Bravo! Punahou Music Faculty Members Put on Exquisite Recital

– By Helen Chao-Casano, Music School Director

Through music, we dream and discover. Through music, we learn and practice discipline and creativity. Through music, we connect and celebrate as a community. 

Faculty members of the Music School and Music Department – which include over 60 artist-educators whose work reaches over 3,500 students each week – believe in the power of music to inspire a deep sense of belonging. These musicians are talented beyond measure and have dedicated their lives to music as professional performing artists and music educators. 

In September, we presented a special recital at Dillingham Hall because we wanted to share our passion for music with our students, their families and our community – it was an honor to collaborate and perform together. For the recital, 34 music faculty performers assembled and shared their breadth and diversity as music makers, including classical, jazz, Hawaiian and popular styles. We put together a program that not only included a wide range of music from Vivaldi to Bruno Mars, but that also featured a mix of ensembles including solo piano, voice/piano duo, bassoon/piano duo, piano duet, piano trio (one piano, six hands!), oboe/viola/piano trio, piano quintet (string quartet plus piano), jazz combo, a vocal ensemble and a chamber orchestra.

When you make music with others, you have to challenge yourself and combine your individual strengths and voice to create a collective vision. Although we are professional musicians and music educators, our creative process is the same as what we work on with our students. Our first step is to figure out what to play, followed by diligent individual practice and preparation. We then put it all together with our ensemble mates and explore our interpretation by creating a musical narrative through shared leadership, active listening and communication. The final step is to share our music with others through performance. This deep dedication to the process of music making is transformative and rewarding.

When we commit ourselves to this creative process, we also commit ourselves to each other as performers and to the audience with whom we share the music. Of course, when you perform you really have to put yourself out there. Performing requires the willingness to work hard, to be vulnerable, to be humble – and to take risks. Ultimately, the creative process helps you know how to be a confident contributor and collaborator. These are the life skills we hope to instill in our music students. 

We are grateful to share the gift of music through performing and teaching. We could not imagine a more beautiful way to close the afternoon recital than to invite the audience to join us in singing “Hawai‘i Aloha,” and celebrate being together as a community.

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