Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016


Night serenade of Pāhala homes this week with caroling from Thy Word Ministry. Photo by Julia Neal
RELEASE THE REPORT ON RUSSIAN INFLUENCE IN THE U.S. ELECTIONS, Sen Mazie Hirono urged yesterday. The Hawaiʻi U.S. Senator stated: “Earlier this year, our country’s intelligence agencies made a unanimous and unprecedented announcement. The Russian government hacked, interfered, and meddled in our elections.”
     Hirono noted that yesterday, President Barack  Obama “announced an investigation into Russia’s interference. This is an important step, but the president has not committed to releasing the report's findings to the public. The American people deserve to know if external forces are tampering with our votes and undermining our democracy,” stated Hirono.
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DEADLINE TO VOTE FOR HŌKŪLEʻA in the National Geographic’s 2017 Adventurer of the Year contest is coming up next Friday, Dec. 16. The Polynesian voyaging canoe, which has stopped numerous times in Kaʻū, is on an international mission, encircling the planet and teaching the skills of Polynesians who sailed to the Hawaiian Islands from the South Pacific and made Hawaiʻi their home as its first human inhabitants.
Nainoa Thompson, of Polynesian Voyaging Society.
Vote for Hōkūleʻa to be National Geographic’s 2017
Adventurer of the Year. Photo by Teresa Tico
     National Geographic writer Aaron Teasdale reported that, “Historians once insisted that Polynesia, the vast sweep of Pacific Ocean and a thousand widely scattered islands from Hawaiʻi to New Zealand, was settled by chance, with early Polynesians in rudimentary rafts blown randomly from island to island. In the mid-1970s, a small group of people in Hawaiʻi set out to prove them wrong. They re-created a classic Polynesian voyaging canoe and named it Hōkūle‘a, after an important star for navigation. Their dream was to sail across the sea to Tahiti and prove their ancestors were purposeful navigators of the Pacific.”
     The Polynesian navigator Piailug guided Hōkūle‘a’s first crew in a 31-day, 2,400-mile open-ocean voyage to Tahiti. “To their surprise, a crowd of 17,000 euphoric Tahitians greeted them on shore. The seafaring culture of Polynesia was reborn,” Teasdale wrote.
     Since then, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, led by Nainoa Thompson, with Hōkūle‘a and her sister canoe, have provided much education to the residents of the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.
     In 2013, Hōkūle‘a and its hui set sail on the round-the-world voyage. This voyage is now on National Geographic’s prestigious short list of outstanding adventures. Perhaps the voters of the world will judge the Hawaiians’ inspiring canoe trip by celestial navigation to have been the ultimate adventure?
     To vote for 2017 Adventurer of the Year, go to National Geographic website: www.nationalgeograhic.com. Voting is allowed daily.
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Jami Beck is up for Miss Photogenic
and the public can vote online this week.
ONLY A FEW DAYS REMAIN TO VOTE ONLINE FOR JAMI BECK for Miss Photogenic in the Miss Teen Hawaiʻi Pageant. The deadline is Monday, Dec. 12. Beck will participate in the statewide pageant on Sunday, Dec. 18 at Neil Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. Beck is a graduate of Kaʻū High School and attends the University of Hawaiʻi in Hilo. She is a youth ranger at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
     Beck told The Kaʻū Calendar, “I am so appreciative of the support I have received from the community. Terry Shibuya mentors me through the pageant process and is instrumental in helping me securing sponsors. It is so heartwarming to receive support from the Kaʻū Coffee Farmers Cooperative, O Kaʻū Kakou, Punaluʻu Bake Shop, Dorvin Leis Mechanical and many other individuals. Vote at Facebook.com.

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TUTU & ME WILL HOST A KEIKI CHRISTMAS FUN DAY and Open House for all keiki birth to five years of age, along with their caregivers on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at Pāhala Community Center.

OCEAN VIEW'S OWN MICHAEL CRIPPS WILL BE THE CONDUCTOR at the Chamber Orchestra of Kona’s Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at the Sheraton ballroom in Keauhou. The Chamber Orchestra of Kona, also called the COOK, is comprised of about 37 musicians, and performs about four concerts per year, all of which draw a large and loyal following of music lovers.
     For the COOK, Cripps as the conductor, is an answer to prayer after the newly appointed conductor had to recently withdraw due to ill health. For Cripps, however, this is the opportunity of a lifetime – the culmination of studying, learning and honing his skills as a musician since he was nine years old when he dreamed of one day being a conductor. Cripps was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of a professional jazz bass player, who took charge of the school band and also taught all the musical instruments to elementary school students. “He was passionate about getting kids started,” recalls Cripps. “He was really good at inspiring kids to play, and taught me in the fifth and sixth grades.”
Michael Cripps  Photo by Peter Bosted


Cripps began learning the cello when he was nine –  a large instrument for a young boy. But he was helped with private lessons from the cellist who played in the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. The lessons lasted through high school. While mastering cello, Cripps was able to learn to play a wide variety of other instruments – like both the violin and viola at age 11, then trombone at 12, and at age 13, tuba and euphonium, which resembles a tenor tuba. At 14 he learned the flute, which came in handy his first year of college at the University of Central Arkansas. There a musician had to withdraw suddenly from the marching band so Cripps was able to take her place playing the piccolo.
     In 2005 Cripps took private lessons in learning to conduct an orchestra, which included practicing on the college orchestra. In 2006, he was included in an exchange of music students with China. Cripps spent a summer playing Chamber music and touring with a Chinese orchestra, and was once allowed to conduct the orchestra for one piece.
     “Chinese musicians are very passionate about music and technically they are very good. This tour helped me set my sights higher and stoked my ambitions,” explained Cripps. In 2007 he returned to China with his cello for more touring. He was shown on Chinese TV making a speech about how music is the common language that binds us all together. He went on to say that music education is important as it opens doors to opportunities one could never have.
      In 2008 he graduated college with a Bachelors degree in Music in Performance. Faced with the need for a job to fund a car and rent, Cripps worked at the Dillards flagship store in Little Rock, while continuing to play professionally around

Ocean View conductor Michael Kripps will lead the Chamber Orchestra of Kona on Dec. 20
Photo from Chamber Orchestra of Kona
the state until 2010, when  Dillards promoted him to manager and relocated him to Dallas, Texas. Not enamored with big cities, Cripps and his partner grabbed a job offer and moved to the Big Island. Cripps is a Sales Manager at Macy’s in Kona.
      Cripps joined COOK as a cello player, and that led to more offers to play with other orchestras around the island, including the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchid Isle Orchestra, and the Kona Choral Society.
      On Sunday, April 10, the COOK performed a very popular concert at the Sheraton Hotel in Keauhou, which called for a tenor solo in a piece named ’O Sole Mio by Capurro. The best candidate for this, was COOK’s conductor at the time, Bernaldo Evangelista. Cripps modestly mentioned his conducting experience and so it was decided that for that piece, Evangelista would sing and Cripps would conduct.
     “I was extremely nervous as the time came for me to stand up and face the orchestra,” Cripps said. “But once the music started my nervousness drained away and I was able to focus and perform. It was the high point of my career – everything I had learned about the theory of music and playing all the instruments came to me and I could see clearly what to do and when to do it and why. I knew what the composer wanted and was able to communicate that to the orchestra and through it, to the audience. It was a very special moment.”
    The piece had the audience on their feet, applauding performances by both Cripps and Evangelista.
    This proved to be a turning point for COOK and Cripps. Whenever Evangelista’s health kept him from attending all the weekly rehearsals of the COOK, Cripps would take up the baton and rehearse the orchestra as the substitute conductor. Then, when Evangelista was forced to quit due to ill health, Cripps was the conductor of choice for both the musicians and the COOK management.
     Cripps exudes enthusiasm for his new position and the orchestra. “COOK is a very special orchestra – anyone can join – and the people who do love being here. When we all play together, it’s like magic.”

    Cripps is sure that being able to play so many instruments from such a young age has helped him become a better conductor.
    “I know how long wind instruments musicians can hold a note before they run out of breath – which is not the same as the brass players. I talk a lot to the orchestra when I am conducting at rehearsals. I usually have them run through the entire piece, and then go back and work on parts that were not quite right. I spend a lot of time studying the music at home, and I learn which are the important lines that need to be brought out.
      “COOK musicians have a large range of abilities – some are beginners, other professionals, and its my job to get them to work together. Make no mistake, it is a very good orchestra. These people are inspired and the want to play well together and they do. As a conductor, I have to find the middle ground between being too demanding and letting anything go.
      “I still feel intimidated when I stand up in front of the orchestra,” Cripps confides. “Music is a huge field and I, as the conductor, am expected to know everything. I have to feel that people are confident in my guidance. I have to use my knowledge of music theory to break the music down to different forms and levels so that I can see what the composer was really thinking when he wrote the piece. I have to use the orchestra to interpret the composer for the audience. I owe it to the musicians who trust me, and the audience who support us, to get it exactly right.”
     Kaʻū music lovers can see their Ocean View neighbor conduct the COOK’s program of classic Christmas music at the Sheraton hotel’s large ballroom, adjacent to the main hotel in Keahou.
     The concert is on Tuesday, Dec. 20, starting at 7 p.m. Kids up to age 17 are free. Schools will be closed at this time, presenting an ideal opportunity for young people to experience orchestral music along with Christmas favorites. Older music lovers can enjoy the debut performance of a conductor who is undoubtedly
      Adult tickets can be purchased at the door or on line at www.chamberorchestraofkona.com Preferred seating is the first three rows in the middle.
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THE LIVING MYSTERY SYMPOSIUM is today at Kīlauea Theater, and Sunday at Koa Conference Room.“Is the Supernatural the Super Natural?” asks New York Times best-selling author of Communion, Whitley Strieber. Also speaking is former Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, Jeffrey Kripal, ethnobotonist Terrence McKenna and author/talk show host Jeremy Vaeni. Kama‘aina pricing. Free park entrance upon emailed request. See www.jaylonproductions.com.

PĀHALA’S CHRISTMAS PARADE IS TOMORROW, SUNDAY, DEC. 11 at 1 p.m. The annual parade is in its 38th year and travels through the streets, winding up at Holy Rosary Catholic Church for refreshments. Organizer is Eddie Andrade.

INSPIRATION HIKE is today, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Artists are invited to be inspired on a hike at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Artists learn how nature can inspire them to connect with their own creativity on this free, moderately easy, 1.5-mile hike. Register by Dec 6. nps.gov/havo

ALYSHA & PETE 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL WINTER JAM tournament continues today through Sunday at the new Kaʻū District Gym. Public is invited to attend.. Age groups are ten and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, boys, girls and co-ed, as well as adults. The tournament raises money to help fund Trojan Senior basketball players Pete Dacalio and Alysha Gustafson to travel to the mainland with coach Jen Makuakane to look at colleges who may provide them with sports scholarships. To donate, call Summer Dacalio at 498-7336, Pete Dacalio at 498-3518 or Alysha Gustafson at 339-0858.

DEADLINE FOR THE DIRECTORY, to sign up for listings and advertising for businesses, community groups, churches and agencies is Dec. 15. The annual business and community resource guide is sponsored by Kaʻū Chamber of Commerce and produced by The Kaʻū Calendar. It includes photography and art by Kaʻū residents, a calendar of events, listings and feature stories including winners of the recent Beauty of Kaʻū art show, sponsored by the Chamber. The Directory raises scholarship money for students from Kaʻū throughout their higher education in trades, college and university studies. Printed each January, 7,500 copies of The Directory are distributed throughout Kaʻū and Volcano. To sign up, contact geneveve.fyvie@gmail.com .

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