When I grow up, I want to be like Liz Janes-Brown. Janes-Brown, who passed away on June 23, 2007 after battling breast cancer for a long time, did a little bit of everything here on Maui over the course of 40 years.
After attending the University of Hawaii, Manoa she taught English at Seabury Hall for 11 years. After teaching, she became the first female news director of a radio station in the state while working at KNUI. Brown was also a singer, dancer, actress and a wife and mother.
Most people know Janes-Brown best from her work in print. She wrote for the Maui Sun until 1981 and was a staff writer for The Maui News for over 17 years. While at the paper, she worked as the paper’s police and court reporter and later became the feature’s writer for the Currents section and Maui Scene.
Personally, I remember Janes-Brown the most from her “Let’s Talk” column that appeared in The Maui News every Sunday. In fact, years ago, I remember reading the column where she first talked about her breast cancer diagnosis. I was sitting on my grandparents’ couch in Wailuku. She continued writing her column until she retired on June 1, 2007, just weeks before she passed away.
Janes-Brown actively gave her time and talent to the community by emceeing many non-profit fundraisers and was a strong supporter of Hawaii Public Radio.
Even though Janes-Brown was taken from the Maui community, her legacy of good will lives on.
This Friday, June 11, The Studio Maui in Haiku is hosting the first Liz Janes-Brown Gala event featuring Sarala Dandekar, Ty Burhoe and Steve Oda to benefit Ola Maui and Hospice Maui.
Ola Maui’s mission is to “Offer affordable educational healing arts programs that integrate the body, mind, and spirit to create a renewed sense of wellbeing in self, family, work and community.”
Hospice Maui strives “to enrich our community by helping people make the most of the great gifts that preparing them for death can bring: compassion, insight, courage, humility, inspiration, confidence, and growth,” while, “providing physical comfort and emotional and spiritual support for people who are terminally ill and supporting and assisting their families, before the death and while they are grieving.”
Proceeds from the benefit will go to both these organizations to support their work with women and their families who are impacted by breast cancer.
The Celebration of Life Gala will feature an evening of celebration with yoga, local art, a silent auction, pupus, a tribute to Janes-Brown and an artistic performance “Devotion in Motion” featuring a collaboration of dance, poetry and music blending styles from India and the Far East.
Featured artists are Sarala Dandekarz, a Maui resident who has studied classical Indian dance since childhood, Ty Burrhou, a phenomenal tabla musician and Steve Oda, a master of Classical Indian music who has toured internationally for the past 35 years. MTW