First Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands concert, with special guest Kohala
Video by David Corrigan, voice of Tim Bryan
Kohala Coast, Hawaii – The Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands made its debut under the stars on Saturday, at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Over 300 attendees heard light classical selections by Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky.
The orchestra was also joined by special guests Kohala, and celebrated the comeback of one of the Big Island ’s most beloved performers, Rupert Tripp, Jr.
Tripp was injured in an auto accident last September and is still recovering. He has credited his love of music and the guitar for helping save his life.
Representatives of the orchestra offered this summary of the historic evening’s events:
Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands Debuts to Appreciative Audience
After months of planning and outreach to the Big Island community, the Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands had a successful debut concert on Saturday, March 20 at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Over 300 people were in attendance, and they were treated to an outstanding musical presentation featuring some of Hawaii ’s leading artists.
The program began with a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Keahola Kaopua of the Calvary Community Church of Kailua-Kona. He then sang Hawai’i Pono’i with the orchestra, comprised of 12 of the principal string players of the Honolulu Symphony. Led by concertmaster Iggy Jang, they came to the Big Island for the day to rehearse and perform music of Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky.
Featured guest artists for the concert were the acoustic guitar trio Kohala, led by Grammy Award winner Charles Brotman. Kohala’s other members are Charlie Recaido and Rupert Tripp, Jr., who made his concert comeback after a serious automobile accident last September. Three of the group’s favorite selections, Highway in the Sun, Samba del Sol, and Deeper Blue were performed for the first time with orchestra. Rupert also sang an encore and was joined by his wife Kahealani dancing Hula.
The Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands is presented by American Music Festivals, a nonprofit with twenty years of experience on the mainland. It is led by Waimea residents Philip Simmons and Jennifer Schack. Maestro Simmons has conducted orchestras around the world, and brings a fresh perspective to classical music in Hawaii . Last summer his wife Jennifer came to Parker School as Advancement Director, and the two relocated to the Big Island from Chicago . Together they share the vision of a thriving orchestral program which builds upon existing traditions and is sensitive to the overall Hawaiian experience.
A letter of congratulations from Senator Daniel Inouye was read by Wayne Tanaka, the Senator’s West Hawaii Representative. Best wishes were also sent from Senator Daniel K. Akaka and Mayor Billy Kenoi, and were included in the concert program booklet. Maestro Simmons spoke, acknowledging the work of many who had participated in the event, and of his goal of making classical music relevant to all Hawaiians. Sponsors for the debut included the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island Honda, the Shops at Mauna Lani, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and Hawaii Life Real Estate Services LLC.
The Hawaii Opus 1 Club is a volunteer organization (under the umbrella of American Music Festivals) which will help to support the orchestra and give Big Islanders a voice in the future direction the orchestra will take. The Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands will next perform on August 7 at the Hilton Waikoloa, and is considering several other outreach efforts on the Big Island . The long term goal for the orchestra is to have collaborative partners for performance throughout the State. To contact the Orchestra of the Hawaiian Islands call 808-315-0885 or visit www.americanmusicfestivals.com.