display their talents. Traditionally, the primary focus has been to cultivate the talents of young artists who study our world-class faculty each season. This season, however, we also elevate many long-admired and established artists in celebration of the rich culture of Hawai’i.”
Event: The Spirit of Hawaii
When: Thursday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
Where: The Fairmont Orchid, 1 North Kaniku Drive Kohala Coast, Waimea
Phone: (808) 885-2000
A full calendar of events and tickets for all HPAF events are available by visiting https://hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org/.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Michelle Kaulumahiehie Amaral, professionally known as “Kaulu”, has graced the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel for 36 years as the Premier Hula Soloist. A former model and television host, Kaulu has also shared her love for hula in a diverse way worldwide. Her contributions and talents as an Ambassador of Aloha for the State of Hawaii has been noted and highlighted throughout her career. The elegance of Kaulu’s hula was also captured in a multiple image best seller entitled “Hula Holoku” by world-renowned artist-historian Herb Kawainui Kane. She toured with the Lim Family as a soloist and became a student of Halau Na Lei ‘O Kaholoku with Na Kumu Hula Nani Lim Yap and Leialoha Amina for 25 years, before becoming a Kumu Hula. In addition, for ten years Kaulu accompanied the late Dr. Paul Pearsall, celebrated author and inspirational speaker, where her hula was utilized to express Hawaiian principles of loving, working and living with aloha. Kaulu is Kumu Hula for Na Wahine Hilina’i Ia Iesu and teaches Hula in Switzerland and Germany.
Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Blayne Asing is a self-taught musician who first picked up the ‘ukulele and guitar at eight. Besides playing various instruments, Blayne is a prolific songwriter with a distinctive voice and a unique country/folk/island style. He has worked with and collaborated with such local legends as Brother Noland, Henry Kapono, and John Cruz. His musical work has garnered him two Na Hoku Hanohano awards including Most Promising Artist (2016) and Single of The Year (2017) for “Molokai On My Mind.”
Hāwane Rios is a Mauna Kea Protector and award-winning singer/songwriter from Puʻukapu, Waimea on the Island of Hawaiʻi. She was raised from an early age in the traditional art forms of chant and dance of her people which created a strong foundation for her passion of music and songwriting. Rios believes that music is a powerful catalyst for change and is moved to write and sing songs with a healing and unifying message that she hopes will carry on to the generations to come. Being of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), Chamorro, Taino, Portuguese, and English descent, she knows her lineages, cultural traditions, music, advocacy work, and commitment to aloha ʻāina (love for the land), which connects her to the world and to the collective responsibility we have to care for and protect Mother Earth. Rios has stood on the frontlines of the Protect Mauna Kea Movement and alongside her family as a petitioner in the court system in resistance to the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope for the past 12 years. Her outreach work has taken her to many places and has connected her to many different justice movements rooted in standing up and speaking up for the rights of the land and water. She continues to support the efforts of the movement through her educational outreach work with the non-profit organization Mauna Kea Education and Awareness and through her artistry as a musician, dancer, and chanter. Kū Kia’i Mauna. Together We Rise.
Hālau Ka’eaikahelelani (KIK) is an immersion school of Hawaiian arts and culture located in South Kona, Hawaii. KIK brings people together through their shared desire to learn and live the cultural foundations of hula, community, culture, and humanity. Its mission is to increase equitable access to cultural enrichment programs through the lifestyle of hula, language, music, arts, land stewardship, and ancestral teachings. Kumu Ka’ea and Kumu Kahelelani are lifetime hula dancers have had the opportunity to be traditionally trained from birth by their late mother Sally Kalala Alohikea Toko. Sally was the daughter of Moses Unauna Kuulei Toko Alohikea and Mary Ka’eamoku Kahoonei and was raised in Wainiha, Kaua’i. Sally trained her daughters in the traditional manner, and as was customary, she also sent them to other kumu for additional training during their youth. Ultimately, Ka’ea and Kahelelani became students of kumu Nani Lim Yap and graduates of her award-winning Hālau Hula Nā Lei ʻO Kaholoku.Hālau Kaʻeaikahelelani teaches students weekly from 12 months- 80 years young and classes internationally as well. Within the fundamental teachings of Hawaiian arts and practices are centuries of knowledge and understanding essential to the foundation of Hawaiian culture and the sustainability of the islands.
ABOUT HAWAII PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVAL
HPAF is a non-profit organization whose aim is to offer a world-class music training and performance program in the inspirational setting of Hawaii and to improve the education and elevate the spirit of all who participate, especially the local community.