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    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    PAT MORITA - we will miss you.

    Hawaii isn't the only place that embraced the talents of Pat Morita. The Oscar nominated actor was loved all around the world. From "Happy Days" to "Mr. T and Tina" to "The Karate Kid" to our own local television commercials, we will miss Pat who has been a part of our pop culture lives for the last thirty years.

    Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73. Morita died Thursday, November 24th, 2005, at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes, said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her husband, who first rose to fame with a role on "Happy Days," had "dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy." In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the mentor to Ralph Macchio's "Daniel-san," he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as "wax on, wax off" to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills.

    Morita said in a 1986 interview with The Associated Press he was billed as Noriyuki "Pat" Morita in the film because producer Jerry Weintraub wanted him to sound more ethnic. He said he used the billing because it was "the only name my parents gave me." He lost the 1984 best supporting actor award to Haing S. Ngor, who appeared in "The Killing Fields."

    For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and TV series such as "The Odd Couple" and "Green Acres." His first breakthrough came with "Happy Days," and he followed with his own brief series, "Mr. T and Tina."

    "The Karate Kid," led to three sequels, the last of which, 1994's "The Next Karate Kid," paired him with a young Hilary Swank.

    Morita was prolific outside of the "Karate Kid" series as well, appearing in "Honeymoon in Vegas," "Spy Hard," "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" and "The Center of the World." He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie "Mulan" in 1998.

    Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II. "One day I was an invalid," he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. "The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece."

    After the war, Morita's family tried to repair their finances by operating a Sacramento restaurant. It was there that Morita first tried his comedy on patrons. Because prospects for a Japanese-American standup comic seemed poor, Morita found steady work in computers at Aerojet General. But at age 30 he entered show business full time. "Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did," he commented. "If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons. " Morita was to be buried at Palm Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery. He is survived by his wife and three daughters from a previous marriage.

    Below is an article written by Charles Goodin who is Online editor of Furyu Online and Assistant Editor of Furyu The Budo Journal. He trains in Matsubayashi-ryu karate, Muso Shinden-ryu iai and judo. In his "real life," he is a lawyer specializing in real estate and is completing his first novel.

    Noriyuki Pat Morita:
    In the Footsteps of a Sensei
    by Charles C. Goodin

    Everyone has their favorite Pat Morita role: Arnold, from Happy Days; the indecisive Japanese officer in Midway (who advised that the planes be armed with bombs. . .No, make that torpedoes). . .Ohara; Mr. T from Mister T and Tina-America's first television series starring an Asian-American; the taxi driver in Honeymoon in Vegas; the countless zany characters in two decades of Hawaii television commercials. . .

    The list is long for a man who, at the age of 30, decided to leave his job as a department head of a California aerospace firm and --of all things -- would choose to become a comedian.

    However, in the hearts and minds of millions of movie fans around the world Pat Morita is "Miyagi sensei." The Karate Kid, followed by the even more commercially successful Karate Kid II, propelled him into international stardom. As a result, he was nominated for an Oscar as the Best Supporting Actor in 1985. And, amidst innumerable other accolades, was last year honored with a Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

    While Noriyuki "Pat" Morita is undoubtedly the most recognized "sensei" in the world, he is the first to honestly admit that, except for some training for the Karate Kid films, he has never formally practiced a martial art (he was briefly exposed to judo as a teenager by his cousins but this mostly consisted of learning how to tumble).

    I met Pat a few years ago through a mutual friend whose daughter trained at my karate dojo. In a very real sense he has become my screenwriting sensei and we've often met to discuss innumerable projects and ideas. Once, as we were leaving a restaurant in Honolulu a young man across the street yelled out happily at the top of his lungs, "Hey! Mr. Miyagi!"

    Another time at the Ilikai Hotel an elderly Japanese gentleman came up to us and bowed very respectfully. After exchanging a few pleasantries in Japanese, Pat turned to me and explained that the man was a karate sensei from Japan who was a great admirer of his movies.

    The same thing happens at the beach, or in hotels, airports, at shopping malls. . . everywhere he goes. Children are especially enchanted. You can tell from the glow on all their faces that they are meeting their hero. Morita's parents emigrated from Japan to California just after the turn of this century. He was born on June 28, 1932 as Noriyuki Morita in Isleton, California, and is the youngest of two children. His father was an itinerant fruit worker who followed the harvests and worked in the off-season as a nurseryman and handyman.

    Life was simple and hard-dirt floors, a single bulb for electricity, a leaky roof. Then, at the tender age of two, the young "Nori" was stricken with spinal tuberculosis and was abruptly taken away from his family. For the next nine years, he was hospitalized at Weimar Joint Sanatorium in Northern California, and for a brief period at the Shriner's Hospital in San Francisco.

    Due to the nature of his disease and the therapy of the time, young Noriyuki would spend the subsequent years bedridden in a body-cast from shoulder to knees. Unlike other children, he could not run and play, much less even walk.

    ". . .So I made puppets out of socks to entertain the nurses and other kids," Morita recalls. "In many ways, who knows. . .? If it weren't for my disease, I might not be where I am today. . . During that time, for a short spell (fortunately), we had a very strict head nurse-Miss Roberts. She was like a Hitler, the kind of nurse that if, during our afternoon nap, somebody giggled or farted, she would come right through the ward with an 18-inch ruler, pull back the covers and give everybody five or ten whacks. I didn't care because I had a body-cast. So all she could do was whack the cast. It made good noise. I think that's when I became an actor: 'Ow, ow, ow!' My first acting job-pain. But I think I had a lousy agent!"

    During these formative years, Morita was told on a daily basis that he would never be able to walk. Eventually, four vertebra in his spine were fused. And because he was a real fighter, he would prove his doctors wrong b y walking out of the hospital at the age of 11.

    In an ironic twist of fate, America had entered World War two years earlier, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Morita's family, like over 110,000 other Americans of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast (Hawaii was not subject to mass internment orders), were interned. Morita walked well enough to be picked up at the hospital by an FBI officer who transported him by car, train and bus to the Gila Internment Camp in Arizona.

    Morita recalls: "I remember he wore dark glasses and had a mustache and was carrying a gun. Imagine that. I think back to the ludicrosity of it all: an FBI man escorting a recently able-to-walk spinal tubercular 11-year-old to a place behind barbed wire in the middle of nothing!"

    Going directly from the confines of a hospital bed to the even-greater confinement of an internment camp, Morita was suddenly surrounded by a Japanese-speaking family and other camp internees of Japanese ancestry. He had spoken only English at the hospital, so it was a cultural shock at first. But he made friends and adapted.

    "I remember doing the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the school day. It was in a barracks. . . (I remember) my English class; and looking out the window and seeing the American flag waving, juxtaposed against a guard tower in the background, I had this sense of 'What's this all about?' Why am I saying 'liberty and justice for all'? I was too young to rationalize this, but I do remember that the hurt of bigotry began early on and was to last for many, many years. Whenever I think about it, it still hurts."

    During the latter part of the War, the family was relocated to the Tule Lake Internment Camp in California. Recalling those camp days, the young Morita would anxiously look forward to the arrival of newspapers. Most were written in Japanese but some included small sections in English. He recalls a man walking all day throughout the camp yelling "Rocky Shinpo, Rocky Shinpo!" This was a Japanese-language newspaper published in Colorado. Sometimes other newspapers were brought or mailed by visitors and relatives.

    Whenever a newspaper arrived, everyone was eager to know about the latest exploits of the Nisei (Japanese American) soldiers in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Battalion. Cheers would resound throughout the camp whenever accounts of their heroism were read and repeated.

    The soldiers in the 442nd, 100th, MIS (Military Intelligence Service; the US military's translation and interrogation unit) and 1399th were composed primarily of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the US Mainland, who become renowned for their acts of courage and sacrifice. So many soldiers were killed or wounded in action from the 100th that it became known as the "Purple Heart Battalion." The 442nd, which absorbed the 100th and fought in Europe, became the most highly decorated unit of its size and length of service in the entire history of the US Army. And Gen. Douglas McArthur's staff credits the men of the MIS for shortening the war in the Pacific by at least two years, thereby savings countless thousands of American and Japanese lives.

    Morita recalls many emotionally-charged scenes in the camps in which parents sent their sons off to serve for the very country which was imprisoning their families. He especially remembers an old man gripping his only son and saying tearfully, "You just be a good goddamn soldier. Don't embarrass your momma."

    That young man, along with a great many others, would never return to his family. Morita can still envision that soldier's mother staring hour after hour at a small paper flag bordered in blue with a gold star on it. She was the "Gold Star" mother; someone who had lost a son in the war for the United States.

    After the war ended and the internees were released, there were many more hard years. Eventually the family resettled in Sacramento and opened a restaurant. It was called the "Ariake Chop Suey" (after the area in Japan where Morita's father was born). They served Chinese food in apredominately black section of town. Morita and his father worked 14-hour-days in the kitchen and his mother, aunties and cousins served the food.

    This probably explains why today Morita can still whip up great Chinese food. Later in life, Morita would discover that his father was able to book large parties because he included his son's services as an emcee. The young Morita developed his self-confidence performing before crowds that reached up to 300 people.

    Shortly after graduating from high-school, he joined an aerospace company on the outskirts of Sacramento, where he worked his way up to becoming the head of the computer operations department. But after a number of years, Morita became discontented. His weight shot up to nearly 200 pounds which, on his 5-foot, 3-inch frame, made him look like, in his words, "a Japanese butterball." He did not have a college degree or specialized training and realized that he had reached the top of his then chosen career path.

    So, despite having a good job with security, a four-bedroom home and a wife, child, mother-in-law and three household pets depending on him, he decided that he wanted something more out of life.

    The rest, as they say, is show-business history. Fast forward 23 years. At the age of 53, Morita lands the role of Miyagi sensei in The Karate Kid. And, he has to work hard to earn it. There were five call-backs, five days of rigorous rehearsals, followed by three solid months of 10-hours-a-day hard training.

    The executive producer of the project was initially opposed to casting a "comedian" in the dramatic role. Morita convinced him and all the studio heads that he was the definitive Miyagi.

    The role was physically demanding, to say the least. Morita's childhood back problems made it impossible for him to jump around with co-star Ralph Macchio and the other young, athletic actors. But with his usual "never-say-quit" attitude, coaching by karate champion Pat Johnson, and stunt-double work by the world-renowned Fumio Demura, the action scenes in the film were to become indelibly convincing and memorable. For this author, I can say that there is a lot of Pat Morita in the Miyagi character-more than most people realize. In many ways, Miyagi is an amalgamation of Morita's father and friends from that older generation. When Morita's older brother, Harry, saw the film he said with a tear in his eye, "That's Papa up there."

    The script for the film did not provide the "back story" for the character; that is, the life events which shaped the character of Miyagi and contributed to his inner strength. This essential element was largely supplied by Morita, drawing from his own life experiences and impressions.

    One of the most critically acclaimed moments in the film is known as the "drunk scene" (Daniel-san races to Miyagi's house late one night after being bullied at a restaurant.) Morita recalls that the script merely stated that "Daniel finds Miyagi... three sheets into the wind. . .singing. That was it. No dialogue, no reason, no why. . . no nothing! Gimme a break."

    Morita went to the director, John Avildsen, to ask about the scene. They were already in production and filming around it.

    "I say, 'John, we got a problem. What's this scene all about? Three sheets into the wind, singing. -What?' God bless him forever for being receptive."

    Morita suggested the use of a Japanese song he heard as a child in the internment camps. Then he added as a background, "How about every three or four years Miyagi allows himself the luxury of lamenting the son he never had, a son that was to be, a son that he would never see? But, while he was off at war, he learns that mother and child died from complications in childbirth as a result of the deplorable medical conditions present in the internment camp."

    Morita also suggested that Miyagi was a 442nd vet and had received a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in battle, which deeply troubled his psyche. "Why had he survived the horrors of battle while his wife and child died?"

    All the answers to these powerful elements were supplied by Morita, but very few people were ever aware of his contribution to the scene, or of the parallels to his own life and images from his childhood.

    Over the years, Morita formed many lifelong friendships with veterans of the 442nd and 100th. In fact, he has been made an honorary member of the 442nd, "C" Company, and was the emcee for their 50th anniversary celebration in Hawaii just a couple of years ago.

    The veterans' group recognized that his portrayal of Miyagi as a member of the 442nd was motivated by a deep and abiding personal sense of admiration and pride. He will forever be instilled with that pride.

    Morita is often asked about his role as a "sensei" and the lessons he would like to teach. He wonders why people ask such questions of "an actor who is still struggling to find his own way in life. I don't think I was put on the earth in our time to perpetuate answers to these depth-of-soul-searching questions. Rather, if at all, maybe I've been put on this earth to merely raise these queries in the hearts of others as a result of my actorial interpretive skills- to simply pose these kinds of questions: not necessarily to answer them. Good luck to each of us who walks, crawls, steps or drags through any given time on this earth. Indeed, God bless us all!"

    As mentioned earlier, Morita is the first to admit that he is an actor, not a karate sensei. But, my observation is, he truly epitomizes the positive qualities of so many of the budo teachers I've met over the years. Morita has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles-physical, racial and professional-all with a quiet sense of determination and dignity.

    What is a sensei? The word "teacher" is an in adequate translation at best, but it is formed by two characters, sen-, which means "before" or "previous," and -sei which means "born" or "life." In other words, a sensei is an elder, in particular, an elder deserving of respect. In that sense, Pat Morita is a sensei in the truest sense of the word and those of us in the budo world are fortunate and grateful for the positive role model he has established for us. But, as he has told this writer many times: "Me. . . I'm so lucky I just got to play the part."


    I always found it interesting that the name chosen for the sensei in The Karate Kid was actually the name of a famous figure in the history of Okinawan karate-do: Miyagi Chojun (1888-1953), the founder of Goju-ryu. This Miyagi was also a participant in the 1936 "Meeting of Masters" described in Volume 1, Issue 4, Spring-Summer 1995 of Furyu ("When Masters Meet," by Patrick McCarthy, pages 10-17). Unlike the Miyagi" in The Karate Kid, however, the real Miyagi was a stocky and powerful man. In fact, there is a striking resemblance between Sato sensei (Danny Kamekona), the nemesis in Karate Kid II, and the legendary Miyagi. The irony is that both Kamekona and Morita, as well as Toshiro Mifune, were all considered to play the part of Miyagi.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Bruce Springsteen Honors The Raspberries From Stage

    On stage in Greensboro, NC, Bruce Springsteen dedicated "All That Heaven Will Allow" to the Raspberries, fondly recalling their "Greatest Hits" cassette in his car stereo in the late '70s, and on a stop in Pittsburgh, PA he called "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" a 'classic' and told the audience to go get it!

    Rock artist and songwriter, Eric Carmen, shares his appreciation:

    Just finished reading the posts debating the merits of Bruce, both humanitarian and musical. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Here's mine.

    Bruce Springsteen totally gets it. When I listened to the "Born To Run" album ( which I did, by the way, during the time that I was writing the "Boats Against The Current" album, almost every night) it did everything for me that a great record should do. It drew me in, it made me smile, it made me think, it gave me chills, it inspired me. Those were brilliant songs, movingly performed.

    Every time I hear "Born In The USA" I wish I had written it. That's a special secret award songwriters reserve for only those songs that make them a little bit envious that they didn't think of it first. Sometimes it's a couple of lines, ("Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac…") sometimes it's the whole song ("Desperado").

    The breakdown section toward the end of the record when Max starts playing those seemingly random, erratically brilliant drum fills and finally explodes back into the opening synth riff, followed by Bruce's primal scream is as perfect a rock 'n roll moment as I have ever heard. It gives me chills every time I hear it. It took me a couple of spins before I realized that all that tension, all that emotion, all that fire, was created using only the same two chords from beginning to end. Over and over, just two simple chords. That, my friends, is genius.

    Bruce is the goods.

    Now on to the "humanitarian" side of the debate. In all the years that Bruce has been on top, I've never heard a single person say one bad thing about him. That is extraordinary. That says a lot about him. As far as I can see he doesn't drink, use drugs or make a fool of himself in public places. He doesn't have to say one word about the Raspberries when he walks on that stage in front of 20,000 fans every night. The fact that he's done it two nights running is the ultimate compliment.

    Bruce knows we get it, too.

    When he mentioned "'Overnight Sensation" I couldn't help but think of that drum fill after the fake piano fade, and I wondered if maybe he and Max had listened to it one night and said, "Let's do something like that here at the end of "Born In The USA." And maybe that inspired him and he inspired me. That's the way music works. One artist inspires another.

    Just between us, Bruce is as good as it gets. And when he mentions us or our records on that stage we are eternally grateful. Amen.


    Read the reactions of fans at

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    CD Maker Targets Do-It-Yourself Market

    CD Maker Targets Do-It-Yourself Market

    By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
    Sun Apr 9, 9:47 PM ET

    PENNSAUKEN, N.J. - You might think a slump in compact disc industry would be bad news for a CD manufacturer. But no one is complaining at Disc Makers.

    Sales of CDs have declined four out of the last five years and fewer sold last year than in 1995. Still, business is thriving at Disc Makers, a Pennsauken company that made more than 30 million audio CDS last year, up 11 percent from 2004.

    CD Makers turns recordings into records for independent musicians famous (reggae icon Burning Spear, for example) and fledgling (ever hear of the Illinois-based blues rockers the Kung Fu Mamas?).

    "It's almost like we're selling them a dream," said Tony van Veen, the company's executive vice president.

    The company, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, began loosening its ties with the mainstream recording industry nearly 20 years ago. Until then, Disc Makers' main business was wooing big contracts to manufacture records for the big record labels.

    Now, Disc Makers does not seek any of those contracts.

    Instead, it sends catalogs and attends trade shows in an effort to win the business of musicians one by one, helping do-it-yourselfers do it themselves. With its DVD service, it does the same thing for aspiring filmmakers.

    The do-it-yourself boom comes at a time when big labels' CD sales are on the decline, partly because so many music fans are downloading their music — either legally or illegally. Last year, mainstream CD sales in the U.S. declined by 8 percent from 767 million to 705 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, a lobbying group for the nation's major record companies.

    Van Veen said his company does not need to worry about the music-buying public. It concentrates only on doing what the musicians want. "If we're going to make a product that doesn't quite match with the one in musician's mind's eye, it's a disaster. We've ruined their career," he said.

    Disc Makers is not a record label, so it does not choose which CDs to make. And while it offers help — displays for selling CDs, for example, and coupons for hosting services for musicians' Web sites — it does not promote the recordings it replicates.

    It is also not a recording studio. Artists record their music elsewhere — anywhere from a pricey studio in Sweden to a home computer in their basement — and send it to Disc Makers.

    In its factory outside Philadelphia, the company manufactures CDs and prints the labels for them in batches as small as 300. The price for 300 discs starts at $300. The company has engineers who tweak the recordings to make them sound cleaner and graphic designers who assemble the packaging.

    Without distribution deals, Disc Makers' customers sell their music on their own at concerts, independent record stores and through online outlets such as CD Baby. Ben Kihnel, customer service person for the online store, said far more of its products were manufactured by Disc Makers than by any other company.

    David Berger, a New York-based jazz composer and conductor who has used Disc Makers for three of his albums, said he sees the CDs as "expensive business cards" that he can sell at his concerts and use to book his band, the Sultans of Swing.

    He said that the downside of the vanity music press is that the volume of CDs it produces makes it harder for the good ones to get noticed. "Now I'm competing against 100,000 people who are putting out records, most of which are pretty sad," Berger said.

    Dave Asti, who plays banjo and guitar for the Hillbilly Gypsies ("West Virginia's hardest-driving bluegrass band," as he describes them) said his band has sold about 500 copies of its debut album "One Foot in the Gravy," from the 2,000 it ordered from Disc Makers earlier this year.

    The professional-looking CD is a big step up for the band, which had previously produced CDs by burning them one-by-one on band members' computers.

    He said that philosophically, the band wants to remain independent as long as it can. But there's a business reason as well. "All profits go directly to us," he said.

    That's why some musicians — even those well-known enough to record for labels — admire Disc Makers as an alternative to a mainstream recording industry that is hardly loved by musicians.

    "We got tired of record company taking the product. They give you an advance. They never give you any royalties," said Sonia Rodney, the wife and manager of reggae veteran Burning Spear, who has used Disc Makers to put out 13 new and back-catalog albums in the past four years. "Spear wanted to be independent. Spear wanted to be a free man. He wanted to be free from all record labels, period."


    On the Net:

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Lahainaluna High School's 175th Anniversary

    A rainbow arcs above the Lahainaluna "L," a landmark carved into a hill above the school in West Maui.

    Considering that most of the staff of "The Time Machine" attended Lahainaluna High School for four glorious years, it seemed natural to share our school spirit by including some of the news coverage of our 175th anniversary and David Malo Day Celebration that continues a tradition that is rare in high schools in Hawaii and unique from any school in America's educational system.

    Before we begin here a few historical facts concerning the oldest school west of the Rockies:

    Lahainaluna began as a seminary boarding school for men taught by missionaries.

    It was built by the Rev. Lorrin Andrews and opened on Sept. 5, 1831.

    In 1849, Lahainaluna shifted from the care of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions to the Hawaiian government.

    In 1916, the school came under the management of the Lahainaluna School Commission.

    In the fall of 1923, it became a public technical high school, admitting both girls and boys.

    And, in September 1961, the school was designated as a comprehensive high school serving both boarders and day students. Baby boomers, The MTV Generation and Gen X have all passed thru this educational institution with a view of West Maui, Kaho'olawe, Lanai and Molokai that inspired generations.

    Retired Lahainaluna High School teacher Andrew Kutsunai (left) and 1951 Lahainaluna graduate Stanley Takeuchi volunteered as guides Wednesday at the archival display in the campus library. The display of photos, documents and artifacts is one of several features marking this week’s celebration of Lahainaluna’s 175th anniversary.

    The following two stories were written by Claudine San Nicolas of The Maui News:

    Looking back @ Lahainaluna

    An archival display celebrating 175 years of Lahainaluna High School opened years of memories for alumni visiting the campus this week.

    “It gives me shivers seeing this,” said 1951 graduate Stanley Takeuchi.

    “My mind is just blown away,” 1979 alumna Victoria Street said.

    “This is so nice,” commented 1963 Lahainaluna boarder Jesse Dudoit. “It lets us reminisce.”

    High school sweethearts James Higuchi, a 1944 graduate, and wife, Futaba Murayama Higuchi, Class of 1945, paused at each item on display in the Lahainaluna library, taking time to point out photos of people they knew in the past.

    “We haven’t come here for years,” James Higuchi said. “It’s fun,” Futaba Higuchi added.

    The archival display is one of this week’s features of the 175th anniversary celebration. The display, which opened free to the public Monday, is on view from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

    The archive committee researched items and set up the display. Committee members are graduates Alberta Nobu, Bob Kawaguchi and Lynn Kaho’ohalahala, plus three people with longtime Lahainaluna ties – panel Chairman Andrew Kutsunai, dormitory matron Susan Yap and school librarian Sharyl Seino.

    Among Kutsunai’s favorite items is a 1920 Remington typewriter found covered with dust in the school’s storeroom.

    “You know in this age of technology, to see something like this, it just fascinates me,” he said.

    To verify the typewriter’s vintage, committee members painstakingly scoured 1920s yearbooks until they found the exact machine pictured in a typewriting class at Lahainaluna.

    Many displayed items were donated, while others were found on the campus and researched for authenticity and explanations.

    Photos, documents and artifacts are displayed in four time frames – 1831-1931, 1932-56, 1957-81 and 1982-2006 – each period with its own table and display boards built by Lahainaluna carpentry students.

    School T-shirts from almost every year since 1982 are hung on the Lahainaluna library windows, and extra yearbook photos from years past lie in boxes for the viewing public to take if desired.

    The 175th anniversary display includes:

    A 1940s office leather mailbag. “They must have used this over and over again to get the mail from one place to another . . . yet somehow it was preserved,” Kutsunai said.

    Empty “Lahainaluna” egg cartons and an egg-weighing scale from the school’s former poultry farm operated by boarders. Eggs were sized as small, medium or large.

    “Imagine they took each egg by hand and sorted it one by one,” Kutsunai said.

    The farm and dairy operated from the 1940s until sometime in the 1960s.

    “They couldn’t keep up with the private industry,” Kutsunai said. “The kids were working the old ways, and technology was hard to keep up with.”

    The oldest-known diploma dated June 1920 and belonging to the late Nobuyuki Watanabe. His daughter donated the diploma to the archive committee, which verified the diploma’s authenticity by finding Watanabe’s senior photo in the 1920 Lahainaluna yearbook.

    “There could be others who have one at their home that are older than this,” Kutsunai said.

    A rusty 1920s milk stool, measuring about 1 foot high by about 2 feet in diameter.

    A framed photo of the 1908 Lahainaluna boys basketball team, with players dressed in shorts, long-sleeved shirts and kerchief ties around their necks.

    “We have to do more research on this,” Kutsunai said. “I don’t think they played basketball in these clothes."

    A framed photo of the champion 1926 Lahainaluna girls basketball team.

    “I hope they didn’t wear those shoes when they played,” Kutsunai said of strapped, closed-toe shoes with 1-inch heels evident in the picture.

    Undated photos of Lahainaluna boarders enjoying an old pastime: playing catch with poi tossed into a koa bowl.

    “Every meal they had fish and poi, and I guess this is what they did for fun with the poi,” Kutsunai said.

    Yearbook photos taken by Street herself in 1979 when the coolest car was a Volkswagen and popular footwear were Famolare girls shoes that “weighed about 5 pounds each but they were stylin’. You were looking good when you wore them,” Street said.

    Senior ball wine glasses from the 1980s and 1990s. The school no longer distributes such glasses.

    “The whole liquor thing – although the students didn’t drink, people thought it’s like promoting alcohol,” Kutsunai said.

    After this weekend’s celebration, display items will be placed in a special room set aside in the Lahainaluna library. Kutsunai said the school will continue to accept items for its archive.

    Freshman Sublina Lejjena, 15, dances under the spotlights during the David Malo Day pageant Saturday night at the Lahainaluna High School athletic field. Sublina was one of many students that lent their talents to the celebration, and she said it was a privilege to participate. "I’m so glad to be here, to be a part of it," she said.

    Lahainaluna Reunited

    LAHAINA – A bright three-quarter moon rose high above the steep slopes of Mount Ball and the Lahainaluna "L" as nearly 3,000 people gathered Saturday evening to celebrate 175 years of history and something even more important – each other.

    "We wanted to bring people back to their roots, to Lahainaluna, and we were able to do that. That was the whole idea of this – bring people back and together," said Marion Mueller, chairwoman of the 175th celebration of Lahainaluna High School, founded in 1831 as the oldest high school west of the Rockies.

    Lahainaluna pride was in full bloom as long-separated classmates – many of them returning after 10, 20, 50 years and even one, 70 years later – hugged each other and talked excitedly at Lahainaluna High School’s athletic field before feasting on luau food, enjoying Hawaiian entertainment and reminiscing about their high school years.

    This past week, activities at Lahainaluna included campus tours, an archival display, a parade down Front Street and Saturday night’s luau and annual David Malo Day pageant.

    Every event featured hugs and tears of happiness from school alumni.

    Georgette Kahahane, a 1973 alumna, said a classmate of hers cried every few steps in a parade Friday night on Front Street.

    "She kept saying ’I can’t get over how we can get together after so long.’ It was real emotional," Kahahane said.

    Ralph Murakami, a retired Maui District superintendent and former Lahainaluna principal, said he has long sensed something special at Lahainaluna.

    "It really hits you," Murakami said, looking into the crowd primed for Hawaiian luau food and entertainment. "This place was always something special, and you get attached to it."

    Retired Principal Henry "Bru-no" Ariyoshi spent the last 17 years of his career at Lahainaluna, retiring in 1995 when current Principal Mike Nakano took over.

    "This outshines the 150th," Ariyoshi said, noting that while the 150th celebration drew hundreds, it did not draw the large crowd seen Saturday night.

    Ariyoshi said he believes the boarding department – the only one of its kind at a public high school in the nation – has a lot to do with why David Malo Day is so special at Lahainaluna.

    The boarders worked to prepare luau food and took an active role in the pageant, learning Hawaiian chants and hula so that they could celebrate Hawaii’s and their school’s rich history.

    The other reason that Lahainaluna can hold such grand reunions is the relatively small size of classes that lead to strong personal bonds among students, he said.

    "Really for a long time we just had 700 students and now even with a thousand, that’s considered small (for a major public high school on Maui)," he said. Most of the students live on the west side and are neighbors to each other on the same streets.

    "This is a one community school," Ariyoshi said, "so everybody knows each other."

    And so the 175th celebration became a time to get reacquainted.

    Paulina Raposas Quinsaat, a 1956 graduate, sat with classmates to enjoy a plate full of kalua pig, lomi salmon, haupia, pineapple and poi. It was an occasion, she said, to savor life with her fellow classmates.

    "We made it," she said beaming with a smile.

    "I’m just thankful to be alive and to be here," Quinsaat said. "It’s so wonderful."

    Quinsaat, a 67-year-old businesswoman living in Paia, had attended her 10- and 20-year reunions, but she had lost touch with classmates after that. When she was called to participate in the 50th reunion this weekend, she promised nothing would stop her from attending.

    "We’ve had a great time," said Class of 1956 reunion Chairman Alexander Ross. "Things were much simpler in our days," he said. "You could go to the beach, and it wasn’t crowded at all. Turtles could come on shore, and you could watch them laying their eggs, no one bothering them."

    Ross said this past weekend’s reunion coincided with the school’s 175th year celebration, perhaps the reason the 50th reunion had its largest-ever number of participants. Out of 102 graduates in 1956, 62 showed up for the event. Another 13 are deceased, and the rest were unable to attend because of health reasons or employment, according to Ross.

    For eight classmates, it was their first Lahainaluna reunion ever.

    "They talked so much," Ross said, "you couldn’t shut them up."

    Ben Bedoya, a 72-year-old Honolulu resident, let his fellow 1954 graduates partake in the luau while he sat with friends to talk about their high school days. "In 1954, you looked at the girls," he said laughing. "It was fun."

    Bedoya said he still remembered dances and especially his junior prom, when he was voted king.

    "I loved to dance. I still love to dance," he said.

    Charles Medeiros, a 1953 alumni, recalled being a boarder for four years.

    "Imagine no cars, no telephones and in our days, no girls in the boarding department," he said.

    Medeiros said that, like Bedoya, he looked forward to dances when a bus load of girls would be brought to the social event.

    "You would start to get warm and then they would put them back on the bus," he said. "It was kind of cruel don’t you think?"

    Medeiros, a retired school superintendent in California, said the 175th anniversary’s highlight has been the opportunity to gather and talk story.

    "Even though it was 50 something years ago, you start talking and all of a sudden it’s like yesterday," he said.

    Alumna like Kahahane, her sister, Momi Kahahane Peters, a 1966 graduate; and Momi’s daughter, Francine Peters Moala, a 1987 graduate; all maintain ties with the school. The three, all living in Lahaina, attend their alma mater’s football games.

    This past Christmas, one of Kahahane’s sisters, also a Lahainaluna graduate, gave her siblings a visor in red, one of their high school’s colors. A niece, who also attended Lahainaluna, drew the school logo in black on an oval field of white, the other school color, on to the visor.

    "We’re all fans of this school," Peters said.

    Both Peters and Moala said being part of a close and tightknit community gives them a chance to get to know people on a more intimate basis. While the crowd was large on Saturday night, the faces were familiar and everyone felt comfortable with each other.

    "We’re out here on the west side by ourselves, and we have nowhere to go but to be with ourselves," Moala said.

    In his remarks Saturday night, Nakano said he noticed that this weekend’s celebration had reunited members of the Lahainaluna community, giving them a chance to get reacquainted and even make new friends.

    "Even though I don’t know some of these people, after this weekend, it’s like I’ve know them for a long time," he said.

    Jean Miyahira, a 1958 graduate who works as Lahainaluna’s administrative service assistant, said she was enrolled at the school when it celebrated its 125th anniversary. She worked at the school during the 150th anniversary and still works for Lahainaluna during the 175th.

    She described the 175th as "grander" than the two previous celebrations.

    "I can only imagine what the 200th will be like," she said.

    Nearly 3,000 people packed the athletic field for the event, part of the 175th anniversary events.

    ABOVE: Kaui Kaniho, 15, of the class of 2008, shares a moment with her grandfather, Harold Kaniho of the class of 1952, while taking in the David Malo pageant. Ha-rold Kaniho said the parade and the weekend festivities meant a lot to him. Kaui Ka-niho said she was happy to be able to share the evening with her grandfather.

    BELOW: Musician Pueo Pata (right) leads students in song on Saturday night during the David Malo Day pageant. This year’s day was made even more special as hundreds of Lahainaluna alumni returned to their high school to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

    Lunas from The Time Machine all had Lori Gomez as an educator so it was a pleasant suprise to see that she submitted the story below to The Lahaina News.

    ABOVE: The pageant concluded Lahainaluna High School’s 175th Anniversary celebration.

    LHS Pageant honored the school’s rich legacy

    LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School culminated its 175th Anniversary celebration with a poignant pageant on April 8 at the school’s Football Field.

    Its theme, “Na Lamaku Pio’ole” (the torches, unextinguished), honored three of Lahainaluna’s scholars: David Malo, Samuel Kamakau, and S.N. Hale’ole.

    Pueo Pata, noted award-winning musician, composer and Hawaiian linguist, researched their collective works and wrote of what they bequeathed to the students of Lahainaluna.

    He wrote and choreographed the opening chant, “Hanohano Lahainaluna,” which depicts the three scholars as sources of invaluable historical and cultural knowledge of Hawaii.

    It was from his research at the Bishop Museum, the State Archives, and the Hawaiian Historical Society upon which the pageant was based.

    Together with Kuulei Alcomindras-Palakiko, Hawaiian Culture and Language teacher at Kamehameha Schools-Maui, Pueo co-produced and directed the pageant.

    Fluent in the Hawaiian language, Pueo and Kuulei spent countless hours reading and researching the works of students’ composition, dating back to 1834.

    Understanding the kaona, the hidden meaning, in the students’ compositions written totally in Hawaiian, both researchers were able to tell the story of Lahainaluna through the eyes, hearts and wisdom of her students.

    Respecting that “hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people,” Pueo and Kuulei instilled in their students, the LHS Hawaiiana Club, a sense of place, tradition and continuity.

    The chant ended with “He inoa no na lamaku pio’ole o Lahainaluna," a name song for the torches of learning that cannot be extinguished.

    Name songs are composed to extol and to add mana (divine power) to the life of the people and things for which they were composed.

    The pageant further earmarked events in Hawaiian history and their impact on Lahainaluna: the missionaries, the monarchy, World Wars, boat days, and Hollywood.

    Pueo and Kuulei donate their time, talent and aloha to the Lahainaluna Hawaiiana program, which annually produces the David Malo Day Ho’olaulea.

    They have willingly volunteered time from their busy schedules to preserve the Hawaiian language, culture, values. They are the unextinguished torches that light the legacy that is Lahainaluna.

    Here's a story that appeared in The Maui News before the weekend began:

    Annual pageant pays tribute to 3 Lahainaluna scholars

    LAHAINA – Respecting that “hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people,” coordinators of the 2006 David Malo Day pageant conducted extensive research in creating this year’s show.

    Their work will culminate when the pageant opens at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the Lahainaluna High School athletic field where hundreds of Maui supporters and Lahainaluna alumni from across the country are expected to attend.

    Admission is free and open to the public.

    The pageant’s theme, “Na Lamaku Pio’ole,” which means “torches unextinguished” in Hawaiian, honors three of Lahainaluna’s scholars – David Malo, Samuel Kamakau and S.N. Hale’ole.

    Pueo Pata, an award-winning musician, composer and Hawaiian linguist, researched the scholars’ collective works and wrote of what they bequeathed to the students of Lahainaluna.

    Pata wrote and choreographed the David Malo Day pageant’s opening chant, “Hanohano Lahainaluna,” which depicts the three scholars as sources of invaluable historical and cultural knowledge in Hawaii.

    With information gathered from the Bishop Museum, the state archives and the Hawaiian Historical Society, Pata and Kuulei Alcomindras-Palakiko, a Hawaiian culture and language teacher at the Kamehameha School Maui campus, co-produced and directed the pageant.

    The two volunteered their time to the project.

    Fluent in the Hawaiian language, Pata and Alcomindras-Palakiko spent numerous hours reading and researching composition papers of Lahainaluna students dating back to 1834.

    The pair of cultural specialists choreographed and then taught members of Lahainaluna’s Hawaiian Club the chant and hula that will be performed at the pageant.

    The performances will denote events and people in Hawaiian history and their impact on Lahainaluna. Those events and people include the missionaries, the Hawaiian monarchy, world wars, boat days and Hollywood.

    Kuulei Alcomindras-Palakiko (left) and Pueo Pata serve as co-producers and co-directors of the Lahainaluna High School David Malo Day pageant, which this year commemorates the school’s 175th anniversary.

    Lahainaluna High School Hawaiiana Club photo

    This story was penned by Louise Rockett from The Lahaina News before the festivities began:

    ABOVE: Lahainaluna High School has stood above Lahaina Town for 175 years. Cody Pueo Pata, who is helping to stage the school’s 175th Anniversary Luau on Saturday night, noted, “No educational institution in Hawaii has such a lengthy and hallowed history that has endured through today.”

    Pageant to tell the story of Lahainaluna
    By Louise Rockett

    LAHAINA – Alumni from across the state and the nation will gather in Lahaina this weekend as one big ’ohana to honor the 175th Anniversary of their alma mater, the oldest school west of the Rockies, Lahainaluna High School.

    A parade, class reunions, campus tours and a luau are planned, but the highlight of the commemorative event is the Saturday night pageant – a guaranteed once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    The production is a journey through time as expressed through song and dance by members of the school’s Hawaiiana Club and Boarders’ Chorus.

    “Our theme is ’Na Lamaku Pio ’Ole,’ the torches, ever burning,” explained Lori Gomez (Class of 1960).

    “The phrase is part of our Alma Mater that talks about the torch of education that cannot be extinguished,” she added.

    Gomez is the advisor of the LHS Hawaiiana Club and Boarders’ Chorus – has been since 1969. She works with Cody Pueo Pata, Ku’ulei Alcomindras-Palakiko and Ivy Huerter, all volunteers

    Alcomindras-Palakiko and Pata are the “hula choreographers and pageant producers,” Gomez said.

    “They have been with me for the past eight years in that capacity,” she continued. “We three have done research at Bishop Museum, State Archives and the Hawaiian Historical Society to tell the story of Lahainaluna. Our research will result in the pageant production, telling the story of Lahainaluna as read through the composition papers of Lahainaluna students, dating back to 1834.”

    Alcomindras-Palakiko, a teacher of Modern Hawaiian History at Kamehameha Schools-Maui Campus, described the uniqueness of the experience: “To read of the values they held dear to them, to imagine that I was looking at, holding, reading, the exact same documents they had written,” she said.

    Pata is a traditional Hawaiian recording artist, with the Ululoa Productions label, and kumu hula.

    Beyond the three trips to Oahu, his research extended to “online resources of Hawaiian language newspapers of the 1800s” and “knowledge from Kupuna and my own personal library of books and other printed material.”

    “We hoped to cover the main periods of history that Lahainaluna endured through from its inception in 1831,” Pata explained.

    The pageant song and dance recital reflects the changing times.

    “The program begins with ancient or kahiko dance,” Huerter (Class of 1977) noted, with a special chant written by Pata for the celebration.

    “We then move to the missionary, plantation, monarchy, boat days, war time, Hollywood, and modern (eras) – I guess it’s like a timeline,” Huerter added, as seen through the eyes of the students.

    “I think the community will enjoy it, because the songs from each time frame will bring back different memories for each of them,” Huerter continued.

    “For example, for me, when the girls were learning ’Lovely Hula Hands’ for the boat days, it brought back memories of when I was learning it in the fourth grade,” she said.

    The costumes mirror the era also.

    Pata’s participation in this milestone tribute left a profound impression. “During this year’s preparation, in particular, my research allowed me to see just how deeply LHS has impacted Hawaiian history – from its instructors, its graduates, its facilities, its physically present history. All of these things have been great contributors to the identity of modern Hawaiians and our perceptions of the past and present,” he said.

    “Lahainaluna High School is the last public boarding school in the United States. It’s the oldest school west of the Rockies,” Pata continued. “Those might sound like cliches; however, they’re true. No educational institution in Hawaii has such a lengthy and hallowed history that has endured through today.”

    When asked why the community would want to attend the pageant, Pata remarked with relish, “Why wouldn’t they want to attend such a momentous occasion? It will never happen again.”

    The curtain rises at 6 p.m.

    Outside of Maui, The Honolulu Advertiser carried these two stories, submitted by Ka Leo Luna reporters Kelsey Fortey and Leanne Bedard:

    175 years of pride

    A week of festivities are planned to celebrate Lahainaluna's history

    By Kelsey Fortey
    Lahainaluna High School

    Pride for beauty, unity, tradition and history. Despite the age of Lahainaluna High School, it maintains its magnificence. Preparing for another milestone, the school's staff, students, and alumni have reason to be proud.

    Anniversary celebrations for the school known as the "Oldest School West of the Rockies," will give participants a chance to start following the celebration theme of "Honoring our Traditions, Celebrating our Culture."

    Anniversary events are scheduled to begin today and end Saturday. There will be an archive display in the library open throughout the week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, with the exception of Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Campus tours and an open house are happening on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Anniversary merchandise will be available at the hospitality room in the library. From today to Thursday the room will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. An order form is available at

    One of the largest events will be the parade on Front Street, Friday at 5 p.m. This tradition, which once took place during homecoming week, is making a comeback.

    For the anniversary festivities, the parade is broken up into three segments, each representing a group of graduates and starting on different streets. The first segment, representing students from graduating classes between 1930 and 1960, starts at Baker Street. From Kenui Street, representatives will appear on behalf of graduates from 1961 to 1985. Representatives from the graduating classes of 1986 through 2009 will join the others from Ala Moana Street.

    At 6 p.m. Friday, opening ceremonies will commence at Kamehameha Iki Park, also known as Armory Park. Russell Yamanoha, 1984 alumnus and KHNL sportscaster, will host the event. The band Lahaina Grown and musicians Keoki Kahumoku and Peter deAquino will provide entertainment.

    Alumni also will attend class reunions on Thursday and Friday. The Boarders' Reunion will be at the Lahaina Jodo Mission immediately following the opening ceremonies.

    Concluding the celebration will be the 175th Pageant and Luau on Lahainaluna's athletic field. Former boarders Micheal (Pangan) Tabura, Class of 1989, and Kathy Nakagawa, Class of 1988, will host. The two can also be heard on-air at KSSK-FM as Mike "Makani" and "Kathy With a K."

    The pageant will present the school's history through song and dance, with a theme based on a line of the alma mater, "Na Lamaku Pio'ole": "The ever-burning torch of wisdom and tradition."

    Thanks to the 175th Anniversary Committee and all who volunteered their time, the events and activities will definitely offer more reasons to be proud of this school.

    History unites students, staff and LHS alumni

    Cherished memories include homecoming parades, big bonfires and David Malo Day

    By Leane Bedard
    Lahainaluna High School

    Lahainaluna High School has endured for 175 years, and the traditions of the school hold a special place in the hearts of the students, staff, and alumni.

    Jon Shigaki, a 1986 graduate, is now the school's smaller learning communities grant coordinator. Shigaki recalled that nearly all students participated in events throughout the year.

    To start the year off with a bang, homecoming week brought positive energy and excitement. Class competitions leading up to the big game were scheduled. Cheering contests were always held on Fridays during lunch recess. Spirited students participated in boys' cheerleading, class banner contests and other games.

    Each class was responsible for making a float for the homecoming parade. Eager people lined up along Front Street to watch the parade and subsequent festivities at Malu'uluolele Park, where the royal court was presented, skits were performed and contest winners were announced. In the end, the Alma Mater Contest showed how much pride students had for their school.

    "I can honestly say that the competitions brought us respect for each other, school pride and school unity," Shigaki said.

    The boarders had their own traditions as well. Back then, the boarders had to attend football games in a strict dress code. Female boarders wore white mu'umu'u, while male boarders wore black ties, white collared shirts tucked into black pants and shiny black shoes.

    Lori Gomez, a 1960 graduate, returned to the LHS ohana when she became the professional development resource teacher for the Lahaina complex. Gomez remembers some traditions that brought the students and teachers together as a family. After the flag pledge but before classes started, patriotic songs were sung.

    "Homecoming was always the main event, which culminated with a big bonfire," Gomez said. "The bonfire was symbolic of the torch mentioned in our alma mater ... (a) torch of learning that cannot be extinguished," said Gomez.

    The class of 1960 became the first "statehood" class when Hawaii officially became a state in August 1959. Most of the clubs reflected professional careers to prepare the students for the real world.

    "We were taught Hawaiian values like respect toward people and the 'aina (land), integrity, and giving back to the community," said Gomez. "I remember that we all were treated as an 'ohana (family) and learned what makes an 'ohana work -- the sense of giving, sense of sharing, and the sense of community."

    Jean Miyahira, the school's administrative services assistant, graduated in 1958. Miyahira also remembers the parade that filled Front Street and the remarkable bonfire afterward.

    "I remember that our principal was really into football, so whenever our football team won a game, he would schedule a pep rally," Miyahira said. "Most of our pep rallies were held in the staff parking lot."

    Everyone celebrated the school's 125th anniversary on Boarders' Field.

    "We had a big cake," Miyahira said. "The cheerleaders placed candles on it and for that special occasion, the 'L' was lit." said Miyahira.

    The school's accountant clerk, Ivy Huerter, graduated in 1977. She remembers building floats on flatbeds and using chicken wire and tissue paper to design their float.

    On David Malo Day, the boarders entertained the audience with their songs. Since there were no female boarders until 1980, girls from the Hawaiiana Club participated with the male boarders.

    "After David Malo Day, the girls from the Hawaiiana Club and the boarders went to the 'L,' bringing lei for David Malo's grave and lime for the outlining of the 'L,'" Huerter said.

    These traditions and events live in the hearts of the alumni to remind the next generation that the past was what brought them together.

    ABOVE: The 2005-06 Lahainaluna High School junior varsity football team won the Maui Interscholastic League title for the fourth consecutive year.

    Lahainaluna High School
    Sports highlights, 1981-2005

    In honor of Lahainaluna High School’s 175th Anniversary, Lahaina News sports writer Walter Chihara compiled this list of Luna sports highlights from the past 24 years.

    1981-82 – Varsity football MIL champions; girls volleyball MIL champs; wrestling MIL champs; girls tennis MIL champs; boys tennis MIL champs; girls varsity basketball MIL champs and State “A” tournament champs.

    1982-83 – Girls basketball MIL champs; boys volleyball MIL champs; girls tennis MIL champs, and Alele Nava and Yuko Wakatsugi state doubles champs; boys tennis MIL champs, and Kennedy Makekau and Hiram Oyama state doubles champs; Lance Stevens state wrestling champ 167 pounds, and wrestling MIL champs.

    1983-84 Boys volleyball MIL champs; boys tennis MIL champs, third place state and Kennedy Makekau and Bruce Sylva state doubles champs; girls tennis MIL champs, second place state, and Kathy Felicilda and Karen Felicilda state doubles champs; wrestling MIL champs; girls basketball MIL champs.

    1984-85 – Wrestling MIL champs; girls tennis MIL champs, and Karen Felicilda and Kathy Felicilda girls state doubles champs; boys tennis MIL champs.

    1985-86 – Boys basketball MIL champs; wrestling MIL champs; Lisa Whitehead and Kathy Felicilda girls state doubles champs.

    1986-87 – Girls tennis MIL champs, state champs, Karen Felicilda state singles champ, Kathy Felicilda and Lisa Whitehead state doubles champs.

    1988-’89 – Girls tennis MIL champs, and Diane Okada and Allison Valente state girls doubles champs; boys tennis MIL champs; boys basketball MIL champs.

    1989-90 – Ryan Ideta was boys tennis state singles champ.

    1990-91 – Boys cross country MIL champs; boys tennis MIL champs.

    1991-92 – Boys tennis MIL champs, and Ryan Ideta boys state singles champ and named to Nissan Hawaii Hall of Honor; girls tennis MIL champs and co-state champ, with Jean Okada state singles champ.

    1992-93 – Wrestling MIL champs; boys tennis MIL champs.

    1993-94 – Wrestling MIL champs, with Stephen Lucas Jr. state wrestling champ at 167 pounds.

    1994-95 – Wrestling MIL champs.

    1995-96 – Christian Nguyen wrestling state champ at 130 pounds.

    1996-97 – Girls basketball MIL champs; girls softball MIL champs; surf team MIL champs; Malino Oda boys tennis state singles champ; Clinton Baybayan wrestling state champ at 130 pounds.

    1997-98 – Girls softball MIL champs, state finalist, with Aina Kohler first team All State and Nissan Hawaii Hall of Honor; varsity football MIL champs and Neighbor Island champ; Malino Oda boys tennis singles state champ.

    1998-99 – Varsity football MIL champs and Neighbor Island champs; Kawika Casco wrestling state champ at 152 pounds; Samalia Berger first girl state wrestling champ at 140 pounds.

    1999-2000 – Jessica Nohara swimming state champ in 100 freestyle; surf team MIL champs; Kawika Casco boys wrestling state champ at 171 pounds and named to Nissan Hawaii Hall of Honor.

    2000-01 – Girls swimming MIL champs, with Jessica Nohara state swimming champ in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke; Kainoa Casco state wrestling champ at 152 pounds.

    2001-02 – Varsity football MIL champs play Kahuku at Aloha Stadium in state quarterfinals, and Ikaika Neizman first team All State; boys basketball MIL champs; girls swimming MIL champs, with Jessica Nohara state swimming champ in 200 freestyle; girls tennis MIL champs; Jeffrey Larita boys wrestling state champ at 152 pounds, Kainoa Casco boys wrestling state champ at 160 pounds and named to Nissan Hawaii Hall of Honor; canoe paddling MIL champs, state champs, mixed crew – Hoku Gonzales, Kazuo Flores, Kaipo Kekona, Rose Butihi, Vanessa Sanchez Audrey Chihara – state champs (all paddling results unofficial in this inaugural season for the sport).

    2002-03 – Wrestling MIL champs; junior varsity football MIL champs.

    2003-04 – Girls softball MIL champs; junior varsity football MIL champs; varsity football Division II MIL champs, play in semi-finals at Kamehameha Oahu vs. Aiea; Naihe Akoi boys wrestling state champ at 152 pounds; Laura Pope state swimming champ in 200 freestyle.

    2004-05 – Varsity football MIL champs, state semifinalist vs. Kamehameha Oahu at Aloha Stadium, Fine Latu first team All State; junior varsity football MIL champs; girls varsity basketball MIL champs; and girls tennis MIL champs.

    An article that appeared in The Lahaina News written by Christine Layous about Phyllis Carr Bruce who taught at Lahainaluna High School back in 1928.

    ABOVE: Phyllis Carr Bruce, 100, took a teaching job at Lahainaluna High School in 1928. The Makawao resident plans to attend Lahainaluna’s 175th Anniversary celebration next weekend. Photo by Christine Layous.

    Spirited teacher reflects on Lahaina in the 1920s
    By Christine Layous

    LAHAINA – Phyllis Carr Bruce is still as witty now as she was 80 years ago.

    The former Lahainaluna High School teacher is reaching her 101st birthday this August. But her mischievous eyes reveal a much younger, much less innocent girl.

    When asked how she felt turning 100, she replied with a smirk, “I felt the same way I had when I was 99.”

    Her daughters, Lesley and Phyllis Jean Bruce, laughed along.

    Born in 1905, Bruce was raised in McVille, North Dakota.

    Her father farmed and her mother was a teacher. She remembers traveling 12 hours by a horse drawn buggy with her parents and four siblings.

    “We had a very happy home,” said Bruce. “We toured the country. We went to Yellowstone National Park and went to California.”

    By 1915, Bruce already knew she wanted to come to Hawaii.

    Her father had taken her to the International Exposition in San Francisco and she was enchanted by Kumalae’s ukulele exhibition.

    “You have to make up your mind early,” Bruce joked

    In fact, her father bought her a Kumalae ukulele from Sears and Roebuck. Bruce still has it.

    She received her Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics from the University of North Dakota by age 21 and then taught for two years in Moose Lake, Minnesota.

    Bruce also studied golf and folk dance classes at the University of Chicago.

    “I took some very hard courses,” she winked.

    In 1928 it was off to Maui.

    Armed with her strong character and letters of recommendation that boasted her teaching abilities, she made the trip alone.

    “You started out on the train to San Francisco,” she explained. “Then a ship got you to Honolulu. Then you waited for another ship.”

    It wasn’t easy, and it took days of traveling.

    When Bruce arrived in Lahaina, it was night and she was all alone. She went to the Pioneer Inn.

    “No one was in the hotel,” she recalled. “I went into the first room that looked all right.”

    Lahainaluna was hiring at that moment and Bruce landed her teaching position.

    She taught home economics, general science and biology and coached the basketball team.

    H. Alton Rogers was the principal at the time and he ruled the school with a strict hand.

    “He ran a good school,” said Bruce. “He was a little high handed.”

    Bruce lived on the campus for one year until she moved in with Mary Couch, the principal at King Kamehameha III Elementary School.

    They lived in a house on the beach. “My room had great big windows,” she smiled. “I could almost touch the ocean.”

    While most teachers earned ten cents to one dollar per day, Bruce was earning $5.

    “It was hazard pay,” explained her daughter, “because of the stoves. She was rich compared to every one else!”

    One year later, the Great Depression hit the Mainland and Bruce was sending money to help her family.

    But even that didn’t tame her spirits. She still went out and enjoyed herself.

    She recalled an incident when Principal Rogers “fired” her for a day.

    “I had come back from Honolulu,” she said nonchalantly. “I had car trouble – it rained buckets and wouldn’t start. I got to my campus just in time for my class. It was second period. [Rogers] said, ’You’re excused for the day.’ So I said thank you and went down to Lahaina and we gallivanted!” she declared with a proud smile.

    She recalled going swimming every day after school at the Cliff House in Kapalua.

    “It was wonderful,” she said with a straight face, “because there were lots of sharks.” She winked, “we scared them away.”

    Bruce rode a horse up Haleakala and stayed overnight in a small shack that had open doors and windows, so all the air came in, because according to her, “there was nothing else to do,” wink.

    “There was nowhere to get out of the wind,” she remembered. “But no matter how bad the experience was, we were ready for the next one! We had to create our own entertainment.”

    Her easygoing attitude is still prevalent. She takes everything in stride and makes a joke out of it.

    “One of the things you can expect in life is change,” she stated. “Some is good and some is bad. There are things you can’t change. If you can’t change them, enjoy them.”

    From an article by Claudine San Nicolas that appeared in The Maui News:

    BELOW: Principal Mike Nakano, who lives on campus, stands at the entrance to Lahainaluna High School. He said the school gets visitors every weekend. Many of them stop to take pictures of the school sign or sing the alma mater.

    Photograph by Amanda Cowan of The Maui News

    Events set for oldest school west of Rockies

    LAHAINA – When Lahainaluna High School first opened 175 years ago, Lahaina was the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii, and it was a bustling seaport for the Pacific whaling fleet.

    On the North American continent in 1831, Andrew Jackson was serving as the seventh president of the United States when there were only 24 states in the Union, and, until that time, not a single high school had been established west of the Rockies.

    “It shows you how far back this school goes,” retired social studies teacher Andrew Kutsunai said of Lahainaluna High School. “The kids hear this and then they get it. They’re a part of history, and it’s really special.”

    Kutsunai, a 34-year educator who did not graduate from Lahainaluna but taught there for all of his career, feels a special bond to the school.

    “It’s a very unique school, rich with traditions and so much history,” he said. “That’s why this 175th is so special for everybody.”

    So it’s not surprising that Lahainaluna’s landmark anniversary celebration would be chosen for more than 40 alumni reunions this week. Also, public tours of the Lahainaluna campus are being conducted and a special archive display was created to mark the special occasion.

    Among the highlights of festivities are a parade at 5 p.m. Friday in Lahaina town, a luau on the school’s athletic field at 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by the annual David Malo Day pageant at 6:30 p.m.

    “It’s going to be fun,” said Marion Mueller, a former counselor and administrator at Lahainaluna and the chairwoman of the 175th festivities.

    Mueller and dozens of others have spent the last year planning activities and working out every detail from bus shuttles to portable bathroom facilities to wooden planks for wheelchairs to traverse the Lahainaluna athletic field where the pageant will be held.

    As many as 2,000 people are expected to attend this week’s festivities, including alumni who graduated from the school dating back to the 1940s. Many of them are coming from around the state, the Mainland and elsewhere.

    Lahainaluna Principal Michael Nakano, who resides on the campus, said he gets visitors every weekend. Many of them take pictures of the school sign, the trees on campus and the students’ unobstructed view of Lahaina town and Lanai.

    “One time, there was a whole bus load of people that came,” Nakano recalled. “I remember they got down and held hands and then sang the Lahainaluna alma mater. It’s really, really different from anything I’ve experienced.”

    Many of the alumni visitors have spoken to Nakano, questioning the changes in some of the school’s traditions.

    “It makes us stress,” Nakano said. “I’ve been at Maui High and Baldwin and no one has ever questioned us about why we do this and why we don’t do that. It only happens at Lahainaluna.”

    The 1989 David Malo Day pageant queen, Pam Hamakua, retired a couple of years ago from dancing hula, an activity she had enjoyed in her childhood and even in her high school days.

    “I figured it’s my kids’ turn,” she said, referring to her youngsters, ages 9 and 7.

    But then Lori Gomez, a longtime Lahainaluna teacher who has served as adviser with the David Malo Day pageant since its inception in 1969, called Hamakua to return for the 175th celebration. Hamakua, her classmate Janeen Arakawa and other graduates will perform as part of the entertainment for the night.

    “It’s like giving back to the school,” said 1988 graduate Michele Harmon. “Not necessarily that we owe, but we’re proud of this school.”

    Fea-B-Lei Alcomindras has also been with the David Malo Day pageant since it was founded by the late Jimmy Greig, a musician who started the Hawaiiana Club and the Boarders Chorus at Lahainaluna.

    “I think it’s wonderful, and I’m not even a graduate,” said Alcomindras, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, about the David Malo Day celebration.

    Lahainaluna’s traditions were greatly appreciated by Alcomindras whose mother, aunties and uncles all attended the school and spent many a family reunion reminiscing about Lahainaluna.

    Her relatives even sang the alma mater during family gatherings and recently at a loved one’s funeral.

    “It’s really neat,” Alcomindras said.

    “David Malo Day was probably the best time of the year,” Hamakua recalled about its significance at Lahainaluna. “You stay up late making your lei and ti leaf skirt and then the Hawaiiana Club is feeling closest at that time.”

    Knowing that this year’s pageant was going to be markedly different from others, Gomez and other pageant organizers traveled to the Bishop Museum three times on Oahu to read up on the history of Lahainaluna.

    “We had to wear white gloves, and we read through composition papers dating back to 1834,” Gomez recalled. Some of the writings featured student papers that told of campus life in general, including students’ distaste for school lunches.

    “It was fascinating to hear the history through a student. And the journey continues. This legacy continues even today,” Gomez said.

    Lahainaluna senior Karmen McGhee lives as a boarder at school. The boarders open up their dormitories for tours during David Malo Day and many of them perform in the pageant.

    “It’s a time to celebrate not only for the old classmates but for us who attend the school today,” McGhee said. “It’s the best cultural thing on Maui, and it’s way bigger than a lot of things going on.”

    Phil Secretario Jr., a 1973 alumnus, never attended a David Malo Day pageant until two years ago, apparently because he had no interest in attending as a student. But now he sees it differently.

    “If I knew it was this great, I would have participated. It’s better late than never,” said Secretario, a professional musician who is serving as this year’s instructor for the boarders band called “Sour Poi.”

    Secretario said he’s had a lot of fun working with the students.

    “They’ve come a long, long way,” he said.

    Senior Kaleohone Roback and his sister, Kaanoipua, a sophomore, are Lahainaluna boarders from Niihau, and members of the performing group that will be featured at the David Malo Day pageant.

    Kaleohone said he had been anticipating the pageant and was “kind of excited for it to come. There’s choke pride in this school.”

    “There’s choke love here,” Kaanoipua added.

    Senior Jordan Nanahoe, another member of the boarders band, said he has no regrets regarding his decision two years ago to transfer from a high school on Oahu to Lahainaluna. “It’s way more special here. We’re one ohana, and we stick together,” he said.

    Senior Kapena Au, a boarders band member from Kihei, said no other school gives him the opportunity to form a family outside of his own.

    “I just want to perform my best and give back,” Au said.

    Senior Lanikai Walton said she enjoys the David Malo Day pageant because of the response she gets from outsiders who come and watch the show.

    “People’s faces light up,” she said. “It makes us feel better.”

    Mueller, the chairwoman of the 175th anniversary celebration, said the goal of this year’s event is like many others: “to bring as many people back to the campus and have people connect. . . . We’ll be making history again.”

    An editorial from The Lahaina News on April 6th, 2006:

    Congratulations, Lunas!

    What does Lahainaluna High School mean to the people of West Maui?


    Lahainaluna has been the focal point of this great

    community for an incredible 175 years.

    It’s a warm place where generations of local residents

    – such as the Kawaguchi, Kukahiko and Kadotani ’ohana – have gone to school, forged lifelong friendships and kept ties with their alma mater.

    It’s a legendary school with a rich history, which will be celebrated at Saturday night’s luau.

    Think about all the people who began their life’s journey
    at Lahainaluna, and what has happened in Hawaii and around the world, since 1831.

    Lahainaluna has been here watching over Lahaina the whole time.

    But history is not what defines LHS. It’s the people who pass through Lahainaluna and keep close ties for the rest of their lives.

    You see students come back to teach, graduates return to coach the way they were taught to play at Lahainaluna, and alumni and caring community members step up when the school needs help.

    To all the students, staff, parents and alumni coming to Lahaina this week to mark this important milestone, celebrate your school and have a wonderful time!

    You make Lahainaluna High School special.

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    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Caught Elvis Costello Twice Or Was It Four Times?

    Jenny Leong, the producer of "The Time Machine", along with host Michael McCartney trekked across the ocean from Maui to Oahu (via an airline - they didn't swim) to catch Elvis Costello perform with The Honolulu Symphony.

    Elvis Costello walked out onstage among the Hilo Hatties Aloha wear of the symphony in a tuxedo and quickly commented on how overdressed he was. It was the beginning of an evening filled with a lot of stage banter from Elvis who also had Steve Nieve along for the ride on the grand piano.

    The entire performance was incredible with a set list that was nothing short of being perfect for a symphony to back up the talented artist. The concert began with the suite "Il Sogno" followed by "Upon A Veil Of Midnight Blue". Next was "Speak Darkly, My Angel" and an opportunity to hear a song from his upcoming release with Allen Toussaint titled "The River In Reverse". A powerful song that many Elvis fans will appreciate. One last song, "The Birds Will Still Be Singing", was performed before an intermission.

    "Still" opened the second set of music followed by his collaboration with Burt Bacharach "Painted From Memory". Steve Nieve's piano playing along with the Honolulu Symphony truly served the sounds of Bacharach and Costello.

    Elvis told the crowd about a song he wrote with Paul McCartney which was the introduction to his radio hit "Veronica". The audience went nuts. He then went into "Almost Blue" that he sent out as a dedication to his wife. He chatted with the audience about the last time that he was in Hawaii. He was with Diana Krall at her concert at the Waikiki Shell where she performed songs that the two of them collaborated on.

    Then came the song that Mana'o Radio has been having a blast playing from his latest release. A fantastic big band, almost film noir soundtrack arrangement to his late seventies FM staple, "Watching The Detectives". Elvis then performed "My Flame Burns Blue (Blood Count)".

    At this point in the concert, both Jenny Leong and Michael McCartney, were thrown thru a loop when Elvis performed "She". The song has been on "The Time Machine" playlist even since it's inclusion on the soundtrack to the motion picture "Notting Hill". Elvis even mentioned that his producer stated that he was going to ruin Elvis' reputation by having him record his first ever full fledged "love song". He joked that it was his biggest hit all over the world with the exception of Hawaii. Apparantly we were the only radio station in the entire state playing "She".

    The film music continued with an emotional performance of "God Give Me Strength" (another song that remains on "The Time Machine" playlist with both Costello and the film version from Kristen Vigard who supplied the vocals lip-synched by actress Illeana Douglas).

    The audience fell in love with the artist that night and begged him with "Hana-hou"
    from their seats which lead to an encore of "I Still Have That Other Girl" and an unbelievably poignant rendition of "Alison". It's amazing how much emotion can be added to a stong song by a symphonic arrangement.

    Elvis ended the show without the help of a microphone and performed "Couldn't Call It Unexpected". He invited the crowd to participate with a sing-a-long.

    There was a show the following night with "She Handed Me A Mirror" replacing "Painted From Memory".

    The Time Machine had picked up the tickets back in the summer of 2005. This was months before a concert was announced for Maui. So this turned out to be an all Elvis Costello weekend with a return flight home.

    Upon entering the theater at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, local artist Makana was the opening act standing alone with his guitar and finishing up his last song. After he departed from the stage there was a sound similar to a muffled explosion which caused the electricity to go out in the theater with only the emergency lights on due to a back up generator. It was a very stormy weekend and one could only surmise if the lightning miles away had anything to do with a power grid in this one section of Kahului. It appeared that only the concert venue and the traffic light outside were without power as the surrounding neighborhoods, town and harbor all had lights.

    Somewhere around fifteen minutes in the semi-darkness, Elvis Costello walked out on the stage and began an intimate performance without any help of modern technology which was a testament to both Elvis as a performer and the wonderful acoustics of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Tony Bennett, a few years earlier, had asked that all sound be shut off in the theater so that the audience could hear for themselves just how perfect this venue was. He claimed that of all of the theaters he performed in that he couldn't believe how superior the Castle Theater was to the top venues across the country.

    Enough of our Maui pride, back to Elvis Costello who started under the emergency lights with "Accidents Will Happen". The show began with what appeared to be something special with Elvis winging it from stage. He had the audience sing along at the end with "I know..." refrains. Steve Nieve sat directly behind him at the piano while Elvis continued the performance with "(The Angels Wanna Wear My)Red Shoes" which had the audience really fired up with more participation. Elvis mentioned that he was told by the venue that due to a county ordinance that if the power didn't come on in the next few minutes that everyone would have to leave the music hall. The audience wasn't thrilled but Elvis won the crowd with screaming requests. He then whipped out an old chestnut, "Alison", which remains a classic song from this prolific songwriter after nearly thirty years. This show was beginning to beat his fantastic episode of VH-1's "Storytellers" because his performance felt so personal. After the song ended, he had to express his sorrow that everyone must vacate the theater. More groans from the crowd and more requests yelled out. He started "She" which most American filmgoers would know from the opening of Julia Roberts film "Notting Hill". As it was a song that Elvis didn't write, he paced the stage with the lyrics in his hand and a powerful vocal performace until he flubbed a lyric and tossed the music folder to the side of the stage. "I don't know the words", he chuckled. With his own body of work, how could he possibly find the time to memorise the composed works of others? The power knocked of the little light that stood perched atop his music stand.

    A spokesperson came out onstage next to Elvis and stressed that the electric company was aware of the power outage and were hoping to have the power back on in thirty minutes. Everyone exited the premises, bummed but thrilled by the four, uhhh...three and a half songs that made it an evening to remember.

    After hanging out in the courtyard outside the theater for roughly twenty minutes, both Elvis and Steve ventured thru the crowd with flashlights and a bullhorn. It was dark and cold like an overnight camping trip when the guitar is pulled out for singing. Someone from management held up the bullhorn while Elvis and Steve gave the audience "Watching The Detectives" without it's reggae feel. First the symphony two nights earlier with a big band approach and television theme incorporated and now this. Holy smokes. It was 1977 all over again.

    The electricity was restored during the performance. Elvis and Steve were surrounded by a circle of thankful fans. A member of the crew stated how cool it was and that it was fine with the venue (with it being Maui and all - musical good vibes) if everyone wanted the show to continue outside. There would be no refunds if it continued outside so a vote was taken with the majority wanting to go inside. Even though there was quite an age range attending the show, most of the audience who were in their teens and early twenties when Elvis Costello arrived on the musical landscape, outnumbered the vote to go in due to the twenty-nine years that passed. Baby boomers and Brady boomers are at the low end are in their mid forties so one can truly understand the needs of this part of the crowd to sit down and enjoy a show.

    So now began what appeared to be a third show. This time with electricity.

    Jenny Leong had "Shot With His Own Gun" blasting in the car on the way to concert so you can imagine how both Jenny and Michael were blown away that Elvis performed that song. He even dug up what he called his first record "Radio Sweetheart". He covered the decades with an electric "Pump It Up" plus; "Green Shirt", "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding", "Indoor Fireworks", "Comedians", "Everyday I Write The Book" and "Veronica". He also worked in the music of others including Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said" and Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got A Hold Of Me". It was an interesting contrast in audience reaction to his latest song "The River In Reverse". Two nights earlier with the Honolulu Symphony, it was an emotional and intense song that got a round of applause from the "big city symphony conservative crowd" on the island of Oahu. On Maui, he performed the song fairly early in his set only to have a standing ovation which caught him offguard.

    All in all, it was like seeing three shows in one night plus the lead in just two nights earlier with the Honolulu Symphony, it was a magical weekend that will never be forgotten.

    From The Honolulu Advertiser's Derek Paiva:

    Costello with symphony a mesmerizing night

    A few of the favorites were there: "Veronica." "Watching the Detectives." "Alison."

    All of them performed by Elvis Costello accompanied by the Honolulu Symphony Pops at the Blaisdell Concert Hall last night.

    All longtime fans had to do was accept the fact that the chameleon-like musician who had composed these most elegant nuggets of pop and rock songwriting had long ago moved on to other musical realms and had taken a few of his beloved works with him.

    "Alison" with its melancholy electric ax and sparest of snares? No more. "Watching the Detectives" with its delicious backbone of rude boy reggae? So 1977!

    If you didn't accept it, you were a goner from the get-go. One who perhaps simply should have known before you bought a ticket that "accompanied by the Honolulu Symphony Pops" meant no sign of The Attractions/Impostors (save for Steve Nieve on piano) and no "Pump It Up" or "Girls Talk."

    For the rest of us waiting years for his first-ever Honolulu concert, however, Costello's moodily jazzy 90-minute second set of symphony-friendly lesser-known gems, new material and old favorites was pretty much complicated nirvana.

    Complicated, because in return for our long wait, we got Costello in full-on crooner-with-an-orchestra mode — singing pretty much ballads, and only ballads. Nirvana, because in spite of the dearth of more up-tempo faves we still got to hear Costello's stunning, inimitable voice at what truly seemed like the peak all of its live, tenderly ragged glory.

    The evening opened with the Pops running through a 40-minute suite of music from Costello's inaugural orchestral work, "Il Sogno," composed as music for an Italian ballet of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Elvis introduced it, then let the symphony go to work.

    Showy with various spirited scene-painting experiments in jazz and symphonic melody, the suite was pleasant enough. But cut to a fraction its original length , it seemed more unsatisfying truncation of an accomplished orchestral work best heard in full.

    But, of course, "Il Sogno" wasn't what the bulk of very vocal fans in the concert hall came primarily to hear. And Costello seemed more than happy to oblige them.

    Costello's vocal time included several arrangements of new and older material from his recently released jazz-infused live CD, "My Flame Burns Blue." The best of these was the first, a gorgeous reading of his own "Upon A Veil Of Midnight Blue" featuring Costello's warm croon wrapped in elegantly lush symphony pops orchestration.

    Already one of Costello's most haunting jazz-perfect ballads, "Almost Blue" couldn't — and didn't — fail to amaze in a symphonic setting. Likewise, "God Give Me Strength" and "I Still Have That Other Girl" — from Costello's underrated Burt Bacharach collaboration "Painted From Memory" — proved perfect fits for the vocalist's lovesick crooner set list.

    Sadly left out were last night were nearly all of the "My Flame" disc's best up-tempo big band moments. These included Costello's inventive vocal take on the Charles Mingus instrumental "Hora Decubitus," a way snazzy arrangement of '50s bandleader Dave Bartholomew's "That's How You Got Killed Before" and a defiantly love-it-or-hate-it "Clubland."

    If you own "My Flame," you know why each was sorely missed last night.

    Costello was wise, however, to keep the CD's kinetic new take on "Watching the Detectives" with its swinging 1950s television cop show instrumental punch. It won't replace the original in any Costello devotee's heart anytime soon. But it proved great fun last night.

    A lovely reading of "Still" from Costello's disc of piano ballads "North" proved an audience favorite, as was a note perfect cover of Charles Aznavour's "She" — the latter a worldwide hit, "everywhere but in Hawai'i," he joked.

    "I knew there was something I forgot when I came out here," said Costello, early in his vocal set, pretend searching the stage. "Let me go get it."

    Exiting the stage briefly, he reemerged with his acoustic guitar, strapping it on to roars from the crowd.

    "I'm gonna do this on my own if it's OK," he asked maestro Matt Catingub and the symphony pops, before sharing a menacingly powerful "The River in Reverse," the title track from his upcoming CD with New Orleans R&B legend Allen Toussaint. It wound up one of the show's most mesmerizing moments.

    Costello kept his guitar strapped and was joined by Nieve only on a pulsating, sweetly Buddy Holly-ish stab at "Veronica. Near show's end, "Alison" — with Costello on guitar, Nieve on piano and rich symphony strings accompanying it all — soothed an audience that had been eagerly waiting for it.

    Between songs, Costello — looking smart as all heck in a dressy black suit and bow tie — turned impressive charmer, tempering what could have been an at times moody set with playful banter and a wicked sense of humor.

    A friend and longtime Costello fan accompanying me last night giddily summed up the evening of Costello in peak form best.

    "He's kind of like a kid in the symphony toy store tonight, isn't he?" he marveled.

    Uh-huh. And we were all fortunate he was in the mood to play nice.

    Before arriving in Hawaii, Elvis also spoke with The Honolulu Advertiser's Derek Paiva:

    Musical flames burn in many hues for Costello

    Thirty years of doing the same job will give you lots of perspective. It might also bore you to death.

    Elvis Costello is a rock 'n' roll legend who's never allowed the former to lead to the latter.

    With his first and most-famous band, The Attractions, Costello led the '70s punk and '80s new-wave explosion with a handful of albums that deftly combined snarly rock bravado with acerbic, witty and exceptionally sophisticated lyrics. But Costello also brought his considerable skills to experiments in country, soul, jazz, classical and pop vocalese that blended wicked ambition and undeniable passion, whether they hit or missed the mark.

    His concerts with the Honolulu Symphony Pops this weekend are his first-ever shows in Hawai'i. On the phone to talk about them, a witty, talkative and every-bit-the-music-geek-you'd-expect Costello, 51, spoke about "My Flame Burns Blue" — his new, live CD of energetic, jazzed-up new works, obscurities and reworked old favorites — and went over some history.

    "Hey there!"

    Good morning, Elvis.

    "That's right. Good morning to you, it is, I suppose. What time is it there?"

    It's 11 a.m.

    "How is it there?"

    Uh, it is dreary, unfortunately.

    "Oh, no! I don't want to hear that. I don't want to have that mental picture in my head."

    We've been having dreary weather for weeks. Is it any better where you are? You're in New York, right?

    "I am in New York. It's bright and cold here so, you know, be careful what you wish for."

    Well, you're still a couple of weeks away from coming here. Maybe things will work out in your favor.

    (Laughs.) "Yeah. ... It's unusual isn't it ... two weeks (of rain)?"

    It is, a bit. It gets rainy here in the spring, but it hasn't been this bad for a few years. Anyway, at least your concert isn't outdoors. You escorted (wife, vocalist) Diana (Krall) out here last year when she did a show with the symphony at the Waikiki Shell ... which was rained on.

    "And it rained all the way through the show, yeah."

    Is she returning the favor?

    "I don't know whether she's going to be able to come with me. She's currently in the studio. So hopefully, uh ... I just don't know. We're still trying to plan that. We try to make, obviously, the best of our time together. We've already been to Hawai'i once this year for a short holiday at the beginning of the year. It is a wonderful place. And, of course ... if we can travel there together, even better."

    Correct me if I'm wrong. You've never done a show here, have you?

    "No. No. The only performing I've ever done in Hawai'i is on the beach in 1978 when we shot some sequences for a video for one of my records back then."

    That was the only thing I could find in our archives.

    "That's right. I don't know how it's never happened before. It seems crazy. I mean, I've been working my way around the states, you know, and I figured, well, eventually I had to get to Hawai'i."

    Well, 30 years can go by in a blur.

    "No, not a blur. I remember every moment."

    This symphonic tour you're doing isn't a big one ... 13 shows in just 10 cities. Honolulu, I have to say, is rarely one of the lucky few cities chosen by musicians like you for tours of this size. Why did you want to include Honolulu and Maui this time around?

    "This tour is unusual in its nature in that I have a record out currently called 'My Flame Burns Blue,' which is a live album I recorded with the Metropole Orkest at the North Sea Jazz Festival two years ago. And I also have a record — that came out the same day as my last rock 'n' roll record (2004's) "The Delivery Man" — (of a) ballet suite that I wrote called 'Il Sogno.' It was music I wrote for an Italian (ballet) adaptation of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'

    "So combining the two things, we had invitations from a number of symphony houses to perform in which a suite from 'Il Sogno' (would) be played (with) a repertoire of (my) songs that can be played with orchestra.

    "Obviously, the Honolulu Symphony is not a big band. But the ballads, at least, adopt very easily. And I have other surprises in the show that come from other records (I've done) that have orchestral accompaniment.

    "It is a short tour (as far) as the number of dates because, of course, in between those days you have to rehearse. It isn't like you're turning up with a band that already knows the songs. You have to rehearse in every city. So you see 10 or 12 dates, but there are at least 24 days involved in doing that so the tour is spread ... from the end of March until the middle of May."

    You sound like you were having great fun on stage on "My Flame Burns Blue."

    "I hope so. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it was a great night. The Metropole Orkest is a wonderful orchestra. The material wasn't all just arranged for that night. I had adapted a lot of those songs over the previous 10 years, and this was an opportunity to play all of that music in one night with a band that could really do it.

    "And, I have to be honest, I didn't listen to the (sound board) tape (of the concert) immediately. I was on to other things. I was playing with The Imposters and touring the songs from 'The Delivery Man.' So I didn't really listen to the tape for a number of months. And then when I did hear it finally, I was so shocked that we had caught so much of the music in one evening.

    "Once Al Schmitt mixed it, it really came up sounding really vivid. And I'm really proud of the record. It's a lot of music (and) a lot of contrast even inside of this. But to have a group that can do all of this is quite a joy."

    You write in the CD's liner notes, "This record may explain what I've been doing during the last 12 years when I haven't had an electric guitar in my hands." Take me back that far. What initially inspired you to begin exploring work with ensembles, chamber groups, jazz big bands and symphony orchestras?

    "First of all, I was asked to write some music for a television drama (the British multi-part series 'G.B.H.' in 1990). And I was collaborating with a composer, Richard Harvey, who contributed the arrangement (heard on 'My Flame Is Blue') of the song 'Speak Darkly, My Angel.' That meant that I was composing themes at the piano, or on a keyboard, which somebody else had to write down because I couldn't write music down at that time.

    "Although I'd written more than 200 songs — maybe 250 songs or something like that — I couldn't write music down on the page.

    "Then I became friends with the Brodsky Quartet, and I wanted to work with them. And it became all the more embarrassing that I couldn't write music down, because I couldn't make my ideas clearly understood. So I got to grips with this strange mental block I'd had about notated music.

    "I didn't really feel it changed me in any way as a writer. It just gave me the ability to write songs for different groupings of musicians. And then opportunities started to come my way to work with chamber groups, chamber orchestras, big bands.

    "I worked with the Mingus Big Band, a jazz orchestra that plays Charles Mingus music mainly, and I was writing lyrics for Mingus compositions at (wife of the late jazz bassist) Sue Mingus' request. One of them is 'Hora Decubitis,' the opening track of 'My Flame Burns Blue.'

    " 'Speak Darkly, My Angel' was written for the Brodsky Quartet and (mezzo soprano) Anne Sofie von Otter, who I later produced. 'Put Away Forbidden Playthings' was written for some friends of mine who played the viol, which is ... an Elizabethan-era instrument.

    "So some things came from collaborations with classical musicians, some came from collaborations with jazz musicians ... and, of course, some of the songs on the record are ballads that I've written over the years like 'Favorite Hour' and 'Almost Blue,' ... one of my collaborations with Burt Bacharach 'God Give Me Strength,' and one of the songs that I'd written recently for the album of piano ballads (2003's) 'North.'

    "It seemed like a pretty rich repertoire to take into this concert with the Metropole (Orkest). They are unique in being a big band with a string section. So they were able to play both the classically influenced things and also arrangements like 'Watching the Detectives' and 'Clubland' and 'Almost Ideal Eyes' and 'Episode of Blonde' ... (songs) that began with a rock 'n' roll sound augmented with horns that now have more of a big band feel."

    "Almost Blue" seems tailor-made for a orchestra like Metropole, given that the song was written with the voice of Chet Baker in mind. But did you originally write any of the other early career songs on "My Flame Burns Blue" — like, say, "Watching the Detectives" or "Clubland" — with a jazz orchestra even a bit in mind?

    No, obviously I didn't. But what I did have in mind when we made even the original record of 'Watching the Detectives' was television and film detective music. I really always loved Bernard Herrmann and Neal Hefti and ... those sort of arrangers and composers who wrote for film as well as for concert music or arrangements for big bands. So it seemed, to me, natural.

    "Obviously, some people are going to be shocked with the transformation of 'Watching the Detectives' from a very sparse, tense record like the original recording to something with a swing band feel and a big band. But, I mean, when I was a kid growing up, detective shows had themes like this. And the song describes a woman looking at a detective show. So in my mind, it just became the music that was on the show, you know? (Laughs.)

    "And also, you know, I think people can sometimes lose sight of a sense of mischief in music. And humor. That song has been repeated so many times I think that it's time to have some mischief with the song. So ... when the horns hit on some of those little stabs (Metropole) play, I do imagine, actually, (that a) big cartoon (balloon) should come up in the air that says, 'Biff! Bang! Pow!' like in 'Batman,' you know?"

    "Detectives" does have sort of that vibe on "My Flame."

    Absolutely! Absolutely, which is (influenced by) Neal Hefti. ... That's one of my favorite arrangements on the record — even though that sounds a little egotistical because I wrote it. But I've enjoyed opening up the songs to these new possibilities.

    "In some cases, you give a song over to somebody else — like Sy Johnson's ('My Flame Burns Blue') arrangement of 'Clubland' — (and) he takes a lot of the things that are the original Attractions recording and he just transposes them and transcribes them for the big band.

    "A song like 'Episode of Blonde' is (Metropole conductor) Vince Mendoza (adding) a whole layer of strings swirling around that sounds like a Bollywood movie. I love the fact that he had the imagination to do that.

    "I had written lyrics for Billy Strayhorn's 'Blood Count,' which is a beautiful and very difficult composition, and imagined that it might be a vocal piece. And Vince brings this arrangement, which is so extraordinary. The actual writing of the arrangement — the close harmonization, which is in Strayhorn's original composition — (is) so richly orchestrated. I mean, you would be absolutely a fool not to enjoy the experience of singing these pieces.

    "And I think the fact that we did (the CD) on the stage as opposed to in the studio gives it a little sort of danger and a little rough edge here and there, which I think makes it open to people rather than some very grand thing that people maybe can't find their way into."

    Did you ever consider taking Metropole Orkest into the studio and re-recording these songs as opposed to releasing the live 2004 concert?

    "I did at one point, after the recording of 'Il Sogno.'

    "The suite from 'Il Sogno' is an added disc in this ('My Flame Burns Blue') package. But the original recording of 'Il Sogno' was ... written in two years, and in 2002, we recorded it.

    "I knew that it was going to be difficult for people to accept an instrumental piece from me because I wasn't known for that, except for the music I'd written for television in England for which I'd actually won a British Academy Award. But it wasn't like something that I was celebrated for.

    "I knew that people would be a little cautious about an instrumental work by me. So my original plan, actually, was to record much of the repertoire that ended up on 'My Flame Burns Blue' in the studio.

    "But then what happened between the recording and release of (2002's) 'When I Was Cruel' and the release of 'Il Sogno' was that I wrote 'North.' As a consequence, 'North' really was a very different sort of thing. It was a very concentrated, very intimate, very personal record. And that, of course, was urgent to me in that it expressed something that I wanted to say right then.

    "Though it did use orchestra, ('North') didn't really build the bridge for listeners from the rock 'n' roll sound of 'When I Was Cruel' to the sounds of orchestras I've used in 'Il Sogno.' I can understand why people would not follow the thread. If you see 'My Flame Burns Blue' as the record that lies in between, I think it's easier to understand.

    "If you hear 'When I Was Cruel' and then you hear 'My Flame Burns Blue' — which contains 'Episode of Blonde,' but also contains 'Speak Darkly, My Angel' — you can hear the relationship between my thinking about orchestra in some of the ballads on this record. And then if you listen to 'Il Sogno' you can hear how those ideas are worked out in the telling of the tale of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' I mean, that's if you care to do that. ...

    "Some people will just say, 'Where's the chorus? Where's the hook? I know him as a singer. I don't get it.' And obviously, 'Il Sogno' is presented to people that want to listen to instrumental music. I don't expect everybody who bought 'Pump It Up' to like this piece. That would be an idiotic conceit. But I know there are people out there who appreciate (it).

    "The performances of 'Il Sogno' that have taken place so far, I think, again, once people see something in person, they connect with it much more. I think even people that are not used to hearing an orchestra. When they come ... (and) there's an orchestra right in front of them and this music is coming at them, it can be pretty overwhelming, whatever the music is.

    "Having been to Diana's concert (at the Waikiki Shell) — and obviously outdoor concerts are a little bit different, because the sound is more diffuse — we're playing in a concert hall on our visit. And I know the symphony is really good.

    "I'll be working with Matt (Catingub). We'll be putting together the program the day before (the shows). We have the suite from 'Il Sogno" ... (and) a really good program of songs. It's not exactly the same as (the tracks on) 'My Flame Burns Blue.' It has a couple of those titles and some other songs ... some very well-known songs and a couple of surprises. I think people will get a kick out of it if they come along.

    Speaking of the fan base, do you still get a lot of gripes about the fact that you'll likely never do a "My Aim Is True, Too" or "Back in the Armed Forces" — or have they just accepted that, musically, you'll just do whatever you're interested in?

    "Well, I don't know how you would possibly know that. Unless you actually go around and ask people personally, how would you know what anybody is thinking?

    "I think the bland assumptions that record companies and radio-station programmers make — and even sometimes people that write in the press about music — (are) because they have a limited imagination and think that everybody else does. ...

    "People come up to me all the time and say all sorts of things. They'll say, 'You know, I really listened to your music when I was in college.' I'm at that age now where I have people reminiscing about some experience where the music was particularly important to them at a certain time of life.

    "I have people come up to me with their children — who are now adults themselves — who were named for the song 'Alison,' and younger kids that were named for the song 'Veronica.' Obviously, music is important, if you do something like that. But it's just as likely that somebody will come up to me and say, 'I really loved that record you made with Burt Bacharach.' ...

    "Obviously, the people who are rigid in their thinking and believe that I should make 'Armed Forces, Too' don't want to hear this. But I have people come up to me all the time and say, 'I love "The Juliet Letters" or 'I really like the record that you did with Anne Sofie von Otter.' I know it's not a hugely popular record, but I think we all knew that it wouldn't be a massive success. In terms of classical-music sales, it was a big hit.

    "I've now had two Top Five jazz albums, for what it's worth. (Chuckles.) I mean, it's a crazy thing. 'North' was a No. 1 (jazz) record. 'My Flame Burns Blue' was only kept (out of No. 1) by Michael Bublé. Whether you measure a success by those things or not, I know that I did things heart and soul (on) all of the records that I've made. I don't make records for idle reasons.

    "I see sometimes a criticism — one that's expressed more stridently in England than it is in America — that I do things to make myself look important. I think that is a conceit of journalists, really. There's so much work that goes into everything that I do. ... I'm not thinking, 'How does this make me look?' I'm thinking, 'Am I enjoying this?' (and) 'Do I really want to do it?' (Laughs.) You don't do something like 'My Flame Burns Blue' to make yourself look clever. Or to write 'Il Sogno.' It's too much work! It's a lot of work. You do it because you love it. And that's why I did it.

    "I loved writing ('Il Sogno'). It was a really different experience to hear the music played back for the first time in Bologna (and) to hear it played again by the London Symphony Orchestra with Michael Tilson Thomas on the recording. (Also) to hear it performed in a concert hall by the Brooklyn Philharmonic and recently by the Sydney Symphony. And it will be just as exciting to hear the suite played by the Honolulu Symphony. I'll be sitting in the audience, because you hear a different interpretation each time. This music is there for those 50 or more musicians to bring to life.

    "And that's something that people who are rigid in their thinking, that think the only sort-of authentic music is rock 'n' roll because it's sort of raw and primal ... they don't understand the raw and primal that's even in notated music.

    "This is people breathing and moving their arms and using their physical being to bring a sound into the air that has been imagined by one person. Whether it's timeless or whether it's of huge value, only time will tell.

    "I didn't (title) this piece, 'Symphony No. 1.' It is a series of episodes that reflect the scenes in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' so it's playful. It's comedic sometimes. I'm hopeful it's touching. There are some rhythmic surprises in it. And I'm just trying to present a piece of music that will engage people. And then for the rest of the concert I sing, which is what I'm more readily known for."

    You mentioned that you've never made a decision on what to record that was half-hearted, that you've entered each project with a passion for it. Are you enjoying your work — both live and in the studio — more than you ever have?

    "I'm having a ball! I mean, I tell you, you would not believe the work I've done in the last month.

    "I'm here at Sirius Radio, where I've just done a radio taping of some of the songs from my next record 'The River In Reverse,' (which) I've (been recording) with (New Orleans R&B legend) Allen Toussaint since the end of last year. In the last couple of weeks, I've played up at Levon Helm's 'Midnight Ramble,' (live sessions where) Levon is having shows in his house and inviting people up to play. Allen and I went up and played with him.

    "Diana and I went to Tony Bennett's studio and recorded a track each for his 80th (birthday) celebration record. Then I went and played two nights at the Grand Ole Opry. The following Monday, I played with Allen at Joe's Pub (in New York City) for a launch of 'The River In Reverse.' The following Saturday, I sat in with a band with Levon Helm, Jimmy Vivino and Hubert Sumlin playing Howlin' Wolf songs.

    "Monday night, I played with Allen, Robbie Robertson, Buckwheat Zydeco and the Wild Magnolias closing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (induction ceremonies). And last night, I sang two Motown songs on a Motown colon cancer benefit organized by Katie Couric.

    "I mean, I'm having a ball.

    "That isn't my main job. These are things I get to do because, you know, I've been doing this for a while and people say, 'Give him a call. He might sing a song on this.'

    "Pretty soon, I'll be on this tour with the orchestras. And as soon as that is finished, I go on the road with Allen playing with ... the Imposters, his horn section, his guitar player and Allen on piano. We're going to tour for a month and a half."

    As a lifelong music fan, do you still get starstruck or a bit nervous playing with a legend like Toussaint?

    "Well, I mean, yeah. I'd met Allen before in the '80s, so I did know him a little bit. But I have to say, when I was rehearsing yesterday at this big gala — and there's everybody from Tony Bennett to Sting to the Muppets on the bill and we're all singing Motown songs, and I'm there singing 'Bernadette' — and I look down at the audience and there's Smokey Robinson? Yeah! (Laughs.)

    "But he could not have been nicer. And then to hear him sing and hear him rehearse, that's pretty magical."

    In addition, there was an interview with Oahu's Midweek Magazine's Chad Pata. It was nice to see Elvis Costello as a cover story in a local publication:

    Pops Goes Elvis

    Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elvis Costello talks about filming music videos in Hawaii and his weekend appearances with the Honolulu Symphony Pops, his first island concerts

    Elvis Costello and the Honolulu Pops? What’s next, Ozzy Osbourne and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

    Yes, it’s true, London’s acerbic wit, anti-establishment icon and intellectual yin to the Sex Pistols’ emotional yang is playing the Blaisdell Concert Hall this weekend with the symphony.

    It is the second stop on his tour promoting his new album, My Flame Burns Blue, which he recorded with the Dutch orchestra Metropole Orkest. It is a collection of not just classical jazz compositions, but remakes of some of his hits only with a 52-piece backing band.

    He has turned Watching the Detectives into a ‘50s television theme song while the formerly innocuous Clubland has been turned into a psychedelic soundtrack for a Latin Merry-Go-Round.

    But as fun as those songs are, he perhaps strikes home best with the opening track Hora Decubitus. The music belongs to Charles Mingus, but the lyrics were penned by Costello in the hours after the 9/11 attacks. His staccato delivery really captures the racing that all our minds and emotions endured as we processed the events of that day.

    These tracks and others will be featured in the second half of his show, while the first half will be the symphony performing Costello’s classical composition Il Sogno, which he wrote for an Italian dance company’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    He will follow up his two-day stint here with a Sunday show on Maui featuring just Costello and his pianist Steve Nieve, which he says will be much more free form than the stringent structure of the symphony.

    Despite his new formal style, his ideals and thoughts on music and politics have not softened a bit. While in New York he took the time to talk with MidWeek about his new show and his thoughts on everything from Hurricane Katrina to American pop culture:

    You have been playing music for over a quarter century and been to Hawaii countless times. Why is this the first show in the Islands?

    To be honest, we’ve never had an invitation before. It is really unusual that the first opportunity I get to play here is with the symphony. I always imagined I would have gotten here with the rock ‘n’roll band before now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come back and do that as well.

    Yet you have filmed a couple of your earlier music videos here. Why Hawaii?

    It chose itself. Hawaii was the stopover from a Canadian tour on the way to a Japanese tour, and it seemed like a golden opportunity. At a time when everyone was getting filmed against a wall or down an alley, we could get filmed on a beach. It was a tribute to health.

    This concert is with the Honolulu Pops. How did you start getting into more classical and orchestral music?

    I made a record a few years back with Burt Bacharach called Painted from Memory , which had some ballads with string accompaniments. So he really shepherded me in that direction, but I’ve always enjoyed orchestral sounds. Even a rock ‘n’roll group is a little orchestra of its own; you can make a surprising amount of sound with just four people.

    The good thing about the concert is that some people will come see the symphony who don’t normally come see them play because

    I am on the bill, so it will be something of a new experience for them.

    How do you think your fans are going to react to this new style of music for you?

    I think people tend to connect with instrumental music much more in person than they do on a record, ‘cause then you really get the feel of what’s going into it.

    You see the personality of the individual players, you see how they are making this thing happen, this magical thing of all these people playing together. The emphasis of when it’s a quiet moment, it’s as quiet as it can be, and when the power of the orchestra is fully heard, it’s as strong as anything you can create with an electric guitar.

    Will we be hearing anything off of Armed Forces, or will it all be more recent compositions?

    You may get one tune that goes back further than that. Now obviously we don’t play with a drummer and an electric guitar. This isn’t one of those shows with a symphony backing a rock band. That ain’t what it is. It’s me singing with the orchestra.

    So it’s not like Queen performing?

    It ain’t Queen -Queen it ain’t. It’s not at all like those sort of concerts where you have the symphony somewhere in the middle distance and the rock band up front. This is all about the orchestra and the singer with the orchestra. There will be more ballads than rock ‘n’ roll because it would be foolish of me to try to make the orchestra do something that the orchestra is not meant to do.

    I think people who come to the concert are very surprised by the immediacy of it. If your reference points for the music are with the rock ‘n’ roll band or pop music, sometimes people get a little fearful of the orchestra. They think it will be very serious and something that they cannot dig. But I think the reality is it is actually very easy to understand what is happening when you are there and it is all happening in front of you.

    What I like about these concerts is you get half an audience that is new to me and half an audience that is new to the orchestra. If we bind the two audiences, there is quite a mix of things.

    Are you going to be playing any instruments for the show?

    I may play guitar on occasion. Steve Nieve will be with me, so he’ll be playing the piano. I don’t think anyone there to see the symphony orchestra needs to hear me play the piano. I can play some accompaniments, but I don’t play many piano concertos.

    The new album (to be released in May), The River In Reverse, is a collaboration with legendary New Orleans artist Allen Toussaint about the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina. Is it a criticism of the present administration or is it a plea for the people who have been displaced?

    Well, there are some words said; I ain’t going tell you what the songs say because you need to hear them with the music to get the real feeling of them. There are some songs he wrote 30 years ago, one he wrote for Lee Dorsey called Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further, that as you can tell by the title has something to say about what is going on. Inevitably some things that we wrote reflected some of the things that Al had been through and we’d all witnessed, and none of those things was particularly good. That wasn’t a lot to say that was good about many of the authorities that were supposed to help people, but this song of Allen’s, he says things with a wit that I really admire. The song says “What happened to the Liberty Bell I heard so much about/Did it really ding dong/It must have dinged wrong/It didn’t ding long.” He wrote that 30 years ago and it’s a shame that it seems to have found its moment now.

    I’ve always enjoyed the social commentary in your songs - what is your take on present-day America with its obsession with celebrity and reality shows?

    I don’t have a comment on it because I don’t even think about it. If you don’t like that sort of stuff then you are just adding to its power, if that’s the right word, or its ubiquity by talking about it all the time. If you go to any kind of event to do a record or show business event, whether it be a film premiere or a charity event, people will stop and ask you what you think about such-and-such a person who happens to be in the newspapers that week.

    They are usually not in the newspapers for having cured a major disease or contributed a whole lot to society. It’s usually for falling out of their dress or getting divorced or getting married on top of an iceberg or something. It’s stuff that we spend a lot of time worrying about that doesn’t really matter, so let’s not talk about it.

    With the benefit of time, do you wish you could have been more of a popular success, or do you kind of relish your underground rock god status?

    I don’t know how you measure those things. Do you mean do I wish I had my own reality show, do I wish I had sold more records? Sometimes a record you made you wish could have reached a few more people that might have enjoyed it. But I toured with the Imposters last year, and we played a concert in Chicago to 14,000 people. That wasn’t a festival, just a regular gig. And that’s without a hit single or any radio play or anything.

    If you measure by awards, I’ve won a bunch of awards. I was nominated for an Oscar (Cold Mountain) and a lot of Grammys. But I wasn’t nominated for anything for 20 years and they missed a lot of good records. But some people who have hits are solely associated with that one hit, and all anybody wants to hear is that one song. I have made all different kinds of records, so I don’t have that restriction. I feel that I am pretty lucky to be able to do whatever it is that takes my interest and follow it through with all of my heart.

    Well, thanks for the time. You are kind of an urban fellow, what do you do while you are in Hawaii?

    I lay in a hammock. It’s the only time I ever lay in a hammock, and that’s why no one recognizes me, cause I’m not moving. So I’ll see you under a palm tree.

    Finally, after two days, Harry Eager of The Maui News reported on the power outage. It put a nice photo similar to one taken by "The Time Machine" on the front page. The paper used the photography of Mana'o Radio's own Tony Novak-Clifford:

    The Time Machine

    Elvis Costello and keyboardist Steve Nieve (left) took their performance outside Sunday after the lights went out in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Technicians improvised a sound system with a bullhorn.

    POWER SHORTAGE: Generators go down so rolling blackouts used, fix due today
    By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer

    KAHULUI – Maui Electric Co. had to use rolling blackouts at times Saturday night, Sunday and Monday because of a series of mishaps that knocked out about a quarter of its generating capacity.

    Stan Kiyonaga, the utility’s manger of power supply, said Monday afternoon that he expected to get a main unit back in action by about noon today, which should provide MECO with a comfortable but not extravagant reserve.

    But the company asked large users to voluntarily curb their power use between the peak hours of 6 to 9 p.m. Monday night, and also asked residents to defer nonessential uses.

    On Saturday night, a generating unit at the Maalaea power plant tripped offline and cut off power to most of East Maui, Waihee, Kahakuloa, Spreckelsville, Paia, Makawao, Pukalani and parts of Wailuku. Power was restored gradually, with the final customers getting electricity back in 84 minutes.

    The Sunday outages put an unexpected spin on an Elvis Costello concert for about 1,200 people who paid between $38 and $58 each at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Costello and his keyboardist, Steve Nieve, went outside and performed with a jury-rigged microphone and a bullhorn until power was restored.

    On Monday, the Sack ’N Save store in Wailuku closed when its turn came up in the rolling blackouts. Also, a blackout closed Foodland Super Market in Pukalani. According to MECO, the outages were spread around randomly to share the inconvenience.

    “All of our efforts are focused on bringing needed units back into service. We appreciate the public’s help in conserving electricity this evening,” said Ed Reinhardt, president of Maui Electric, in a message sent out Monday afternoon.

    And, he apologized for the inconvenience.

    MECO’s problems really began last December, when a 12-megawatt diesel generator threw a connecting rod. The company decided it was worth repairing the considerable damage, but the huge engine won’t be back until the middle of next year.

    The loss of a medium-size unit, in itself, is usually unnoticeable by consumers, because the company’s planning – as mandated by the Public Utilities Commission – allows for a total capacity equal to its highest annual peak demand, less its biggest generating unit.

    This allows not only for accidents but for withdrawing any unit for maintenance without compromising the ability to supply all customers.

    Starting Saturday, however, MECO ended up with four units out of service all at once, and by Sunday it also had lost the electricity it buys from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.

    Not counting the HC&S contribution – which is usually a minimum of 12 megawatts but can be more – MECO’s various generators at Maalaea and Kahului are rated at 234.1 megawatts.

    Losing the 12-megawatt diesel knocked that down to 222.1 megawatts, still plenty.

    But on Saturday, a failing bearing knocked out Unit M14 at Maalaea, one of MECO’s biggest units at 20 megawatts. M14 is part of a combined cycle unit that links two 20-megawatt turbines from which waste heat then drives a 9-megawatt steam generator.

    So losing M14 cost Maui Electric 29 megawatts. (The companion turbine kept going.)

    Almost simultaneously, a smaller unit at Kahului dropped off the grid, and another unit already was out of service for scheduled maintenance.

    As a result, on Monday afternoon MECO had only 174.1 megawatts of generating capacity working, and estimates were that peak demand in the evening would perhaps reach 195 megawatts.

    Even if HC&S had been able to supply its maximum – which it wasn’t – the utility was looking to fall short. Thus, Kiyonaga said, MECO “had to roll some circuits” – that is, deprive some areas of electricity in order to keep the whole system from crashing.

    At least five circuits at a time have to be taken off line, to prevent frequency gyrations from destabilizing the whole power grid.

    The circuits are chosen at random, although some circuits are exempt, like the one serving Maui Memorial Medical Center.

    That meant that at about 8 p.m. Sunday the MACC crowd was suddenly watching the show in semidarkness.

    Barbara Trecker, MACC director of marketing, said Makana, a Hawaiian slack key guitarist, had just completed his opening act.

    The theater went to its emergency backup power. Costello and Nieve performed four songs, Trecker said. Then, not knowing how long the emergency lights would stay on and not wanting such a large number of people in complete darkness, the crowd was asked to go outside to the courtyard where center staff jury-rigged a microphone using a bullhorn, and Costello performed the song, “Watching the Detective.”

    “The guy was such a trouper,” Trecker said. “He did it all.”

    Then, the lights came back on in the middle of the song, or about 45 minutes after the initial blackout, she said.

    “It was terrific,” Trecker said.

    Costello then returned to the Castle Theater to finish the concert.

    “Elvis left the building, but he came back,” she said. “The audience was stoked. . . . He was a consummate artist. The show went on, and he did an awesome job.”

    On Monday afternoon, MECO was again “rolling” power off around the island.

    Outages were typically short, although on Saturday some areas were without electricity for more than an hour.

    Kiyonaga said Monday that it appeared that a bearing in M14 had started “flaking.” The bits of metal clogged a circulating oil strainer, and a sensor detected a pressure differential and shut the unit down Saturday evening.

    MECO has four of the 20-megawatt units – similar in size and origin to the engine on a jet airliner – and for the past couple of years it has kept a spare on hand.

    “It’s expensive,” says Kiyonaga, “but it’s worth it for the reliability.”

    Ordinarily, the spare is installed when one of the regular units is removed for periodic overhaul, which is done at a certified depot on the Mainland.

    M14 was the first of the turbines installed at Maalaea, in 1990.

    Steve Holaday, general manager of HC&S, said Monday that his problems were independent of MECO’s. HC&S had equipment failures Sunday night and again Monday morning.

    HC&S was able to start delivering its normal 12 megawatts shortly before 4 p.m. Monday and was preparing to deliver even more by the evening peak.

    HC&S was in a position to deliver almost all its electricity to MECO, because the rains of the past few days had halted harvesting. As a result, the Puunene mill was shut down.

    HC&S planned to resume harvesting and grinding today.

    Elvis Costello's Official Website