Article and photos by Anne E. O’Malley
Kaua`i has excellent singers, and the thrice yearly Kaua`i Sings! proves it. In its 6th Annual Kaua`i Sings! Christmas show titled Christmas Around the World singers pretty much covered the planet, from Bohemia to Spain, from Portugal to Ireland.
The cast was up to it, and that includes the musicians, headed by Rose Alfiler. The show must go on, and so it did when the piano music stand fell apart. Alfiler didn’t lose a note and from where he was seated at a front table, audience member Philip Steinbacher leapt swiftly and nimbly to the stage and helped repair the situation.
With so many skilled singers, it would be tough to single out performances, and certainly, there were a few who seemed to have fan clubs in the audience.
Juno Apalla performed a Filipino number, Pasko Na Sinta Ko beautifully and passionately.
Thom Newman performed Ave Maria reverently.
Leinani Springer, who always selects numbers that take her into minor keys and challenge the imagination as to how she gets there, sang a Danish carol, Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker.
James Norman, whose rock, jazz and blues voice usually belts out and brings down a house, this time showed a softer side to his passion, singing The Christmas Song.
Read more after the gallery of photos.
With the perfect accompaniment harp, played by Anela Lauren, Mary McDermott represented Ireland with a Celtic song Winter, Fire and Snow.
Visiting exchange student Diana Garcia Aguilar represented Latin America, singing Los Peces En El Rio.
Our singing Mayor, Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., took the mic to give his rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Tawna [Soltysik] Bensaid, with the voice of a pro, sang Silent Night in German.
Sean Texeira looked surprised by the thunderous applause that came in response to his rendition of Cantique de Noel.
And tenor Alan Van Zee’s performance of three selections in three different languages — Spanish, Dutch and Italian — was another hit, as were Karen Dickinson’s two selections of the evening, Adeste Fideles and What Child is This?
Jason Blake and Danny Zielinski founded the Kaua`i Sings! fundraiser, and it’s been a successful one. Blake focuses on producing and Zelinski is the production designer.
For this performance, the audience received a treat in the form of a variety of background slides. Some were funny — surfing Santas, crowds of little Asian kids in Santa suits — and others were geared to accompany the songs.
From famous works of art to Hebrew language and motifs, it was fun to see what would pop up next. Mayor Carvalho had SPAM ornaments and then the lighted Historic Kaua`i County Building at his back.
Band members included Alfiler, mentioned prior; Robert Cottingham on guitar; Paul Foti, bass; Marty Leonard, percussion, Isa Maria and Melody Harringer, on African drums for the opening Nigerian number; and Cary Valentine, drums.
Randy Leonard brought the Kaua`i Voices choral group.
Bobby V’s brought ono grinds to the event for the second year in a row.
Everyone participating in Kaua`i Sings is a volunteer, doing his and her part to raise funds for Malama Pono Health Services, just as the audience buying tickets does.
At every Kaua`i Sings, Executive Director D.Q. Jackson gives an update on the agency and keeps it short. The audience cheered to hear the good news that includes reduced incidences on Kaua`i of HIV, Hepatitis B and C and Chlamydia.
The mission of Malama Pono Health Services is to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, STDs and infectious hepatitis on Kaua`i through education, and to serve persons infected by those diseases.
Donations and attendance at Kaua`i Sings! help fund the gap between grant programs and regular conservative business expenses. Malama Pono is a Kaua`i United Way agency. Read more about it online at www.malama-pono.org.