Believe me when I say that there is nothing else like IT in the Pacific Northwest.... IT is the totally fantastic “Hoike in the Park” event that the Ke Kukui Foundation has sponsored for the past few years in the Esther Short Park in Vancouver, WA. The 2007 IT was the best yet.........imagine an hour long FREE concert featuring Hawaii Super-Stars Robert Cazimero, Manu Boyd, Vicky Holt Takamine, Leinaala Heine and local favorites the Brothers Kaloku and Keawe plus over 100 dancers performing authentic, traditional hulas followed by another five hours of continuous entertainment. Imagine a “Bite of Seattle” kind of event with over a dozen different Hawaiian vendors preparing/serving all kinds of Hawaiian Island style foods ranging from kalua pig to teriyaki chicken to sweet/sour ribs to shave ice to malasadas to musubi, et al (most similar Hawaiian events/Hoolauleas/Festivals have just one food vendor so being able to choose from so many vendors is really nice) All that and so much more was there for the thousands who visited/ate/drank and enjoyed themselves at this awesome 2007 “Hoike in the Park” event! Mark your 2008 calendars now as the two days (Thursday-Friday) Hula/Mele/Arts and Crafts Workshops and Saturday Hoike in the Park event will definitely hana hou (return) to Vancouver, WA during the last weekend of July 2008!!! Do sign up for the workshops if you like butat the very least, drive to Vancouver, WA on Saturday and enjoy the Hoike in the Park!
Ahhhh, the people....they came from all over the country to Vancouver to participate in the workshops and the Hoike...Lana`i guy Dennis Pavao came from Santa Fe, New Mexico....Kumu Hula Robin Kauhane brought a bunch of her “Kauhane School of Dance” haumana from Canada (including Shannon Watkins, Helen Laity, Lorraine Watkins)...Kumu Hula Keoni Fukino (Mililani HS 2002) had several of his Halau Hula `o Na Mele Kolea dancers from Grand Junction, Colorado there....Aunty Onie and her Halau Kamakahiwa dancers (Lani Melsbarger, Mahealani Jones, Alohikea Grant, Pualani Rendall and one of my very favorite dancers Makalea Krazan (who is an 18 wheeler Truck Driver when she’s not dancing)) came from the Tri-Cities, WA area......among Kumu Hula Manu Boyd’s favorite dancers were the Seattle Gang of Four (Jaydeen Keli`ihoomalu-Robinson, Kristy Yasue, U`ilaniMakaena and Melanie Panui) from Moodette Ka`apana’s Halau.....Kumu Hula Mahina Lazzaro and her Wahine Ilikea dancers came from the Renton, WA area...Kumu Hula Cyndi Aiona came from the Edmonds, WA area.... haumana attending from the Portland/Vancouver area included Martha Drum, Connie Tyson, Kanani Montrose, Ka`iliTabandera, Kinipela Henderson, Jessie Domingo..........
The workshops and Hoike featured the special talents of Kumu Hula Robert Cazimero, Manu Boyd, Vicky Holt Takemine, Tutu Kalei Heath Holt and entertainer Leina`ala Kalama Heine plus legendary feather lei makers Mary Lou Kekuewa and her daughter Paulette Kahalepuna who all flew in from Hawaii for the event...also flying in from Hawaii was musician Albert Holt who joined his sons (the “Brothers Kaloku and Keawe”) to make some awesome music!!!!
While the entire event was GREAT, the most fascinating “happening” I saw there was the “birth of a song”. At a Haku Mele class on Thursday, Manu Boyd gave the ten students a subject title (the Ahihi flower of Nuuanu) and the class created a story in Hawaiian about the Ahihi; later that evening, Manu and a few others put music to the words; early the next morning Kathy and I watched as Manu, Robert, Leina`ala and Vicky created hula movements for the song which, at the end of the day, the over 100 dancers attending the workshops were taught to do. On Saturday, at the Hoike in the Park, the beautiful song “Pua Ahihi O Nuu`anu” was introduced to the world! One of those who helped create the song (he was in the Haku Mele class and also helped develop the tune) is a nice, kinda shy guy who doesn’t get on stage much but he should because he is a great talent. His name is Kalani Kahaiali`i, a Lahaina Luna HS, Maui guy who can play multi instruments, really/really dance the hula and is an excellent singer. Kalani now lives in the Edmonds, WA area....for those not familiar with the Kahaiali`i name, Kalani has an equally talented (but a little more famous) brother named “Willie K”.....Last, but not least, a special Ho`omaika`i to the lovely and talented Kumu Hula Deva Yamashiro, the Ke Kukui Foundation and Hula Halau Kaleinani O ke Kukui members who put the whole package of workshops and Hoike together! It was awesome!
Show time!!! “Bobby’s Hawaiian Style Restaurant” in Everett, WA was selected as a “viewers choice” for the Food Network Channel’s“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” television program hosted by Guy Fieri. Getting exposure on national TV is an awesome tribute to “Bobby’s” very deserving owners Bobby and Diane Nakihei and their staff. Most of us who eat at “Bobby’s” know the food there is great but the guy who is responsible for informing the Food Network about “Bobby’s” is Vincent Abella (whose family is from Waipahu, Oahu). Vince is a Tech editor with Microsoft and was one of those (along with his son Chris, a senior at Newport HS) interviewed for the TV show. The segment on “Bobby’s” is expected to be on national TV sometime in September or October 2007. Congrats Bobby and Diane!!!!
So much happening but just never enough space to talk about it all...maybe next time.....gotta hele on...................a hui hou e malama pono............Danny
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