3rd Annual Upcountry Music Festival fills Kahekili with song


Photo by staff

Mr. Siuai Laufou welcomes the audience to four upcountry schools playing for the 3rd Annual Upcountry Music Festival on March 11 at Kahekili Gymnasium.

By Destinee Murray, staff writer

Ensembles from four upcountry schools, one middle school and three high schools, presented the 3rd Annual Upcountry Music Festival on March 11 at Kahekili Gymnasium. Each band performed two or three songs and came together to play four in the end.

The concert opened up with the KSM Jazz Band Ensemble playing two songs with vocals. The ensemble was the only group to play songs with vocals. The songs were:

  • Black Magic Woman by Santana (Vocalist: Shane Borge)
  • Treasure by Bruno Mars (Vocalist: Mariana Kaniho)

Next, Nā Ali‘i Big Band got everyone’s toes tapping with two swing songs:

  • Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller and Mitchell Parish
  • Birdland by Joe Zawinul, arranged by Michael Sweeney.

As always, various officers and leaders of the S. E. Kalama Concert Band thanked the administration of Kamehameha Maui for hosting the festival and introduced each song with a bit of history and meaning about it. The three songs they played were:

  • Carpathia by William Owens
  • Beyond the Seven Hills by Michael Sweeney
  • Cut to the Chase by Todd Stalter

Band Director Richie Franco entertained the audience by finding a way to tie together three very different song selections, from the spy world of James Bond to the final Latino number. The Seabury Hall Concert Band playlist included:

  • The James Bond Theme by Monty Norman, arranged by Victor Lopez
  • What a Wonderful World by Weiss and Thiele, arranged by Richard Saucedo
  • Livin’ La Vida Loca by Child and Rosa, arranged by John Higgins

The King Kekaulike High School Wind Ensemble performed:

  • Transformed Spring by Patrick J. Burns
  • Scherzo: Cat and Mouse by Robert Spittal

Next, the Kamehameha Maui Concert Band played:

  • Balladair by Frank Erickson
  • Beyond the Riverbend by Robert Sheldon

After each individual group finished their playlist, the four bands performed four songs together for the first time:

  • Latin Fiesta arranged by Michael Sweeney
  • Anasazi by John Edmondson
  • Kawaipunahele by Kealii Reichel, arranged by Siuai Laufou
  • Macklemore Medley by Haggerty and Lewis, arranged by Casey Nagata

Each of the numbers was conducted by one of the four participating band directors. KS Maui’s band director, Mr. Siuai Laufou told the audience that he had arranged the Reichel song in 1995 and that other bands had performed it, but this was the first time that he conducted the number himself.