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Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival to feature free jam sessions

By Staff | Apr 12, 2018

Geri Valdriz (center) performs at the 2017 Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival with guest artists. The festival will begin Friday with free open stage performance sessions from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MAUI STEEL GUITAR FESTIVAL.

KAANAPALI – The tenth anniversary of the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will be celebrated on Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, at Kaanapali Beach Hotel and expanded on Sunday, April 15, at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului.

Admission to the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Produced by Arts Education for Children Group (AECG) and the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), the festival is presented for public awareness, education, community outreach and entertainment.

Festivities at Kaanapali Beach Hotel include open stage performance sessions on Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., two days of ho’olaule’a pageants with six presentations each night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., kanikapila jam sessions for the public hosted by master steel guitar players each night at 9:30 p.m., steel guitar workshops on Saturday, cultural activities and a vintage steel guitar exhibit courtesy of Geri Valdriz.

The lineup for April 13 and 14 features Alan Akaka, Tadashi Arakawa, Bobby Ingano, Joel Katz, Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi, Dave “DK” Kolars, Patti Maxine, Greg Sardinha, Alexis Tolentino and Valdriz, as well as Ke Kula Mele Hawaii Next Generation student musicians.

Special guest performers from Japan include a student quartet, Anegogumi, featuring Yoshiko Seo on steel guitar, and the 17-member Yokohama Hawaiian Music Academy Band with steel guitar, guitar, bass and ukulele players.

The April 15 festival at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center will showcase Valdriz’ vintage steel guitar exhibit installed at the Story of Hawaii Museum and a ho’olaule’a pageant, featuring ten steel guitar presentations beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m.

The lineup includes Akaka, Arakawa, Ingano, Kobayashi, Kolars, Maxine, Sardinha, Tolentino and Valdriz. Ke Kula Mele Hawaii Next Generation student musicians will open the pageant.

Maui Steel Guitar Camp precedes the festival on Wednesday, April 11, and Thursday, April 12, on the grounds of Kaanapali Beach Hotel. Tuition-based, the camp’s goal is for each attendee to play class-assigned Hawaiian songs on the lap steel guitar. Three intensive sessions (two in the morning and one in the afternoon) will be conducted each day by Akaka and Sardinha, two of Hawaii’s steel guitar masters. Cost is $225 per person; no prior experience is necessary.

A silent auction will be held on April 13-14 to help underwrite festival production costs and perpetuate music education in Hawaii.

Those who wish to donate certificates and items for the auction can contact AECG President Bryant Neal at (808) 283-3576; donations are tax-deductible.

Maui’s event oversaw the renaissance of the Hawaiian steel guitar, considered to be the only modern instrument indigenous to Hawaii.

Joseph Kekuku, a young Hawaiian from Laie, is recognized as the inventor in 1889 of Kika Kila, the Hawaiian steel guitar.

Since the festival’s inception, steel guitar master Akaka and his team have established steel guitar festivals on Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii Island.

For more information, visit MauiSteelGuitarFestival.com or HiMele.org.

For hotel reservations, see KBHMaui.com or call (800) 262-8450 and mention the Maui Steel Guitar Festival for a preferred rate.