Hilo, Hawaii – Video by David Corrigan
A larger than normal crowd at Hilo’s Mooheau Park Bandstand heard a passionate performance by the Hawaii County Band on Saturday, as the historic group of musicians played what could be a swan song of sorts.
That’s because the band is being cut out of the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which was recently submitted to the county council by the administration.
The band plays monthly concerts at the Hilo park, but few have been as well attended as Saturdays performance. Before the concert, the band held a sign waving in an attempt to raise awareness over their pending fate. The band is busy on an almost weekly basis, marching in parades and performing at other special events.
Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Department of Parks and Recreation cut funding for the band, as well as their west side counterparts, citing the difficult and challenging economic times. The band is not the only institution taking a hit. County employees will be furloughed, and residents will be facing a property tax increase that will come in the subtle form of a revenue-neutral rate adjustment.
The band may get a reprieve at the council, however. Several councilmembers have expressed interest in trying to restore the $347,027 in funding currently needed for the band. In this video, council chair J Yoshimoto explains his feelings on the band.
The Hawaii County Band has been in operation for 127 years.
Save the Hawaii County Band petition – www.petition.fm/petitions/savetheband/0/13/