Winter concert gives musicians voice


Photo by Destinee Murray

8th grader Makana Saito-Takabayashi performed solos the entire night impressing the audience with his talent from three years playing the saxophone at the Winter Band Concert in Keōpūolani Hale last night.

It was a night to share music for Kamehameha School’s Maui high school concert band and jazz rock ensemble and middle school concert band. The bands performed Christmas and jazz songs with solos thrown into the middle of each number Tuesday night at Keōpūolani Hale.

“I [did] it creatively to utilize all these kids to push everybody to do something totally different,” band director Mr. Siuai Laufou said.

It was the first time Mr. Laufou had all bands merge together for the entire program. The band also featured three King Kekaulike band students.

“They asked me. They wanted to play. Music is shared, and I’ll share the music with anybody,” Mr. Laufou said.

During each song, Mr. Laufou recognized each soloist. The main soloist was eighth grader Makana Saito-Takabayashi with a solo in almost every song.

Saito-Takabayashi has been playing the saxophone for three years and he said he found being a soloist a fun and privileged experience.

Mr. Laufou said most jazz songs are really one song prolonged by improvised solos that performers use to express themselves.

The program included:

  • Jamming with Charlie by Dean Sorenson and Bruce Pearson
  • Deck the Hall arranged by Peter Blair
  • Who Let the Elves Out? Arranged by Victor Lopez
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Frank Loesser, arranged by Rick Stitzel
  • Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer by Randy Brooks, arranged by Eric Osterling
  • Rock on Merry Gents arranged by Victor Lopez
  • Uncle Milo’s Side Show by Dean Sorenson and Bruce Pearson
  • Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano, arranged by Victor Lopez

“If music was a language, this is the beginning of them trying to talk,” Mr. Laufou said before conducting the students in their last song, Feliz Navidad. 

“We encourage them to talk, so it’s the same thing with music. We encourage… [because] in jazz, there are no wrong notes,” Mr. Laufou.

The next concert for the students to “express themselves through music,” will be at their Band-O-Rama in the spring.