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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, August 30, 2002

Entertainers join rescue squads for video gift

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer


"Give Aloha," a tune that brought island musicians together last year and took on special meaning after Sept. 11, will take a quantum leap this year when a video of the song, involving scores of singers, police, firefighters and citizens, is shot Sept. 8 in Waikiki.

The tune was composed by Jesse Rivera, with kokua from Kelly Boy DeLima, David "Kawika" Kahiapo and Kawika Crowley, as a means of bonding among a splintered musical community. While driving, Rivera heard a country tune called "Chain of Love" and decided Hawai'i needed its own anthem of love, kindness and fellowship. The song was recorded before Sept. 11, with more than 45 entertainers joining the initial effort, including Auntie Genoa Keawe, Three Plus, Jerry Santos, Moe Keale and Malani Bilyeu.

After Sept. 11, many in Hawai'i responded to the song's message. It was first broadcast at 6:45 a.m. Nov. 14, dubbed Synergy Hawaii Day, with more than 70 radio and TV stations statewide airing it simultaneously.

An excerpt: "We are the people of these Islands. We are the people of this world. Let us give aloha — a love we all deserve. Let us all come together, and make it a better place."

The Sept. 8 filming will use "Sunset on the Beach" at Queen's Surf Beach that day as a backdrop. The resulting video will be be offered as a gift to the people of New York City, and the entire endeavor has been labeled Project Give Aloha. Hawai'i's police, firefighters and other emergency workers — some in uniform — are expected to participate in the mass sing-along and taping, said organizer Rivera.

With the first anniversary of 9/11 around the corner, Rivera wanted to do something for terrorism victims and their families and extend the shelf life of the spirit-boosting song.

"The second year is just as important, if not more important, and thousands will be on the beach that day," said Rivera, a firefighter himself. "What a wonderful chance to show the aloha spirit."

Melveen Leed, Maunalua, Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and Ilona Irvine are among the early sign-ons for the Sept. 8 sing-out. Professional entertainers and members of the public are invited to participate.

Synergy Hawai'i organizers linked up with Central Pacific Bank, which is sponsoring the Sept. 8 "Sunset on the Beach" and Project Give Aloha. Proceeds from disc sales have been donated to Prevent Child Abuse, which has copies of "Give Aloha" for sale.

"We wanted to offer the people of Hawai'i an opportunity to share their compassion and aloha with New York City," said Clint Arnoldus, chairman, president and CEO of Central Pacific Bank.

"When we first recorded 'Give Aloha' less than a year ago, it was a dream come true," said Rivera. "Now, we want to build on that momentum and take it one step further by bringing in a cast of thousands and really spread our message of aloha."

A rehearsal, preceding the singing and taping, will take place at 4 p.m. at Queen's Surf Beach.

"Chicken skin," said Arnoldus, thinking of a mass gathering, representing the rainbow of ethnicities that reflect the aloha spirit.

The new version of the song will only be available on the video.

A second Synergy Hawai'i Day is set for Nov. 13, Rivera said.

To participate, entertainers and recording artists should contact Kymberly Pine, Synergy Hawai'i Day, at 352-5050; or Ann Takiguchi at Central Pacific Bank, 544-0685.