Maui Time

Symphony program brings the arts to Moloka‘i youth

The Hawaii Youth Symphony’s Molokai Strings Program continues to provide musical opportunities to students living on the Friendly Isle. This summer’s program – presented in partnership with Kaunakakai Elementary School teacher Bob Underwood – consisted of weekend-long workshops in which students received group and private instruction from experienced musicians Helen Liu (violin), Colin Belisle (viola), and Underwood. The youth learned four songs and also performed as a string orchestra; for many students, this was the first opportunity to receive private lessons.

“Molokai has a rich musical history, which connects students to music and builds a community,” said Randy Wong, President of Hawaii Youth Symphony. “The Molokai Strings workshop is just the beginning as the program has received tremendous praise from participants and support from donors wishing to create opportunities for young musicians to develop their appreciation for the arts.”

The Molokai Strings workshop inspired one member of the Friendly Isle’s community to make a $2,000 donation. Those funds will be utilized to continue the program for Molokai students, Wong said.

The Hawaii Youth Symphony, established as a non-profit organization in 1964, promotes and celebrates the importance of music study on academic achievement and social-emotional development. Its programs service youth through orchestral music education, performances, and community engagement. Each year, the organization serves more than 600 students 7 to 18-years-old  from more than 100 schools statewide. For more information, call (808) 941-9706 or visit

Photo courtesy Hawaii Youth Symphony