School’s out for the summer so you know what that means: lots of kids running rampant in the streets. Mostly, they’ll gather in packs at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, fill the skate park at Paia Youth & Cultural Center and crowd the surf and shore breaks at every beach. But for the past two weeks, the Arts Education for Children Group (AECG) has been practicing musical scores and getting ready for the annual Maui Invitational Band Festival.
The AECG started in 1996 when a group of parents decided it was time to address the issue of after-school childcare and arts education on Maui. Since that time they’ve developed after-school arts and cultural enrichment programs for Sacred Hearts School, Pukalani Elementary, Haleakala Waldorf, Emanuel Lutheran, King Kamehameha III and The West Maui Boys and Girls Club.
It’s nice to hear of such a productive feat accomplished by local parents. Their arts education philosophy (according to their website, www.aecg.org) is one that embraces the notion that “talent is not inborn.” Clearly, talent can only be developed through exposure to a nurturing and loving environment.
This is what AECG offers to every child aged five to 15—an opportunity to explore his or her creative boundaries as well as sharpen cognitive and abstract skills and concepts. Studies since the 1970s have shown that music-arts education does affect a child’s academic skills, particularly in the state-mandated standardized exams and SAT scores.
Their first performance takes place on Thursday in the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center at 7:30 p.m. The Maui Community Band kicks off the pre-show festivities under the direction of Lisa Owen. The main event features Maui’s own Uluwehi Guerrero, Oahu’s young cello prodigy Riana Anthony, the popular Zenshin Daiko and Jinpu Kai USA—Kin Lyosho Ryukyu Geino Ken Kyusho Okinawan Dancers. Yeah, try and say that just one time fast.
Then on Friday, New Yorker Carl Strommen will conduct his own “Fanfare for a Festival,” which he composed specifically for this event—we’ve got a world premiere here, people. He will by accompanied by the Maui Festival Wind Symphony in the Aloha Pavilion of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali at 6: 30 p.m.
On Saturday, California’s award-winning vibraphonist, Emil Richards, will conduct the Maui Festival Jazz Concert on Whalers Village center stage, also in Ka’anapali, at 5:30 p.m.
The concert on Sunday features Henry Allen and Friends, again at the center stage of Whalers Village. In addition, the performance will be filmed for a documentary series called “Legends of Hawaiian Music.”
Hey, you could be in a movie!
For the July 4 Celebration Concert, go to Lahaina to the seaside Library Lawn off Front Street between 6:30 and 8 p.m. Jamallad, led by Lucien Kouadio Kouassi (who sings in four languages) is opening, followed by Donkey Punch, the headliner for the evening led by Makana Argel (freshly high-school graduated local boy) and includes Maui musicians Mike Buono on drums, Doug White on bass, Gene Argel on keyboards and from Honolulu, blues harpist Larry Spaulding.
All Ka’anapali and Lahaina concerts are free to the public. Woo hoo!
The final concert of the festival is in Hana on July 5 at Helene Hall. It starts at 5 p.m. and Jamallad will make their second appearance. There will also be educational and cultural music workshops, which are open to all ages and are free. For more information, call 667-2805. MTW