Past Concerts, News & Reviews

If you live on Maui, and are interested in auditioning for the Maui Pops, please contact us for more information.








Holiday Pops (December 7, 2014)

Our annual "Holiday Pops" concert included a 30-member Maui Pops Chorus, directed by Cameron Keys. Our Maui Pops' guest artist, Mr. Doug LaBrecque, joined the Maui Pops Chorus in singing favorite songs of the Holiday season.

One of the most prolific concert performers of his generation, Mr. LaBrecque has been a soloist with some of the world's finest symphony orchestras, including The National Symphony, The Israel Philharmonic (Tel Aviv), The Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, and The San Francisco Symphony, among many others.


















































Maui Pops "March Movie Madness" - March 23, 2014 (Sunday) at 3:00pm
Music from favorite movie scores covering several decades included well-known composers John Williams, The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Henry Mancini. If you didn't remember the composer, you would have surely known the familiar music of Walt Disney, James Bond, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and many others. The Maui Pops Orchestra brought out all the "bells and whistles" for this fun program. It was an entertaining afternoon of movie madness.






















































Broadway Pops "Dancing and Romancing" - January 19, 2014 (Sunday) at 3:00pm
Broadway stars Joan Hess and Kirby Ward brought their thrilling "Dancing and Romancing" program to the Maui Pops. This concert was a tribute to the 1930's and featured the music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and George Gershwin, as well as song and dance inspired by Fred and Ginger. The Maui Pops Orchestra was in full swing, and also performed a few of it’s own Broadway favorites.









































































Kirby has worked in the arts on five continents and in film, television, and stage for almost 30 years. He’s been a resident of Los Angeles and London, and now makes his home in Connecticut, but he continues to work in theatre and film all over the world.

When cast as Bobby Child in the London production of Crazy For You, Kirby took his whole family along. His portrayal of the lead character in this West End premier netted him an Olivier award nomination, as well as the honor of meeting and performing for the royal family on the Queen Mum’s birthday. You can hear him on the London cast album for First Night Records.

As an actor he’s run the gamut of song and dance roles, playing every “Billy” or “Bobby” from My One and Only to 42nd Street, and a couple of Don’s and Tom’s thrown in to mix things up (That would be Singin’ in the Rain and No No Nanette for those keeping score). Departing from the song and dance motif has lead him into such roles as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Arnolph in School For Wives, Vernon in They’re Playin’ Our Song, and even a stint as Che in Evita.

New York area audiences have seen Kirby’s work as an actor in Hal Prince’s Show Boat! (Frank Schultz), in the Off-Broadway revival cast of Cocoanuts, (Harvey) and in Company (David) as well as the recent Never Gonna Dance at the Broadhurst. His direction and choreography in the metro area for Dames at Sea, The Jazz Singer and Grease were all critically acclaimed. On television he’s appeared on Law and Order, Special Victims Unit, General Hospital, The Tonight Show, and numerous commercials. Film appearances include For the Boys, Pennies From Heaven, and S.O.B. Recently, he appeared as Bob Hope with Dick Cavett at the Library of Congress’ celebration for Bob Hope’s 100th Birthday.

In Los Angeles Kirby choreographed portions of Debbie Reynolds’ and Donald O’Connor’s Las Vegas acts, appearing in both for a number of years as a singer and dancer. He also trained Bette Midler and James Caan in song and dance technique for their film For The Boys for 20th Century Fox. Also, while in Los Angeles, he worked as a writer for television at Hanna Barbera Studios. Most recently, his original short film Down in the Mouth was awarded best short film at the Kent Film Festival in Kent, CT (www.downinthemouthmovie.com).

Kirby is living in the woods of Connecticut with his wife and three kids, where he's putting the finishing touches on the book of a brand new musical called Romancing the Throne.



Joan Hess played the role of the wealthy and hilarious Tanya in her fifth Broadway show, Mamma Mia. She was also seen as Jessica (the “Leggy Blonde”) in HBO’s award-winning comedy series, Flight of the Conchords. She recently had the great honor of working with television’s iconic director Jay Sandrich (Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Get Smart, Cosby Show) when she played Doris in Same Time, Next Year (Best Actress Nomination)and Jennie in Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play Chapter Two. Prior to that, she had the great fortune of playing the plum role of Billie Dawn in Garson Kanin's classic play Born Yesterday. Ms. Hess was also featured on Broadway as Patsy in Crazy for You, as Edie and Hattie in Kiss Me Kate, as Sophia in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, where she understudied the lead roles of Christine and Muriel, and as Bridgette in Bells are Ringing, where she understudied Faith Prince in the lead role. She appeared at the Lincoln Center in the lead role in Dessa Rose, the powerful Lynn Ahrens/ Stephen Flaherty piece, directed by 10-time Tony Award nominee, Graciela Daniele. She appeared as Betty in the First National Tour of Sunset Boulevard, Polly in the First National Tour of Crazy for You, and she toured the country with 42nd Street and Beehive, as well.


Regional theater audiences and critics, alike, lauded her performance in the title role in Gypsy (Best Actress Nomination) at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and as Picasso’s first love, Fernande Olivier, in the World Premier of La Vie en Bleu, at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater. As Ann in The 1940's Radio Hour, she also received a Best Actress Nomination. She played the lead role of Maddy in the Australian import Hot Shoe Shuffle, Lilly McBain in Swingtime Canteen, Irene Molloy in Hello Dolly with Avery Schreiber, Peggy in The Taffetas, Irene in Crazy for You, Grace in Annie, and Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other Regional appearances include Grand Hotel, Closer than Ever, Sweet Charity, and the lead role in the World Premiere of Noel Coward and Jeffry Hatcher's Bon Voyage at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, among others. Her non-musical regional performances include the plays Steel Magnolias (Shelby), Six Characters in Search of an Author (the Actress), The Dining Room (Second Actress), Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in the lead role of Queen Hermione, and The 39 Steps (Annabella/Margaret/Pamela), which she also Assistant Directed and Choreographed.

Ms. Hess was featured in the PBS Great Performances series in My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs, hosted by Julie Andrews. She has performed with numerous symphonies around the world, from Houston, Atlanta, North Carolina and Detroit Symphonies to the Philly Pops and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. In 2002, she had the privilege of singing for the World Economic Forum following Mayor Bloomberg's address.

Sponsorship for Mr. Ward and Ms. Hess was provided by Steve and Billie Moksnes.






Holiday Pops - December 8, 2013 (Sunday) at 3:00pm






































The Maui Pops presented special guests in each half of this concert to honor Maui Pops Orchestra's founder, Auriol Flavell, for her 90th birthday. The first half included "The Bells of Christmas" (orchestra only) and pianist, Hyperion Knight, returning to perform Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in A minor. One of the most popular piano concertos (composed in 1868), it is a classic from the Romantic Era.

The second half featured Nā Leo Lani O Maui, Maui’s Hawaiian Community Choir, under the direction of Mr. Gale Wisehart and Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero. They joined the Maui Pops Orchestra for a program of holiday favorites entitled, Peace On Earth.

Hailing from Maui, Hawai'i, Uluwehi Guerrero is an internationally acclaimed, multi award-winning Na Hoku Hanohano Vocalist and Recording Artist. His rich cultural heritage and substantial travel have helped shape a uniquely soothing voice with wide range, rich tone and spirited, artful interpretation. Uluwehi sings in both traditional and contemporary styles, and has performed for audiences from New York's Carnegie Hall to top venues throughout Japan, both as soloist and with Hawai'i's Greats. His bi-annual concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center with his Hula Halau Hula Kauluokala is always a sell-out.















Special guest Hyperion Knight has explored music from the concert hall, Broadway, jazz, and opera. Born in Berkeley, California, pianist Hyperion Knight is a soloist and recording artist whose performances are known for their artistic depth, technical brilliance and immense personal flair, as well as his wide-ranging repertoire, including the Classical repertoire, popular standards, and classic rock.

Hyperion Knight started playing the piano at the age of 5 and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 19, followed three years later by a Master's Degree and Doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music which honored him with its prestigious Arthur Loesser Award. He moved on to New York City for private studies with distinguished members of the Juilliard School of Music, including Jerome Lowenthal.

Hyperion Knight has made numerous recordings including, among others, Gershwin by Knight, A Classical Knight, Rhapsody (A Centenary Tribute to Gershwin), Mussorgsky's Pictures at An Exhibition, Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Music Of Chopin, and Chopin by Knight.

Sponsorship for Hyperion Knight was provided by Auriol Flavell.












"St. Paddy's Pops" Concert
Sunday March 17, 2013 at 3:00pm at the Castle Theater (MACC)

























































The Maui Pops Orchestra presented its annual Spring concert, .....with a St. Patrick's Day theme. The audience enjoyed the lively sounds of popular Irish musical favorites, featuring guest artist Silvina Samuel (cellist).


Silvina Samuel holds a Bachelor degree in Cello Performance from the University of Victoria, and diplomas in Performance and Pedagogy from the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She moved to Maui in 2008, bringing with her a passion for the cello and a drive to perform. She took the role of principal cello with the Maui Pops Orchestra in 2009 and, together with her Pops colleagues, formed the Maui Cello Quartet. She also joined forces with pianist Lotus Dancer to form the classical duo Cellano. Together they put on annual recitals around Maui. She has played with the Hawaii Opera Theater Orchestra and the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She was Asst. Principal Cello of the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra from 2005- 2008 and has participated in several music festivals and master classes.



The audience was encouraged to wear green outfits and join in the traditional Irish and Celtic celebration. "St. Paddy's Pops" was a fun time of Irish music, and included MAPA (Maui Academy of Performing Arts) dancers with their version of River Dance, as well as featured guest dancers Ellen Peterson and Lorne Direnfeld.










Lorne Direnfeld and Ellen Peterson have been pleasing audiences with their charming tap dance duets since 2003. Described as Maui’s “Fred and Ginger,” they enjoy dancing to jazz classics and the music of the great American Song Book, including Broadway and Hollywood musicals from the 1920s to the 1960s.


























"Broadway Pops" Concert
Sunday January 20, 2013 3:00pm at the Castle Theater (MACC)

The Maui Pops Orchestra proudly presented the exciting music of broadway, a SOLD OUT concert at the MACC's Castle Theater, covering a broad spectrum of famous Broadway musical hits.

"Broadway Pops" featured singers Elizabeth Southard and Gary Mauer. Both had impressive resumés from Broadway, including leading roles in Phantom of the Opera, Show Boat, The Sound of Music, and many others. Their "Bravo Broadway" tour had rave reviews.





































































Gary Mauer most recently starred in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, playing the Phantom. Broadway and National Tour credits also include Les Misérables and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He was cast opposite his wife, Elizabeth Southard, in the National Tour of Harold Prince’s Show Boat. Other favorite roles include: Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Anthony in Sweeney Todd and Frederick in Pirates of Penzance. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona and earned a Bachelor degree in Musical Theatre from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has sung “All I Ask of You” on ABC’s LIVE with Regis and Kathy Lee and The View, as well as NBC’s Today Show. As part of the popular “Bravo Broadway!” concert series, Mr. Mauer has sung with numerous symphonies across the country, including Cleveland, Utah, and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops. He has travelled extensively with Marvin Hamlisch and has joined Mr. Hamlisch with the Chicago and Pittsburgh Symphonies. He has had return engagements with the National Symphony, Harrisburg, South Bend, New Mexico and the Florida Sunshine Pops. His solo CD project entitled “This is the Moment” was released in the fall of 2007. Mr. Mauer is also featured on the CDs entitled “Bravo Broadway!” and “Broadway’s Fabulous Phantoms”. A confessed “thrill-seeker”, Mr. Mauer is an active hang glider pilot. When not chasing down thermals, he enjoys fixing up the home he loves and shares with his wife, Beth, son, Nicholas and daughter, Eden. He thanks God for all his many blessings.


Elizabeth Southard has worked extensively in musical theatre, on Broadway and in National Tours. Beth starred on Broadway as Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, a role she also performed in the Vancouver, B.C. production and the National Tour alongside her husband, Gary Mauer. She was chosen by Harold Prince to star as Magnolia in his latest revival of Show Boat in the First National Tour. She was also seen Off-Broadway in Jack Eric William’s Swamp Gas and Shallow Feelings as Sherlyn. Other tours include: Christine in the Yeston/Kopit Phantom and The Sound of Music with Marie Osmond. Regional highlights include Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Claudia in Nine, and Sukey Tawdry in Three Penny Opera. Elizabeth has been guest soloist with orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Anchorage Symphony, and the Flagstaff Symphony. She also toured throughout Germany and performed at the Opera Comique in Paris. Elizabeth received her degree in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College School of Music. She received a scholarship to study at the prestigious American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria and went on to receive first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition. Beth is joyously married to actor Gary Mauer and plays Mommy to Nicholas and Eden.
















"Holiday Pops" Concert
Sunday December 2, 2012 3:00pm at the Castle Theater (MACC)



Each year, the orchestra kick-starts the holiday season with its "Holiday Pops" concert, a family-friendly event in the MACC's Castle Theater. For 2012, favorite local singers joined the orchestra to fill the Castle with songs that brought back memories and created new ones in a joyful beginning to the season.

"Holiday Pops" included Vivaldi's ever-popular Four Seasons, featuring violinist "Iggy" Jang, Concertmaster of the newly formed Hawaii Symphony. In addition, local vocalists Jerry Eiting, Erin Smith, Jamie Lawrence, Felicity Raugust, Lily Meola, and Jimmy Mac (of Kool Kats fame) entertained the audience with holiday-favorite songs.

This year, the Maui Pops Orchestra dedicated part of each ticket purchased to The Friends of the Children's Justice Center, which uses the funds to purchase gifts for teenage clients who have been victims of child abuse. In addition, audience members were invited to bring new, unwrapped gifts for younger children who are clients of the agency.





































































"Concerts for Keikis"

October 11, 2012 (Not Open to the Public)



CONCERTS FOR KEIKIS was again part of our season, with two programs that entertained and educated more than 1600 elementary and middle school students at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). Grants from Atherton Family Foundation, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, and the José L. Romero Memorial Fund have helped make these concerts possible. Director Jim Durham says this was the most significant program of the year, as it promotes live entertainment and nurtures positive means of expression and communication for young people. The program, THE OCEAN AND OUR ENVIRONMENT, demonstrated how composers use musical instruments to simulate the sounds of nature, such as thunder, lightning, rain, wind, etc. Special guest Uluwehi Guerrero, a well-known Maui performer and kumu hula, made a short presentation about the importance of the natural elements to Hawaiian culture and how they connect to Hawaiian music and poetry.

A study guide was provided to teachers before the concert that allowed them to prepare their students to get the most out of the experience and to process it after the concert. Much national research shows that arts education is an important part of early learning, yet most Hawaii public school students receive little or no education in music. Without these concerts, some of these children might never receive a proper introduction to such music. Hearing the orchestra play in the wonderful acoustics and beautiful setting of the Castle Theater will make an indelible impression on many of the youngsters.



"Swing into Spring" with guests from the Moonglow All-Star Swing Band led by Lisa Owen
Sunday March 18, 2012
Special guest artists Willie K. and Jimmy Borges

The Maui Pops Orchestra presented its annual Spring concert and was joined by guests from the Moonglow All-Star Swing Band. The audience enjoyed an exultant Big Band sound with special guests Willie K and Jimmy Borges, and the sound of swing music favorites from the past moved members of the audience to the dance floor.



Raised on Maui, Willie Kahaiali'i (a.k.a. Willie K) has been entertaining audiences with his music since the age of 10. He has evolved into an eclectic and charismatic singer, songwriter, entertainer, and now actor. One of Hawaii's most versatile talents, Willie performs a myriad of musical genres, including Hawaiian, Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Rock, Country Western, and even Opera, and is a Grammy Music Awards nominee and has earned multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards for his many CD recordings.

Jimmy Borges is known to his many loyal fans as the "keeper of the flame" - referring to his musical respect for Gershwin, Porter, Kern, Mercer, Arlen, Rodgers & Hart and the rest of those legendary composers. Jimmy's selections include music from these composers in every show.

Moonglow All-Star Swing Band was under the direction of Lisa Owen. The Moonglow All-Star Swing Band has been playing jazz on Maui since 1991. The band comprises some of the finest jazz musicians on our island, and many of those have played with the band since its inception. The versatility of the band is apparent in their extensive repertoire, ranging in music from the 30s to present day.

































































"Gershwin and Broadway" with special guest artist Hyperion Knight, pianist
Sunday January 29, 2012

The Maui Pops Orchestra proudly presented the gloriously lush music of George Gershwin, covering a broad spectrum of styles. Special guest was pianist Hyperion Knight, who explored music from the concert hall, Broadway, jazz, and opera. Born in Berkeley, California, pianist Hyperion Knight is a soloist and recording artist whose performances are known for their artistic depth, technical brilliance and immense personal flair, as well as his wide-ranging repertoire including the Classical repertoire, popular standards and classic rock.

Hyperion Knight started playing the piano at the age of 5 and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music at 19, followed 3 years later by a Master's Degree and Doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music which honored him with its prestigious Arthur Loesser Award. He moved on to New York City for private studies with distinguished members of the Juilliard School of Music, including Jerome Lowenthal.

Hyperion Knight has made numerous recordings including, among others, Gershwin by Knight, A Classical Knight, Rhapsody (A Centenary Tribute to Gershwin), Mussorgsky's Pictures at An Exhibition, Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Music Of Chopin, and Chopin by Knight.

"Not since Heifetz has anyone played Gershwin solos with this much panache... the songs glitter like jewels against black satin," says American Record Guide. Sponsorship for Hyperion Knight has been provided by Auriol Flavell.

Hyperion Knight is a pianist equally at home in serious classics and popular standards. Known for the diversity of his repertoire, his recordings range from Beethoven to the Beatles, and in addition to regular appearances with orchestras across the United States he has been a featured entertainer at Manhattan's Rainbow Room and Essex House. A Gershwin enthusiast, he has recorded two CDs devoted to unique arrangements of Gershwin's music, and frequently performs both Rhapsody in Blue and the Concerto in F, most recently with the Santa Fe, Long Beach, Tennessee, St. Joseph, New Mexico and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras. Other recent guest appearances include the Mozart Concerto #21 with the Utah Symphony, the Grieg Concerto with the Maui Pops Orchestra, and the Rachmaninoff Concerto #2 with the Kansas City Philharmonia and the Cleveland Philharmonic.!

Click Me to go to the Hyperion Knight website in a new tab or window



























































"Holiday Pops" with special guest artist Amy Hanaiali'i
Sunday December 4, 2011

The Maui Pops Orchestra and special guest Amy Hanaiali'i presented your favorite holiday music, including many of Amy's most loved songs. Music Director James Durham programmed an outstanding variety of music that Maui Pops Orchestra audiences have come to expect. As a special treat, children attending were invited to the "Milk & Cookies" reception following the concert with special guest Santa Claus!

Amy Hanaiali'i's talent is the result of an exceptional blend of classical training, modern musical influences and heritage. She is Hawaii's top selling female vocalist of all time. She is a 5-time Grammy Nominee and a 17-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner. All 11 of her albums have been in the top ten World Billboard Charts.

She has headlined numerous times with the Honolulu Symphony Pops and the Matt Catingub Orchestra. Her most recent performance was headlining the Nashville Symphony.

While Amy received years of formal musical and theatrical training, it was Tutu Jennie who ultimately inspired her to grow in Hawaiian music. Recognizing her natural vocal abilities, Tutu arranged for a meeting between the legendary Genoa Keawe and her granddaughter. It was Aunty Genoa that introduced Amy to the ha'i falsetto music. Amy's talent of ha'i brought a new-found appreciation for the art of Hawaiian female falsetto style for which she is known today, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Amy has opened for numerous acts such as: Joe Cocker, Diana Krall, Earth Wind and Fire, Boz Skaggs, Carlos Santana and recorded a duet with Willie Nelson on her Friends and Family CD. Amy has produced Hawaii's first reality show called Local Boyz Inc. out on OC16, with its own signature line of clothing. She has launched her own signature line "Hanaiali'i" with Hilo Hatties throughout Hawai'i.









Opera Gala with special guests Pocket Opera Company
of San Francisco & “Elixir of Love” by Donizetti
Sunday, March 13th 2011 at 3:30 PM
View slide-show of this event

Maui Pops Orchestra welcomed the Pocket Opera Company of San Francisco to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater March 13 for a concert-version performance of “Elixir of Love” by Donizetti. The Pocket Opera is known for its witty and charming English translations of famous operas. The performance included several lead singers from San Francisco and a chorus of local performers from Olinda Chorale/Musical Voices Maui, while Maui Pops provided orchestral accompaniment.

A gala dinner with the performers followed the opera. Tickets were $75 for the Chinese buffet at the Yokouchi Pavilion Courtyard, catered by the U.H. Maui College Culinary Academy.

The Olinda Chorale provided the chorus for our production of the opera. It is a 16-voice choral ensemble directed by Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs and dedicated to the exploration and performance of a wide range of musical styles from early to modern music, classical to jazz. For this exciting opera experience we expanded our choral membership to 22, drawing on the wonderful choral singers and soloists from our musical community. Our seeds of existence were planted when a group of Maui singers gathered to honor Liz Janes-Brown in Memorial with a performance of John Rutter’s Requiem. Through that experience the idea to create a small choral ensemble from those singers was born. Our next choral adventure will be a celebration of music by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein.

Musical Voices Maui, The Singers’ Educational and Performance Collective, is the non-profit home for The Olinda Chorale and is also host to The Summer Masterworks series conducted by Robert E. Wills. MVM invites the choral and instrumental community of Maui to participate in our second annual summer festival 2011 in the performance of Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Bach’s Magnificat

The Olinda Chorale provides...
  1. Entertainment and inspiration to the community of Maui through the singing performing arts.
  2. Classes that educate singers in musicianship as well as vocal skills.
  3. A collective to combine singers and instrumentalists together in collaboration.
  4. A means for donors and friends of the singing arts to support our efforts.

Check out our web sites for more information about The Olinda Chorale & Musical Voices Maui:
  1. The-Olinda-Chorale.org
  2. MusicalVoicesMaui.org





"Classical Sampler" with Guest Artist Sara Buechner
Sunday, January 30th 2011 at 3:30 PM
Visit her web site at SaraDavisBuechner.com

Song Composer
Academic Festival Overture Brahms
Symphony 41 "Jupiter"
1st Movement
Mozart
Moldau Smetana
Piano Concerto #4 Beethoven




"Holiday Pops" with special guests, the Honolulu Symphony Chorus
Sunday, December 5th 2010
Audience is invited to sing along with the chorus on favorite holiday carols
View Our Ad in the Maui News and read this glowing review by Julie Roberts!

View the Program
Song Arranger
A Christmas Festival Anderson
White Christmas Berlin
The Christmas Song Torme
Winter Wonderland Bernard/Custer
Ave Maria Schubert
The King & I Rodgers/Bennett
Intermission
The Twelve Days of Christmas Rutter
Many Moods of Christmas #3 Shaw
Messiah
Overture
And the glory of the Lord
For unto us a Child is born
Pastoral Symphony
Hallelujah!
Handel
Holiday Sing-along Snyder
Mele Kalikimaka Anderson




Maui Time - Arts and Entertainment
Music Scene January 21, 2010
Top of the Popsby Anuhea Yagi
Maui's Orchestra Plays on Through Troubled Times

"We try to perform classical music, written for the orchestra, in an entertaining way," says James Durham, conductor, musical director and one of the founders of Maui Pops Orchestra. "I say this a lot: style is everything." He utters the last three words with emphatic staccato. "We try not to be stuffy. If you play everything the same way, it can be so boring, and no one will come."

Stuffy pomposity is often - and unfortunately - associated with orchestral music (Seinfeld fans, for example, may recall the 1995 episode "The Maestro," in which Elaine dates an orchestra conductor who haughtily insists that everyone refer to him as "Maestro.") Countering such antiquated misconceptions is a battle of morale for orchestras in the modern age.

Strung to this issue is the ever-growing difficulty of keeping books in the black. The Honolulu Symphony filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early November of last year - effectively canceling the remainder of the season of a dynamic orchestra, founded in 1900 and heralded as "the oldest orchestra west of the Rocky Mountains." Dozens of other orchestras across the country are succumbing to a similar fate, leaving loyal audiences grieving. To stay afloat, creative enterprises of all kinds have to get creative.

With our very own Maui Pops - a community orchestra that strives for accessibility - the modifier of its name implies the excitement of popular music. That aim to entertain will be on display this Sunday, during Maui Pops first concert of the year. Titled "Music from Around the World," the program pools from the orchestra's library of international selections and will include a special dance performance and two numbers that showcase rising-star guest musicians.

"Every concert has a theme," says Durham of Maui Pops' shows, which typically number four annually. For this installment, Durham explains that "music from various countries or regions have a sound synonymous to the area, region or nation - sometimes being nationalistic - and it's often recognizable to the ear."

Keeping with the orchestra's goal to "entertain, educate and empower our listening audience to fully enjoy the broad spectrum of music written for the symphony orchestra," the night of the show, Durham says, "I'll be doing a lot of talking, though not as a lecture. My goal is to educate." Musical insight from a conductor and 15-year veteran violinist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will undoubtedly be fascinating, as will the historical elements associated with each number.

Sunday's program will consist of music from 10 countries as well as the mythical South Pacific island of Bali Hai. The dramatic folk sound of "Russian Sailors Dance," gypsy music of "Hungarian Dance #5" and fiery "Tango Argentine," give clear indication where the pieces originate - yet sounds can be deceiving. "Ritual Fire Dance" - a piece that evokes the passionate flamenco of Spain - was written by an Italian composer, while "Adagio for Strings" - though it sounds Italian - was written by an American. These cross-cultural compositions are "very common," says Durham.

"Adagio for Strings" will feature a special performance by five advanced string students. "We try to do that as much as we can," says Durham of bringing in youth to the orchestra. Additionally, dance students from the Maui Academy of Performing Arts will lend their legs to the rigorous chorus line moves of the French cancan, for the piece "Gallop-Can-Can."

The evening's most unique piece may well be the after-intermission installment titled "The Warrior," for orchestra and taiko drums. Also student-centered, the piece was arranged by Maui Pops' own principal percussionist Preston Jones, a senior at Maui High School and a three-year regular member of the orchestra. Son of the founders of the Maui taiko group, Zenshin Daiko - a nonprofit with about 40 youth members whose talents have taken them from Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Hachioji, Japan - Jones will lead three other taiko drummers and three Japanese flutists from the group, providing a powerful centerpiece to the orchestral arrangement.

With captivating programming and strong youth involvement, the future of Maui Pops looks bright. Yet many additional challenges exist. Some are satisfying - Durham takes particular pride in creating a cohesive sound while balancing the wide range of skill level that exists within a community orchestra. But, there is always the bottom line. Just the expense of renting or purchasing music from publishing houses is sizeable. Some pieces are no longer available for sale, and the cost of rental-only often starts around $400 each. Each song requires pages upon pages for each musician, tailored for their part.

"Music is printed on extremely thick, heavy paper, with a high cloth content," Durham says. "It has to be of very high quality to withstand wear and tear," he adds, referencing the consistent handling, as well as the repeated writing and erasing of notations. Given the cost, when developing a show Durham tries to use pieces from their own library as much as possible - the huge volumes of which are meticulously tracked and maintained by the orchestra librarian, Julie Patao.

Another advantage of using what they have is that the music is already well suited for the orchestra. Suitability is a challenge for any musical director, but it stands as a particularly hyper-local obstacle, as the transient nature of the Valley Isle means musicians and members come and go.

Players currently number about 35 - 10 new players have been added in the last year - and though there are many double-decade strongholds who have played with Maui Pops since the very beginning, the orchestra must still import the occasional musician from Oahu. Essential players sometimes don't reside on Maui. Currently there are no bassoon players on Maui, and though the Valley Isle now boasts four French horn players, a few years ago, there were none.

"We are very fortunate to have a harpist, Kristine Snyder," says Durham. "We're very grateful, [because] financially, it would be impossible," he continues of the pricey logistics entailed in shipping a full-size harp to Maui from Oahu.

It is with obvious pride, though tinged with foreboding given the knowledge of other sinking symphonies, that Durham says, "the all-volunteer board of directors is tirelessly working, and we are successfully operating with [a] balanced budget."

That's not to say bankrupt orchestras like the Honolulu Symphony didn't employ hard work and dedication, but all have cited steep drops in the philanthropic donations that kept them afloat.

"My first thought is for the musicians - they've lost the place to express themselves," says Durham of Honolulu's bankruptcy. (He adds that he holds high hopes for the re-engagement of that orchestra.) "But most importantly, my thoughts are with the community. It's an important part of culture and life anywhere. Without [a symphony], it creates a cultural void." - MauiTime, Anu Yagi
Maui Pops Orchestra - Music from Around the World
Performance: Sunday, January 24, 3:30pm, Castle Theater, MACC, Kahului, 242-4228 or mauiarts.org

Holiday Pops with special guest soprano Leighanna Locke • December 13, 2009
The annual Holiday Pops concert Sunday, Dec. 13, will bring the season to life with carols, popular holiday music and classical favorites in a festive, family-friendly atmosphere. The Maui Pops Orchestra and guest artist Maui soprano Leighanna Locke will perform at 3:30 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater.

"You may feel you need a warm coat," conductor Jim Durham joked about Waldteufel's "smooth and familiar Skater's Waltz." And Leopold Stokowski's arrangement of Bach's Toccata and Fugue "makes the orchestra sound like a great pipe organ."

As music director of the Maui Pops Orchestra, Durham is primary conductor and also responsible for coordinating all the music the orchestra performs. The recipient of the 2009 Maui County Commission on Culture and the Arts' Pundy Yokouchi Award for his work with the Maui Pops Orchestra, Durham is one of the founders of the Maui Pops and is committed to keeping symphonic music accessible and exciting for Maui residents and guests.

Several of the pieces Durham has chosen for this concert will feature soprano Leighanna Locke, whose most recent credits include Maria in The Sound of Music with Maui On Stage, Marian the Librarian in Maui Academy of Performing Arts' production of The Music Man, as well as Mabel in MAPA's Pirates of Penzance. Locke is a drama and voice teacher for MAPA and a private vocal instructor.

Locke's pieces for the Holiday Pops concert will include Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree ("in the style of Brenda Lee," Durham said) and her special arrangement of Silent Night, accompanied by harpist Kristine Snyder. Locke's main solo piece will be Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera.

View the Program
Song Arranger
Toccata and Fugue Bach/Stokowski
Arr. Hayman
Carol of the Drum Ray Wright
Christmas Waltz Styne
Vocalise
(Leighanna Locke)
Rachmaninov
Arr. Mason
Skater's Waltz Waldteufel
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
(Leighanna Locke)
Marks
Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 Enesco
Intermission
Deck the Halls
Tradional
Arr. Chip Davis
of Mannheim Steamroller
Silent Night
(Leihanna Locke/Kristine Synder)
Gruber
Blue Danube J. Strauss, Jr.
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
(Leihanna Locke, soloist)
Webber
From Phantom of the Opera


MACC presents Willie K with the Maui Pops Orchestra • December 19, 2009
Charismatic island performer Willie Kahaialii shares his love of opera, his huge voice, and his outstanding guitar talent with the Maui Pops Orchestra during this special holiday show. Willie K's passion, creativity, humor and musical virtuosity creat an exceptional complexity that often brings audiences to tears and to their feet. Christmas music will never be the same again.


Maui Pops Spring Fest Was As Good As It Gets • 3/12/09
Maui Pops Can't Be Beat - For pure entertainment, the Maui Pops Spring Fest was as good as it gets. "Eclectic" was the buzz about the program.

What can you say about a pops orchestra, three Elvis impersonators, Cameron Keys as the Above Average Who Dini (not quite great), Jimmy Borges channeling "The Chairman of the Board," and the astonishing Hyperion Knight, tearing into Gershwin and then raising the Rachmaninov 2nd Concerto to the level of any of the great pianists of our time. Jimmy's hana hou was a spellbinding rendition of Fly Me to the Moon, a capella and without a mic.

Maestro Jim Durham was superb throughout the evening, but the orchestra and he really proved their mettle on the Rachmaninov. Pops President Bob Dant should be proud of this truly wonderful performance. Bravissimo!

— Maui Weekly Article by Paul Janes-Brown


A Knight To Remember with pianist Hyperion Knight • 3/5/2009
Pianist Hyperion Knight will join Maui Pops Orchestra and Jimmy Borges Sunday at the MACC

Maui Pops Orchestra, with featured guests Hyperion Knight and Jimmy Borges, performs in the MACC's Castle Theater at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10, $21, $26 and $36 plus applicable fees, and half-price for kids 12 and younger; available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.

After backing Keali'i Reichel earlier in the year, the Maui Pops Orchestra returns to the MACC with a Spring Fest concert based on the theme of a Las Vegas review featuring veteran jazz singer Jimmy Borges and pianist Hyperion Knight. Besides the acclaimed pianist and singer the program will include magician Cameron Keyes and an Elvis Presley contest.

Known for the diversity of his repertoire, Knight's recordings range from Beethoven and Stravinsky to Gershwin and the Beatles. In addition to regular appearances with orchestras across the United States, he has been a featured entertainer at Manhattan's Rainbow Room and Essex House, and he makes frequent concert presentations on luxury cruise lines.

A Gershwin enthusiast, he has recorded two CDs devoted to unique arrangements of Gershwin's music, and frequently performs "Rhapsody in Blue" and the "Concerto in F," most recently with the Santa Fe, Long Beach, Tennessee and New Mexico symphony orchestras. "Not since Heifetz has anyone played Gershwin solos with this much panache," praised an American Record Guide review. "The songs glitter like jewels against black satin."

Accompanied by the Maui Pops Orchestra with guest conductor Jim Durham, Knight will play Rachmaninov's romantic "Piano Concerto No. 2," and a solo Gershwin medley.

Singing professionally for more than 50 years, Borges was bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Na Hoku ceremonies last year. Performing in a range of venues, from night clubs to casinos, from symphony concerts to jazz festivals, he has appeared in movies and TV shows including "Magnum, P.I." and "Hawaii Five-O."

A frequent performer in Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra honored Borges by providing free access to his musical arrangements. He was allowed to select from a library of more than 2,000 arrangements ones that he wanted to use in concert. He chose 68, which Borges has estimated are worth about $750,000. Borges is reportedly the only singer ever allowed complete access to Sinatra's legendary musical arrangements. He will sing the best of Sinatra on Sunday.

"I sing the music the way it's written; I'm faithful to his music," Borges has said. "I try to invoke that inherent sense of honesty in the singing. When Frank sang ballads he never hit you over the head with it and you still believed him when he said he loved someone or was devastated by a broken love affair."

The Elvis Presley competition will feature the top three performers from auditions held on Feb. 27 at the Maui Mall, hosted by Jerry Eiting. Contestants were required to wear Elvis costumes, and sing one of six Elvis songs including "Hound Dog" "Jailhouse Rock" and "Blue Suede Shoes."

Magician Keyes, billed as "An Above-Average Who-dini," will perform his illusions while the orchestra plays a musical medley.

— Maui News Article by Jon Woodhouse


Maui Pops Orchestra Says Thank You To Donors • 11/1/2009
The Maui Pops Board of Directors celebrated music and art and teamed up with Lahaina Galleries at the Shops of Wailea and award-winning artist Ronaldo Macedo, November 1st, to thank donors who are playing an important roll in sutstaining the orchestra's ongoing success.

More than 70 guests feasted on a sumptuous array of pupu, viewed art from 30 international artists and six paintings of Conductor Stuart Chafetz created especially for the event and available for purchase.

Gallery owner Jim Killett and Macedo donated a giclee print for a prize drawing. Called "Siblings," the print features keiki Summer and Ocean Macedo frolicking on a beach. Ed and Judy Mee of Makawao were the lucky winners and were thrilled to meet the artist, his wife and his children who were the subjects of the giclee.


Music Pops - No Bones About It • 10/28/2008

Stuart Chafetz, music director of the Maui Pops Orchestra, leads the musicians performing for local students at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater on Monday morning, following the Pops successful Halloween Spooktacular Concert on Sunday, October 26th.

More than 2,000 keiki got a chance to experience composer Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" during two separate performances. In addition, they listened to musical selections from "Harry Potter" as well as the theme from "Mission Impossible." Members of the orchestra also had a chance to show the audience what their individual instruments can do. A friendly skeleton waited for the musicians onstage before the performance.

Prizes were awarded during the Halloween Spooktacular for the best costumes in different divisions. We thought you'd enjoy seeing the winners of the Keiki division. We had a tie for first place, voted for by audience applause. After several attempts to select a clear winner, the audience determined they were both 1st Place Winners. We're sure you'll agree that Liam, Thomas the Train's engineer and Townsend, the Laundry Boy richly deserve the joint award.



Maui Pops given $2,000 • 5/14/2008
The Maui Pops Orchestra received a $2,000 grant from the Jose L. Romero Memorial Fund to be used for honorariums for Maui musicians playing in the orchestra. The orchestra brings light classical concerts to Maui, to schoolchildren and to the senior community unable to attend concerts at the Castle Theater. The conductor is Stuart Chafetz. The Romero fund is a donor-advised fund of The Hawai'i Community Foundation.


Maui Pops Fills Castle Theater With Frightfully Good Fun For All Ages • 10/31/2007
A swaggering pirate was dancing with a sleek black cat; three little witches were twirling and cackling; and Alice in Wonderland was running around asking everyone, "Please, have you seen my rabbit?" And that was just the dance floor of the Maui Pops Orchestra Halloween Spooktacular Concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater last Sunday.

Up on the stage, a ghoulish orchestra of gypsies, ballerinas and giant winged insects played their violins, trombones and trumpets in a whirl of energy. And leading them all was Count Dracula himself, conductor Stuart Chafetz. Black cape swirling, Chafetz led the orchestra through a clap-filled romp of fun and spooky favorites, from "The Entrance of the Gladiators" to the theme from "The Pink Panther."

It was a delightful, Halloween-ish afternoon for Maui residents and their families something less scary than the usual haunted house, something with a little more "pop" than the usual parade . . something just a bit more "classical."

"Are you having fun?" Chafetz leaned down and asked the bobbing sea of kids on the dance floor at one point during the afternoon. "Yes!!" they shouted back in chorus.

"See, we gotta start 'em young and get 'em going in classical music!" Chafetz gleefully told the audience.

Founded in 2004, the nonprofit, community-based Maui Pops Orchestra specializes in bringing contemporary and light classical music to a broad audience.

It also specializes in having as much fun as possible, which is why last year, Chafetz emerged from a coffin to conduct the orchestra. This year, the coffin rose in a cloud of smoke but when a costumed Death opened the lid, nothing was in it! Then, as an eerie laugh sounded from the back of the stage, Chafetz came striding out to lead the musicians in a rollicking "Monster Mash." Gary Shin-Leavitt sang the mad scientist's role, as the Maui Concert Chorus of the Maui Choral Arts Association "aaa-ooo"ed in costume from the edges of the stage.

Many audience members were also in costume, and Chafetz prefaced each musical selection by scanning the audience for appropriate costumes. "Do we have any sea creatures here?" he asked before the familiar haunting strains of the "Jaws" theme began. "Any poodle skirts?" before a "Back to the '50s" medley.

For "Funeral March of a Marionette," the orchestra was joined onstage by the young dancers of the Maui Academy of Performing Arts. The dancers acted out the wooden movements of dolls under the enthusiastic direction of young puppet master Ryan Foree.

Now that the crowd was warmed up, the dance floor was lowered into place in front of the stage. Fairy princesses and firemen were already gathering in the aisles, ready to swing and swirl to the orchestra's "Big Bands Selections." Couples tangoed, dads twirled their daughters, and toddlers bounced up and down to Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

During intermission, judges circulated looking for the best costumes, and the second half included an informal "clap-off" Costume Contest. First prize went to a pair of aliens in the adult division and an adorable peacock in the keiki division. In the orchestra, second bassoonist James Perlman captured first prize as a giant insect, although first violinist (and Maui Pops "founding father") Jim Durham also received acclaim in a blond wig and pink tutu topped off with combat boots and a beard.

The audience was in for a treat when vocalists Debra Lynn and Jerry Eiting walked onstage to sing a thrilling duet: "All I Ask of You" from "Phantom of the Opera." Masked choral singers lined the upper balconies and both sides of the stage to sing "Masquerade" - a setup that looked wonderful in their festive costumes, but didn't allow the sound to blend quite as well as it might have.

Then the buttery-voiced Eiting returned with "Music of the Night," garnering bravos from the audience.

As the theme from "Spider-Man" began, a Spidey-suited second violinist Jaz Jernaill leapt to the stage and prowled the theater, to the watching kids' delight. "We don't really have fun in this orchestra; you can tell it's kind of boring!" Chafetz quipped to the audience, as he brought everyone back for an enthusiastic encore.

After almost 2 spooktacular hours, it was time to go home, but many of the kids on the dance floor would have been happy to stay as long as the orchestra would play. Now how's that for some early classical music appreciation?

— Maui News Article by Sky Barnhart


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