More than a dozen Seabury Hall alumni from around the world will perform together at the inaugural show and gala opening of the A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center this Friday and Saturday evening at 7pm. Seabury Director of Advancement Kathleen Buenger says the center is part of their “3A” plan for Academics, Athletics and Arts. The show, which carries the name “Re-Unite,” will include drama, music, art and dance by alumni reaching as far back as 1968 and as near as 2007.
“We started in the ‘90s building an athletics center,” says Buenger. “The following decade we built a brand new upper school building and added onto our middle school building for academics. And now, the culmination of the plan is the Creative Arts Center. You may not know that the current studio used for performing arts was a converted gym including a corrugated tin roof.”
Buenger says the capital campaign for the project is $7 million and that includes a $1 million endowment to cover the upkeep of the building. The center features a theater/lecture hall, arts gallery, dance studio, set shop and courtyard. The campus plans to use it for classes and performances as well offer the community a new venue for events. The center can seat 500 at full capacity, but also includes an outdoor space and allows for informal presentations in the dance studio and the foyer.
“The gala is not going to be your usual high school production; these alum performers are all accomplished professionals with an amazing range of talent and abilities,” says David Ward, Director of Dance at Seabury Hall. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work with some of these alum who were my students over 20 years ago! I could not be more proud and honored they are making the journey back to Maui to grace our stage one more time.”
Current and former faculty members will perform as well. Paul Wood, who founded the Creative Arts Department, will team up with with his successor Todd Van Amburgh for a display of scenes from Seabury’s Shakespeare pastiche, Live! Tonight! At the Globe! Students like acclaimed opera singer Kimball Wheeler (1968), Jazz composer Isaac Raz (1986), Alaskan composer Zak Wass (2003), dancer Julia Cost (2005) and Rachel Berman (2007)–currently cast in The House of Finnegan–will all return to Maui to perform.
The center will also honor the Seabury Alumni who have become artists, graphic artists, architects, painters and photographers with an art show in the gallery. All the pieces hanging will be for sale.
“It’s humbling to see the great work–going back years–from our alumni,” says Fine Arts Department Chair Lenda McGehee, who is organizing and designing this first-ever alumni exhibit. “I started at Seabury when Reid Johnson was here. Now he’s a working artist and graphic novelist whose drawings have appeared several times in the New York Times Magazine.”
Ward says the Performing and Fine Arts Department started in 1989 and has grown rapidly ever since. Buenger says they are at 80 percent of their funding goal with the Erdman family as the major contributor to the campaign. In fact, the building’s name “A’ali’ikuhonua” comes from a mele Keali’i Reichel wrote to honor Pard Erdman, who then bestowed the name to the theater.
Construction began in July 2011. The original completion date was April 2012, but that was moved back to September because of construction and weather delays. Flansburg Architects received support from local architects Reicke Sunnland and Kono Architects. The general contractor was Arita Poulson.
“The current student body will benefit greatly from the creative arts center both on and off the stage,” says Ward. “We are going to implement new tech and design classes, costume design, and front of house education. We also hope to add new programs and festivals that will open the doors to students from high schools island-wide such as music festivals, hula festivals and dance and theater summer school intensives. This is going to be a monumental event for us at Seabury Hall.”
See “Re-Unite” this weekend at Seabury Hall. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and include complimentary desserts and beverages. For information and reservations, call 808-573-1257.
Additional research by Oliver de Silva