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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, November 15, 2002

Reichel is tuning up for youth concert

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Keali'i Reichel is focusing right now on an album he's recording, but he's also preparing for a concert Sunday, shepherding his hula halau and getting his house spiffed up.

'He Makana O Na Mele'

A benefit for the Hawai'i Youth Symphony Association

From 5 p.m. Sunday

Coral Ballroom, Hilton Hawaiian Village

$65, $125 (premium tables $600-$2,500)


Performances by the youth symphony I, directed by Henry Miyamura; silent auction; dinner

Talk about coming and going. Keali'i Reichel has been commuting between his Maui home and O'ahu because he's recording an album that's only half done.

"The album is a big part of my life now," said Reichel, who guest-performs with the Hawai'i Youth Symphony in a benefit concert Sunday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. "And I will preview some of the new songs with the youth symphony."

He's an ally of the young musicians, with a relationship that dates back five or six years. In some of his solo concerts, Reichel has enlisted the talents of the musicians, particularly the string section, to enhance his Hawaiian serenades.

"It's amazing what these kids are able to accomplish at such a young age," he said. "I find that their level of ability is comparable to adults sometimes. I've played with adult orchestras all through the country, in Hawai'i and in Japan, and these kids are right up there. I don't get too nervous performing with them."

But: "When you turn 40, and they call you uncle, I sometimes gnash my teeth," said Reichel, a local favorite and a multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner.

He's particularly having a tough time at multitasking.

"The new album takes a lot of time, but I'm also in the process of painting the house. And my (hula) halau is in full swing; we had auditions last March, and 150 showed up. We're down to a steadfast 40 or so now, and there's a lot of work to be done as we gear up" for concerts.

The youth symphony appearance will be his major fall/winter concert in Honolulu. But Reichel will have a cameo role in the Makaha Sons' Christmas concert Dec. 22 at the Renaissance 'Ilikai Hotel.

He's also eagerto do a Christmas album (the new one isn't a yuletide project) someday. Maybe next year.