Archive for July, 2015

  • Wonderful 18th Annual Slack Key Workshop

    We want to thank all 62 participants, our 16 instructors, 14 volunteers, 4 scholarship students and all our friends for coming to our 18th Annual workshop!

    This year Napili Kai Beach Resort cooked most of the meals allowing our own kitchen crew to concentrate on “supplementing” and enhancing. For instance, breakfast additions included boiled eggs from Wende Stitt, our farm grown papaya supplemented by strawberries from Kula and an assortment of other fruits and veggies supplied by Local Harvest and Maui Gold Pineapple thanks to the generosity of John Trino from Haliimaile. We also started two gardens. One was right in Napili at Wainani Kealoha‘s place (our show hula dancer). Among the many hands helping was Damon Parillo– who was nominated for the Hoku Hanohano music awards with his album “Kulewa”, and help from Dave Barry – our videographer. We grew greens for salads, basil and kale and rainbow swiss chard, and made kim chee for our workshop.

    From our Kahakuloa farm, we supplemented our meals with Okinawan, Korean and New Zealand spinach, beans, fennel, dill, green onions and tomatoes for lomi salmon, taro (used both for Ai pa’a, table eating and making poi), sweet potato, ti and luau leaf and stems for making laulaus. We also made kalua pig from various parts of two 350 pound dressed pigs raised by Sam Hambek, my hanai nephew in Haiku!

    Besides food, I was able to swim at least 3 times a day! 6 am, after lunch and before dinner! I also got to teach our Taro song “Na Ono I Ka Aina” that Kalani Meinecke and I wrote for Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole, way back in 1978 . Wainani Kealoha choreographed the hula and we all performed it at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC) on Sunday! I taught beginning, intermediate and chord modulation taro patch F slack key guitar, as well as chord modulations, Hawaiian songs and slack key ukulele! We got to cook 3 local style themed dinners featuring BBQ Night, Hawaiian Night and Filipino Night.

    Many thanks to Scott Hillman for setting up the schedule (and always outstanding photography), Nancy K for keeping us on task with some semblance of focus, and the staff of Napili Kai Beach Resort lead by Diane Farnsworth and general manager Greg Nelson all of whom provided such great service and worked so hard behind the scenes!  The Napili Kai Beach Resort also blessed us with the use of a 3-door, 50 cubic feet stainless steel refrigerator, so we didn’t have to buy so much ice and store perishable stuff in people rooms! We were also blessed this year at the workshop to have Helen Bigelow teaching lauhala, Wende Stitt teaching kapa-making, and we welcomed the return of Haley Sage Brozman! BrieAnne Prestwich taught voice lessons and Elliot was back up help. Besides teaching hula Wainani taught some lei making!

    Newcomers Stephen Inglis and Brother Noland added to our workshop Ohana and staff of teachers that included return instructors Kevin Brown, Led Kaapana, Jason Jerome, Sterling Seaton, Paul Togioka, Joel Katz on steel guitar and David Kamakahi teaching Ukulele. Brother Noland also taught the boys net throwing along with Peter DeAquino.

    We had two Institute of Hawaiian Music attendees from the University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC): Glen Keliikoa and Meaghan Owens. We were able to award two scholarships, courtesy of Helen Bigelow, in honor of Ed Bigelow. The recipient students were: Olelo Hamakua Poepoe from Molokai and is attending the UHMC Upward Bound program and Shem Kahawaii, a recent Kekaulike High School graduate with plans of attending the Institute of Hawaiian Music at UHMC (that I helped start and directed in 2010).

    This year Nancy brought to my attention the importance of our morning gatherings that Bob Brozman instituted as music warm ups to start the day! I was able to also use our morning sessions to teach the history of our featured Taro song “Na Ono I Ka Aina”.

    We are grateful that Roz Trino again made our T-shirts, this time produced in Bakersfield, California and brought all the way to us in Napili.

    An interesting side note; in the 18 years of conducting our Napili workshop, this year’s organizing was a lot less stressful and more organized than any of the past years. Unfortunately, financially, we’ve broken even only once or twice and this year was no exception. We’re always sensitive to keeping the tuition affordable and for what we charged this year, the magic break-even attendance number was 65-75 participants and we fell short at 62. Some things never seem to change.

    “A week of workshop lessons, activities and food: negative net of several thousand dollars…   …playing music together with new and old friends and learning new skills: Priceless!”

    Thanks to all of you for participating, sharing and being a part of this year’s wonderful workshop. That’s my 2 cents.

    –Uncle George