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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2006

Cultural masters join Windward Ho'olaule'a

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

'UKULELE, HULA LESSONS

'Ukulele & hula lessons will be offered at the Windward Ho'olaule'a: A Homegrown Celebration.

Provided through Windward Community College's Hawai'i Music Institute, lessons will be set for 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. tomorrow at WCC.

Discount for seniors, scholarships for students grades 6 through college level. For lesson reservations: call 235-7433 or visit http://ocet.wcc.hawaii.edu. Admission to the ho'olaule'a is free.

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KANE'OHE 'Ukulele and hula masters are joining the Windward Ho'olaule'a this year, adding lessons to the mix of cultural entertainment and keiki activities.

Known for its local performers, college participation and tempting food offerings, the 6th annual Windward Ho'olaule'a, themed "A Homegrown Celebration" this year, will for the first time offer 'ukulele and hula classes taught by accomplished musicians and dancers for all levels of students.

The daylong event, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Windward Community College, will also feature an array of Hawaiian cultural displays, from woodcarving and poi pounding to canoe building and plant identification.

Coordinated by Windward Community College and the Kaneohe Business Group, Windward Ho'olaule'a intends to give people an authentic Hawaiian experience through participation in dance and music, said Libby Young, coordinating committee member and WCC professor.

"We want to show them the depth of Hawaiian culture and give them the thrill of having some instructions from some of the best in the business," Young said.

Participating 'ukulele masters include: Benny Chong, a standout guitar and jazz 'ukulele player; Gordon Mark, a popular instructor in classical, pop and local music; Herb Ohta Jr., son of the famed Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta and well known for his own talent; Bruce Shimabukuro, brother of Jake Shimabukuro and gifted arranger and composer; and Ron Loo, a WCC professor, slack-key and traditional 'ukulele player.

Kumu hula masters taking part include: Noenoe Zuttermeister, Merrie Monarch judge, and Holoua Stender, who has a halau at Kamehameha Schools.

Ron Loo, who is coordinating the entertainment and lessons for the ho'olaule'a, said students will have the opportunity to sit with and learn from the greatest players and dancers, who are enthusiastic about sharing.

"There's a lot of great players, but a lot of them are not interested in sharing what they know and what they've developed over the years," Loo said. "What's really special about this group of folks that will be teaching for us is they enjoy relating to the folks that come here whether they're gifted in 'ukulele, whether they have two left hands."

Loo has also lined up entertainers with Windward connections, including Kapena, Melveen Leed, Eddie Kamae and 2006 Na Hoku winners Holunape.

In addition, the event will feature used books and white elephant sales, raku demonstration, shows at the college's Imaginarium, bonsai exhibits and community booths.

For more information, visit www.wcc.hawaii.edu/hoolaulea.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com.