The 8th Annual Kona Jazz Experience at Aloha Theater


It was a night of seasoned pros and talented students from the Big Island Music Academy.

The Aloha Theater hosted The 8th Annual Kona Jazz Experience last Saturday night and what a night it was! Andrea Lindborg (Ann Hoku Lyn), co-director at BIMA took the stage with the All-Star Student Jazz Band made up of 12 students of all ages.  The group opened the night with the classic Miles Davis instrumental, “So What” and featured a wide range of instruments, from ukulele to trumpet.

Nick Wong

Up next was a rendition of the classic “Autumn Leaves” featuring the vocal performance of Alexis Ounyong, a first-year student at BIMA and James Kim (16) on the trumpet.  As the show moved on, drummer Nick Wong (15) showed his talents, not only behind his kit, but with his vocals as the band performed the Frank Sinatra hit “Fly Me to the Moon.” The band was joined on stage by Amanda Trusty for a tap dance performance to the song “Honey Suckle Rose”, tapping her way through a very impressive solo. The well-deserved applause made it hard to catch each name on stage, but all of the students had given a great performance.

Ann Hoku Lyn, Binti Bailey, Jeannine Kane

After a brief intermission, the next band was ready to take the stage. Again lead by Ann, with her trumpet in hand, but the band behind her this time was made up of pros. Former drummer for Tower of Power and Barry Manilow, Russ Mckinnon was now on drums, Matt Spencer on bass, Loren Wilken on piano and co-director of BIMA, Luke Clebsch (Truth Musiq) handled guitar & harmonica. Ann carried the lead vocal and was backed by two very talented ladies, Binti Bailey, and Jeannine Guillory.

James Kim

The band kicked off their set with “Syzygy Commemoration” the first of seven original songs to be performed and written by Ann. Quickly you realized this was going to be a special night of music. The second song “Tierra Del Fuego” featured Ann on a muted trumpet as well as Truth on harmonica. Song after song Ann showed her command of the stage while giving the band the opportunity to show their chops as well.  The song “Kicking It”, with a hip hop flow, captivated the audience, featuring the vocals of Jeannine Guillory and Binti Bailey on flute.

What was to be the last song of the night “Light of the Sun,” which was released as a single this past November, brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. With a Hana Hou, the band wrapped up the night with “Higher Love”, giving Truth Musiq a chance to let loose on his hollow-body guitar. I applaud not only the performance on this January night, but the work Big Island Music Academy is doing to inspire a deeper connection and passion for music in the community!

To learn more about the Big Island Music Academy, please visit:

Gary Hicks has a true passion for music! He works as a talent scout, artist management & development, musician, studio manager, executive producer, music journalist, and radio personality.

Photo credit: Daryl Salmo


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