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UH West Oʻahu to host first Kani Kūola UH System Music Festival


Among the highlights of the upcoming Kani Kūola: First Annual UH System Music Festival is a lunchtime Hoʻokani Kulanui event featuring (from left) Raiatea Helm, Kamuela Kimokeo, and Bobby Moderow, Jr. Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

The University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu hosts an inaugural UH System music festival that will bring a full day of free, “life-giving” music experiences — creation, performance, and education — to regional communities statewide.

The event, Kani Kūola: First Annual UH System Music Festival, will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, at UH West Oʻahu, with activities held in person and/or online.

“This is the first time ever that our music programs from around the UH System are uniting to share the waiwai of music opportunities offered by our campuses and in our communities,” said Dr. Jon Magnussen, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Humanities Division at UH West Oʻahu. “The festival will offer a wide variety of in-person and online activities and events to highlight some key learning opportunities that kamaʻāina and malihini will find life-giving and meaningful.”

Magnussen added, “The name ‘Kani (sound) Kūola (life-giving) UH System Music Festival’ was chosen to highlight the many benefits music brings to our lives, most particularly mental health benefits.”

Faculty from UH System music programs invite the community to enjoy morning educational workshops; afternoon kanikapila, masterclasses, and panels with community and music industry professionals; and evening performances by students, community members, and guest artists.

Highlights include the lunchtime Hoʻokani Kulanui event, featuring the nahenahe style of singing and playing of Raiatea Helm, Kamuela Kimokeo, and Bobby Moderow, Jr. Guests are welcome to bring their instruments and voices, and join in the kanikapila jam; chords will be projected on a screen for all to play along.

Kani Kūola culminates with an evening concert showcasing the power of music creation in the community. The Hawaiʻi Lullaby Project 2022, with support from the national project of Carnegie’s Weill Music Institute, will bring a final sharing concert with new lullabies created by artist-facilitators and parents from partner organizations Adult Friends for Youth and the Mary Jane Home of Catholic Charities.

The music festival is scheduled to rotate to a new campus host every year. Next hosts include Windward Community College in 2023 and UH Maui College in 2024. Magnussen said it is an honor that UH System campuses chose UH West Oʻahu as the first campus host of this annual festival.

“This is a great opportunity for UH West Oʻahu to welcome the community back to our campus and safely enjoy some of the amazing benefits music brings to our lives,” he said. “It’s been a long pandemic and a challenging year for our system wide campuses, and this day of music making, music listening, and music learning will help us to come together as a community.”

Magnussen emphasized that Kani Kūola is for everyone and he encourages all to attend the festival, which offers people an opportunity to both nurture their mental health and celebrate music.

“You owe it to yourself to take time and enjoy some wonderful music and music-learning opportunities that the day will provide,” Magnussen said. “There’s something for everyone in this festival — from the complete beginner to the serious amateur, from the dedicated listener to the professional.”

Festival supporters include the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, the Institute for Research and Engaged Scholarship at UH West Oʻahu, and the UH West Oʻahu Music Fund.

Visit the Kani Kūola: First Annual UH System Music Festival website for the most up-to-date information about the event. Click here to register.

Event flyer.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff