Special Mini Newsletter: He Makana O Na Mele 2020

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Hawaii Youth Symphony Association 1110 University Avenue, Suite 200 Honolulu, Hawaii 96826-1598





NOTEWORTHY PROGRAM Mahalo to Mark Nakamura for designing a beautiful digital booklet for Na Mele that encapsulated the spirit of the fundraiser and celebration of talented youth in Hawaii and beyond.

SUPPORT IN STYLE SHIRT $20 | BAG $25 Sport your passion for music with these super soft tees and reusable, zippered bags—perfectly sized for toting large music folders, groceries, folding music stands and beach gear. Designed by Geoffrey Siu. hiyouthsymphony.givesmart.com

Watch the Show Again at HiYouthSymphony.org/NaMele

Jake, Raiatea, and our HYS students, connecting with students in Japan through our friends at Hawaii Tourism Japan, shared The Gift of Music with our widest audience yet in a televised and streamed experience. Nearly 20,000 Hawaii households tuned in for the premiere with Hawaii News Now on December 8, followed two days later by over 8,000 households for the rebroadcast. Close to 7,000 viewers—spanning from Japan, to Ireland, to the Philippines—joined us for the live stream event. We are humbled by the collective efforts that brought this dynamic production to life. In this special edition of our newsletter, we shine a spotlight on people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and made Na Mele possible during these unconventional times.

HYS BOARD & STAFF CHAIR: Patti Look | VICE CHAIR: Sharon R. Himeno SECRETARY: Erica Mau | TREASURER: Mary Ellen Williams DIRECTORS: Alan Arizumi, Collin Hoo, Martin Hsia, Richard K. Ing, Tina Lau, Malcolm Lau, Michael Onofrietti, Geoffery S. Sewell, MD., Jake Shimabukuro, Jean Tsukamato. President: Randy Wong Director of Operations: Aris Doike Assistant Operations Manager: Parker Nakamura Director of Advancement: Rudy Rückmann Director of Orchestral Activities: Joseph Stepec

Hello 2021! This past season was unlike any other. With the help of a wonderful community of supporters, musicians, and technicians we navigated many Randy Wong obstacles and marched onward to present a totally reimagined—and incredibly inspiring—Na Mele Gala.

Follow us on social media @HiYouthSymphony HiYouthSymphony.org

We also invite you to join us in continuing the momentum of Na Mele as we head into a New Year! While music is a universal language, many children do not have the opportunity to experience the joy of making music. Music programs are often nonexistent in our elementary schools, and cost concerns keep families from seeking out alternatives. Making Music A Right for all our youth—in Hawaii and beyond—necessitates an unwavering focus and your generosity. Together, let’s make a resolution to ensure all young people have access to the beauty and power of music education.—Mahalo nui loa for all your support!


INTERNATIONAL VISION It took a worldwide effort to put together Na Mele’s musical performances! HYS was fortunate to have the talents of composers Brian Shepard, Daisuke Ikeda, Dean Taba, and Michael-Thomas Foumai working behind-the-scenes to arrange the show’s music. Jake Shimabukuro and composer, Michael-Thomas Foumai pose with sheet music at the Royal Hawaiian Center Na Mele filming.

BRIAN SHEPARD, whose arrangements have graced several of Jake Shimabukuro’s albums, adapted “Kawika” for string orchestra and rhythm section, and newly composed a string quartet accompaniment for “Far Too Wide for Me.” DAISUKE IKEDA composed the stunning arrangement of Ryoko Moriyama’s “Nada Sou Sou” that was performed by Japan’s five sister cities’ junior orchestras. In addition, he also orchestrated videography and video editing of the Japan-based performances. DEAN TABA, Director of HYS Jazz, lent his arranging prowess to setting “The Good Ol’ Hoomalimali E.” MICHAEL-THOMAS FOUMAI composed Na Mele’s magnum opus—a fully symphonic arrangement of “Hawaii Aloha,” which brought together all performers in a stunning finale, bridging Hawaii and Japan.

AN IN TUNE PARTNERSHIP The magic of television enabled HYS to celebrate the joy of music in a groudbreaking way this year. The wizards at Hawaii News Now truly elevated the experience to another level. Their passion and commitment spanned weekly production meetings, expertly planned performance and interview taping days at the Royal Hawaiian Center, and skillful executed post-production sessions to weave all the elements together. Mahalo to show Executive Producers Michael Harris and Erin Yamada, the talented crew, Video Editor Mike Powell, and two hosts who helped convey the importance of music education so eloquently, Ben Gutierrez and Howard Dicus.

Harris in the control booth for the Na Mele production


“Finding Harmony” Na Mele feature by Susan Essoyan.

Press coverage around the Na Mele special spanned across Hawaii, Japan, and beyond! A front-page feature story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser launched the campaign, followed by an editorial piece in Midweek, and extensive coverage in Japan-based media outlets and Japanese language news in Hawaii. Outlets included The Sankei News, Lighthouse Hawaii, and JIJI.com. Highlights were also secured in high-profile newsletters such as Hawaii Business Magazine’s e-news, HPR’s Generation Listen, and The Hub from the League of American Orchestras. Capturing the universal appeal of the message of Na Mele, a press release was serviced both in English and Japanese—generating stories in over 50 outlets.

COLLIN HOO | A BOARD MEMBER’S TAKE The ongoing pandemic may have throttled our ability to gather and interact face-to-face, but the role music plays in developing our youth and building our communities is stronger than ever. From early on in the pandemic, it was important for us to continue furthering the HYS vision to make music a right and not a privilege—in spite of, and particularly because of, these challenging times. That’s when we realized we needed to get creative and rethink the way we normally do things. It’s been such a joy and pleasure to see so many from HYS and the greater community come together to put on an an amazing Na Mele. As a board member, it’s not often we get to see firsthand just how much work goes into rehearsing and preparing for a performance. I wish to congratulate and thank everyone involved on a fantastic show.

The level of collaboration we had across so many different organizations unified in purpose was certainly the highlight of Na Mele for me. I’m quite involved in both the local and worldwide Okinawan communities, so seeing our HYS students perform alongside youth orchestras Collin Hoo, Na Mele Co-Chair from Japan and Okinawa on such a broad platform—sharing the screen with Jake Shimabukuro and Raiatea Helm—was a delight and made me very proud. I hope everyone who watched was equally as touched and inspired by our collaborations and reminded of the power that music has to bring people together.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT! | MAHALO DONORS Na Mele inspired supporters for all walks of life. Some already had a deep connection to HYS then saw yet another layer to the organization during the program, while others became introduced to the HYS mission and vision for the very first time. Here’s a snapshot of some donors—including a student performer—and how they experienced Na Mele: “I came to know Hawaii Youth Symphony when I was invited to be a supporter of a Champion page prior to Na Mele. I accepted the invitation because music carries a magic that builds community, it connects people beyond even spoken language. When I watched the gala on TV, my initial thoughts were ‘These musicians will keep the magic going.’ Music has accompanied many of my life’s most joyful experiences and helped me to navigate sorrowful times. It’s an honor to continue making contributions to an organization that reaches out to thousands of young people in Hawaii and beyond and transforms their lives.” Roberta Longworth | Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation | Fairfax, Virginia “I’ve been affiliated with Hawaii Youth Symphony for many years, first as a consultant and then as a board member. As I watched the Na Mele gala and fundraiser on TV, I felt a lot of pride about being associated with HYS, especially with our ability to showcase the talent of our students. Everything clicked for this broadcast which is astonishing when you consider we had ventured into entirely new terrain. The hosts were outstanding, the feature segments first-rate, and our students’ and guest performances were exceptional.” Patti Look | Chair, HYS Board of Directors | Principal, The FundDevelopment Group “When I was asked to perform for the Na Mele special, I was elated to be able to perform again. I started HYS in SOE when I was eight years old under the direction of Chad Uyehara. I grew up with HYS—from Mr. Uyehara to Ms. Watanabe and Ms. Ochi-Onishi, to Mr. Masaki and now Mr. Stepec—so HYS has really become like family. Watching the Na Mele special on TV was very heartwarming for me. With anticipation and excitement, I called friends on the mainland and in Japan to let them know about the event so they could watch it too. After gaining so much publicity for Na Mele this year, I hope it has inspired others to take up an instrument and/or contribute to HYS in some form.” Yukiko Hughes | HYS Student Learn more how you can join them and keep the music going strong! www.hiyouthsymphony.org/donate

ISLAND SOUND STUDIOS Thanks to the generous support of studio engineer Gaylord Holomalia and the direction from Dean Taba, students from HYS Jazz recorded rhythm section tracks at Island Sound Studios in preparation for the live shoot of the Na Mele gala and fundraiser at Royal Hawaiian Center.

“The opportunity to work in a world-class recording environment is so special for our students,” notes Taba, Director of HYS Jazz. “Recording in a facility like Island Sound Studios with an experienced engineer like Gaylord, and playing with original tracks by Jeff Au Hoy and Raiatea Helm, they experience performing at the highest technical and musical levels.”

Holomalia, one of Hawaii’s most respected audio professionals, is the cofounder and keyboardist of the island contemporary super group, KALAPANA. “As a member of Kalapana who played with HYS for two previous fundraisers, I was honored to be asked to be a part of this year’s event,” said Holomalia. “These young musicians are so inspiring—they came prepared and worked like professionals. I hope to see them on the recording circuit someday soon!”

L to R: Dean Taba, HYS Student Noah Chang, Gaylord Holomalia

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