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Festival Biographies


Reina Adams (lullaby project)

Therapist at the Mary Jane Home of Catholic Charities, Hawaiʻi

Reina Adams provides education and support to pregnant women of The Mary Jane Home of Catholic Charities, which offers a unique housing and educational opportunity to pregnant women who are in need of a safe, affordable place to live during their pregnancy. This education and support allows women to prepare for their child and work toward accomplishing their life goals. Find out more about The Mary Jane Home here


Robert Cornwall (lullaby project)

Ukuleleist, Singer, Songwriter

Robert Cornwall is a singer/songwriter who fell in love with the ukulele at the age of five and hasn’t put it down since. Formerly a vocalist with Na Kamaliʻi O Iliahi, the Honolulu Boys Choir and Leilehua Chorus, he is a current member of the The Liliʻu Project ensemble, having performed with them at Festival à Corps in Poitiers, France, Soul Force Sacred Music Festival in Pasadena, CA, and most recently as an instructor at the Liliʻuokalani Trust Mana Mele Camp in Kona, Hawaiʻi. Rob is a Poʻokela Award recipient for Secret in the Wings, and has been an integral part of the Hawaiʻi Lullaby Project since its inception in 2016.


Dr. Joseph Keola Donaghy (haku mele)

Associate Professor, and Faculty Coordinator of Music Studies, UH Maui College

Keola Donaghy has been blessed with many of his compositions recorded by prominent Hawaiian music artists, including Keali‘i Reichel, The Pandanus Club, O’Brien Eselu, Kainani Kahaunaele, and The De Lima ‘Ohana. Many of these compositions are a result of collaborations with musician and friend Kenneth Makuakāne, where Keola provided the mele and Kenneth the music. Dr. Donaghy directs the Institute of Hawaiian Music University of Hawai‘i Maui College, is very active in the Hawaiian music community, and a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (“Grammy Awards”).


Analiese Esopenko (lullaby project)

Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter

Analiese Esopenko started studying music in 2011, under John Signor. Since then, she has had numerous opportunities to share her music, including writing a lullaby for the Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project, and performing it at Carnegie Hall in 2016.  Currently, she writes her own music and leads her band The Mauve, most recently performing at SXSW 2022 in Austin, Texas.


Leslie Goldman (vocal masterclass)

Soprano, Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre’s Opera Express

Soprano Leslie Goldman was born in Honolulu, and attended Interlochen Arts in Michigan for high school where she majored in classical voice. She then moved to New York City where she attended the Manhattan School of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. Leslie has appeared with Regina Opera Company, Chelsea Opera, One World Symphony, Summer Music West, and the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program. Role highlights include Susanna from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”, Adina from Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore”, Donna Elvira from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, Musetta from Puccini’s “La Bohème”, and Tytania from Britten’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream”. Since she has moved back home to Hawaiʻi in 2014, she has been a part of the Mae Orvis Studio for Hawaii Opera Theatre where she has had the opportunity to participate in many comprimario roles on the main stage as well in concerts around the island. In 2020 digital season, she sang The Witch for the debut perform of “Chicken Skin”, she also sang the role of The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti. She is a lead teaching artist for Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre’s outreach program and the Orvis Young Voices studio.


Erik Haines (vocal masterclass)

Baritone; Director of Education and Teaching Artist, Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre; Lecturer, UH West Oʻahu

Erik Haines holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. He has taught at UH Mānoa, Chaminade University, Windward Community College, and Punahou Music School. Since 1992 he has worked for the Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) where he is currently Director of Education. He has appeared in more than 28 productions with HOT including Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, The Mandarin in Turandot, and roles in The Magic Flute, Carmen, Romeo and Juliette, and many other operas. Erik has been the president and governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing – Hawaii Chapter, a board member of the Hawaii Alliance for Arts Education, and is Vice-President of the Mililani Aikido Club. He currently serves as the voice instructor for the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus.


Starr Kalāhiki (lullaby project)

Singer, Songwriter

Starr is a Hawaiian singer, born and raised in Moanalua Valley on the island of Oʻahu.  A recipient of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship, her professional experiences include being a featured vocalist on multiple award-winning theatrical productions including ʻUlalena, Naupaka, Waikīkī Nei, and Don Tiki. Her debut album Salt was honored with two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and she received a third as a contributor to Henry Kapono’s compilation album. Since the publication of The Queen’s Songbook in 1999, Starr and her Liliʻu Project ensemble have performed the compositions of Queen Liliʻuokalani from Europe to Washington DC to the summit of Mauna Kea.


Mikaele Kane (‘ukulele)

Windward Community College, UH West Oʻahu

Mika Kane is a professional ‘ukulele player and Kamaka artist from Maui, Hawai’i. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with an ‘Ukulele focus and a Masters Degree in Educational Foundations from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Mentored by many of Hawaiʻi’s finest musicians, including Dr. Byron Yasui, Benny Chong, Bryan Tolentino, and Ian O’Sullivan, Mika has a prolific background in Classical techniques and interpretation, musical awareness, and music theory with Jazz harmonies. He mostly specializes in fingerstyle playing, adding relevant music theory concepts from his university studies to create a clean, one-of-a-kind sound. Currently, Mika teaches ‘ukulele at The Hawai’i Youth Correctional Facility, lectures at Windward Community College, does side work for The UkuleleSite and Ukulele Friend, and provides private one-on-one ‘ukulele lessons on Zoom. Beginning in Fall 2022, Mika will offer asynchronous online beginning ‘ukulele classes at UH West Oʻahu.  He also occasionally gigs professionally with Kala’e Camarillo at various hotels around O’ahu and at private weddings and functions.


Dr. Kamuela Kimokeo (kī hoʻalu, hoʻokani kulanui)

Assistant Professor of Music, Windward Community College
Director, Music Program and Hawaii Music Institute

Kamuela Kimokeo started playing music professionally with his Dad in Waikiki at the age of 14. He was mentored by some of Hawaii’s great musicians. He has toured with the likes of five time Grammy Nominee, Amy Hanaiali’i, Raiatea Helm, and Hawaiian music Hall of Famer, Jerry Santos. Kamuela has toured both nationally and internationally to share Hawaiian music. His music allowed him to play for the President of Tahiti and at Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball in Washington DC.  As a recording artist he played an original composition on the Grammy Nominated and Hoku award winning guitar album, Slack Key Kings Vol. II.  He is a member of the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winning group Hi‘ikua and has recorded with Napua Greig, Raiatea Helm, Natalie Ai Kamau‘u, and Pilioha.  In his most recent project he co-produced and recorded on the Hoku Award Nominated solo recording project of Bobby Moderow.


Dr. Jonathan Korth (piano masterclass)

Professor of Music, UH Mānoa

Pianist Jonathan Korth enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician, collaborator, and teacher. Hailed by the Des Moines Register as having “prodigious technique and keen sense of musicianship,” Dr Korth’s sizable presence piques the audience’s attention and delivers with the satisfyingly deep and colorful sound he has become known for. Dr. Korth is a prolific concertizer, with performances not only in Bangkok, Beijing, Brussels, London, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo, but also in prized stateside venues like Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall. With the advent of the pandemic, he’s reimagined his live performances and played/co-produced regular online concerts from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Music Department where he’s been a piano faculty member since 2008.


Eric Lagrimas (music business, music production)

Assistant Professor, MELE Program, Honolulu Community College

Eric Lagrimas is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He has a degree in Music Business/Management and spent his early professional music career in New York City with companies such as Billboard Magazine, Cherry Lane Music Publishing, and working alongside a Top 40 record producer.  In 2004, Lagrimas returned to Hawaii and worked primarily as a music licensing administrator and music producer.  His projects reached the Billboard music charts and were recognized with Na Hoku Hanohano and Hawaii Music awards.  Lagrimas teaches MELE’s Music & Entertainment Business, music theory and songwriting courses.  He remains active in the music industry as a producer and consultant.  His professional music affiliations include membership with the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA), the Recording Academy, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA).


Elmer “Sonny” Lim Jr. (kī hoʻalu)

Slack key master

Elmer Lim Jr., better known as “Sonny” was born and raised in  Kohala. Music was a part of his life from a young age. It came to him  naturally as a gift the playing of the Ukulele, Guitar, Upright Bass and  later the Vibraphone and Steel Guitar.  Highly influenced by Fred Punahoa and Gabby Pahinui he really  enjoys playing Slack Key Guitar. He was given a Steel Guitar as a  youngster by Uncle Sonny Alapai of Pu’uanahulu and started to play  it all the time. It led him to play the Steel Guitar with the Makaha  Sons Of Ni’ihau from 1975 to 1978.  In 1977 the Lim Family began their recording career and that led to  three Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for “Most Traditional Hawaiian  Album of the Year” for 1981 and 1982 and 20 years later the 2002  “Group of The Year”.  In 2003 he was part of a compilation CD called “Slack Key Volume  2” which took the top honors for the first ever Grammy Award for  “Best Hawaiian Music Album” on February 13, 2005. He released a  solo CD entitled “Slack Key Guitar the Artistry of Sonny Lim” which  was nominated for the 2006 Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles on  February 8, 2006.  On May 29, 2010 he received the Nā Hoku Hanohano’s Lifetime  Achievement Award with the Makaha Sons of Niʻihau and May 30th  Received the Nā Hoku Hanohano Slack Key Legacy Award.  He received a nomination for the 2011 Grammy Awards with Amy  Gilliom and The Hawaiian Slack Key Masters. He currently performs  at Napua at Mauna Lani and travels and tours Japan multiple times a  year.


Ronald J.K. Loo (kī hoʻalu)

Slack key master

Ron Loo is a music teacher, a professional entertainer, an author, a recording artist, and a slack key master who has provided ki ho’alu instruction for nearly 35 years. He is recognized as a Master Folk Artist of Slack Key by the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts (SFCA). He has lectured for Lama Ku (at the University of Hawaii), and for Kamehameha Schools’ Hawaiian Lecture Series, performed at the Hawaiian Slack Key Festival and Masters of Slack Key Concert, and recorded three albums: ”Pomaika’i” (1990), “Kahalu’u Slack” (1999), “Back to Back” (2008). He is the author of three slack key books: He Kalana Kakau Ki Ho’alu: Helu ‘Ekahi, He Kalana Kakau Ki Ho’alu: Helu ‘Elua, He Kalana Kakau Ki Ho’alu: Helu ‘Ekolu. In addition, he performs throughout the island with his own musical group, Pila Nahenahe. While his slack key teachers (John Almeida, Alice Namakelua, Sonny Chillingsworth, Nelson Liu, Momi Nahinu, Gabby Pahinui) provided Kumu Loo with a basic grasp of ki ho’alu, he discovered that listening to albums/CDs of slack key masters enabled him to develop his “ear” (ear training) and immerse himself in the sound and feel of ki ho’alu.


Anne Craig Lum (music writing, piano, lullaby project)

Professor of Music, Kapiʻolani Community College

Anne Craig Lum received her BA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, triple-majoring in piano/ flute/ music theory; she received her MM in music theory with a piano concentration from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and has done post-graduate work at the Eastman School of Music (computer music, Chopin Etudes seminar, and the Piano Pedagogy summer institute).  Anne teaches class piano, piano by ear, synthesizer ensemble, music theory & composing, and applied piano for potential piano majors/ music majors transferring to 4-year universities.  Anne also composes, and is currently recording her own album of original songs and instrumental pieces, and has written the film score for a locally-produced movie called “Juniper Lane”.  She was one of 50 to be accepted to the Jim Brickman 2018 Songwriters Bootcamp in Cleveland, and performed one of her original songs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Theatre.


Dr. Katy Luo (piano masterclass)

Pianist, Lecturer, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu

Katy Luo, pianist, originally from the San Francisco Bay area, now lives in Honolulu where she is a lecturer in music at both the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and the University of Hawai‘i at West O‘ahu. For the last 20 years, Katy has taught and performed extensively throughout the US, mostly in New York City, where she resided for 14 years. Katy’s performing experience ranges from the works of the classical masters performed on period instruments to the works of Cage, Ligeti, Schnittke, and other contemporary composers. Known for her innovative programming, Katy has presented programs such as the horn trios of Brahms and Ligeti at the Staller Center for the Arts, and a collection of dance suites by Bach, Albeniz, Schoenberg, and Cage at the Bloomingdale School of Music. Past concerts have also included: “Tradition Begins, Tradition Ends,” which showcased the music of Bach and Stockhausen; “Recompositions,” a re-appraisal of pre-existing musical styles in the works of Henze, Berg, and Dwarka; and “Remaking the Past,” which explored modern masters in the role of arrangers and included works by Stravinsky, Bach, Mozart, Arvo Pärt, and Dominico. Past collaborations have included projects with the New York City Ballet, Boys Choir of Harlem, and Guerrilla Composers Forum, a composers collective based in SF Bay Area. Since moving to Hawaii Katy has regularly performed with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and most recently was featured in the 2017-18 Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s concert season. Katy is an alumna of the Young Musicians Program, a community outreach music program at the University of California at Berkeley. Her passion for and commitment to community organization led to her involvement formerly at the Boys Choir of Harlem and at the Bloomingdale School of Music, where she was both Resident Teaching Artist and the Director of A4TY (Album for the Young): Student New Music Project, a program she founded to provide children the opportunity to compose original compositions for fellow young musicians and to premiere works written by living composers. This program was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant. Katy holds a bachelor of music from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Katy’s principal teachers have included Jacqueline Chew, Monique Duphil, Haewon Song, and Gilbert Kalish.


Kenneth Makuakāne (haku mele)

Minister, Producer, Songwriter, Storyteller

Kenneth Makuakāne is recognized as the producer of producers of Hawaiian music. He has recorded many groups, including Nā Leo Pilimehana, HAPA, Amy Hānaiali’i Gilliom, Obrian Eselu, Raiatea Helm and the Pandanus Club. To date, Kenneth has produced over one hundred fifty albums, many of which have been successful albums for their record companies.  Kenneth Makuakāne has received more than one hundred and fifty nominations and garnered a total of 21 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, the Hawaii equivalent of the Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year, Song of the Year, Group of the Year, Religious Album of the Year, and Hawaiian Album of the Year.  Makuakane is the recent recipient of the prestigious Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Awards. He also won six Big Island Music Awards.  He has been recognized in the National Registry of Who’s Who.


Dr. Jon Magnussen (festival director, music writing, lullaby project co-director)

Associate Professor of Music, University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu

Jon Magnussen composes music for the concert hall, drama, dance and film, described as “hauntingly beautiful” (Salt Lake Tribune), “beautifully textured” (NY Times), and “thoughtful… deeply imaginative” (L.A. Times). His music has been commissioned and performed nationally and internationally by organizations including American Ballet Theatre, American Composers Orchestra, Chamber Music Hawaii, ETHEL, Haven Trio, The Juilliard School, and the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra with funding by organizations including the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Chamber Music America, Library of Congress, Meet the Composer, and the NEA. His music appears on the Albany, CMH, and Blue Griffin labels.  Recent projects include Pākaʻa Lanakila! for CMH’s Spring Wind Quintet and Hawaiian-language storyteller; and TWINGE, for soprano, clarinet and piano based on Barry Bearak’s New York Times article “The Day the Sea Came”.  Magnussen holds degrees from The Juilliard School, Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique de Paris and Cornell University, and was Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 2000 to 2007. (https://www.jonmagnussen.com/)


D. Mark Minasian (jazz improvisation)

Professor of Music, Kapiʻolani Community College

Mark Minasian holds degrees in Music and Computer Science from the California State University in Chico, a MM from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and certification in Audio Engineering and Music Production from the Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, OH.  

Mark toured internationally for four years as the music director of the Shrine Circus, Since moving to Hawaii, he has performed with the Hawaii Symphony, Hawaii Opera Orchestra, Honolulu Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Diamond Head Theater, Manoa Valley Theater, and with many local Jazz and contemporary artists.  He has presented and performed at multiple conferences of the Interenational Trumpet Guild and was the keynote speaker and a featured soloist at a conference of the Australian Trumpet Guild.  He has been a professor of music at Leeward College since 1992.  


Bobby Moderow, Jr. (kī hoʻalu, hoʻokani kulanui) 

Lecturer, University of Hawaiʻi – West Oʻahu

Founding member of the six-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawai’i’s GRAMMY® ) Award-winning  group Maunalua, Bobby Moderow, Jr. is a renowned slack key guitar and falsetto artist. Born and raised on the island of O’ahu, there was always music in Moderow’s house, where his mother constantly sang to him. He was a member of the prestigious Honolulu Boy Choir from ages 9 to 12, and wanting to give back to the culture that was so good to him, he got his first guitar at age 17 with the aim of learning slack key guitar. At 18 he became a protégé of the renowned late slack key guitar master Raymond Kane, who was proclaimed a National Living Treasure by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts in 1987, and awarded funding for the apprenticeship program under which Moderow studied.  Moderow studied with “Uncle Raymond” for three years, and several years later embarked on a solo career, hoping to fulfill his desire to express himself through songwriting and music. He began performing at the original Roy’s restaurant, where he stayed for 12 years. Three years after starting at Roy’s, Moderow invited some fellow musicians to join him there, and he created the group Maunalua.  With his Maunalua brothers, Moderow has released four albums, winning a total of six Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards. They have performed all over the world, including at the inaugural luʻau for President Obama; the 150th anniversary of the Smithsonian; and solo several times at the Grammy® Museum. As part of his desire to give back and to be one of the “keepers of the [Hawaiian music] flame” Moderow believes that education is a huge part of entertaining – “education through entertainment” – so he also teaches. The award-winning artist Makana was one of his students, and he has taught elementary school children at the Grammy® Museum for the past few years. He is currently teaching at the University of Hawai’i West Campus on O’ahu.


Eric Schank (vocal masterclass)

Pianist and Teaching Artist, Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre

Prior to joining Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre in 2006, Eric Schank was an accompanist for the University of Hawaiʻi, at Mānoa, music department, as well as for the University’s dance department. Undergraduate studies with Edward Shipwright at the University of Hawaiʻi were followed by further studies with Eugene Mancini and Stephanie Brown at the University of Akron. In addition to his work with Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, he also currently serves as the pianist for the Hawaiʻi Vocal Arts Ensemble..


Dr. John Signor (music writing, lullaby project co-director)

Associate Professor of Music, Leeward Community College

Sound designer, composer, educator and director, John Signor creates music for theatre, dance and film. Formal training includes degrees in piano from Willamette University (BM), The Juilliard School (MM), and The University of Miami (DMA), and an MFA in composition from CalArts. He has worked collaboratively with Hālau O Kekuhi, Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre, Leeward Theatre, Nā Kinimakalehua, Tangentz, Tau Dance Theater and various independent artists. Director of The Liliʻu Project, Dr. Signor has served as musical director and co-composer of productions including Naupaka, ʻUlalena, and Waikīkī Nei, and received a Poʻokela Award as musical director of Secret in the Wings. As a sound designer, he has earned Poʻokela’s for Clockwork and Secret in the Wings, and has contributed sound to the stage productions Duke, Hānau ka Moku, Kahekili, Kūlanihākoʻi and Poliʻahu. His work in children’s theatre includes collaborations with The Arts Alliance in Education, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Plaza de la Raza, Samadhi Hawaii and Theatre Theatre Maui, and he has served as facilitator and director for Hawaii’s Lullaby Project. A past recipient of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, he currently writes and teaches on Oʻahu.


Honybal Sosa (lullaby project)

Guitarist, Composer

Honybal Sosa is a guitar performance major at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. As a composer, he has collaborated on original scores and as sound designer for multiple dramatic productions including Leeward Theatre’s Clockwork, Kīkaha ka Manu, A Dark and Stormy Knight, Tartuffe, the Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s production of Duke and Secret in the Wings. In 2015, and 2019 he received a Poʻokela Award in the area of Sound Design for Clockwork, and the Adjudicator’s award for Secret in the Wings. Honybal has performed alongside vocalist Starr Kalāhiki at The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. (2016), at the l’Université de Poitiers, France as a performer in the Festival à Corps (2017), Leeward Community College’s Lili’u Project (2018), Soul Force Music festival in Pasadena (2019), and Hawaii Island’s Lili’uokalani Trust Mana Mele camp (2022). He has volunteered as a songwriter for The Lullaby Project Hawaiʻi, a national endeavor facilitated by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in 2016 and 2017. He has also been a member of Leeward CC Guitar Ensemble. Honybal is a guitar and ukulele instructor at Chuck James Music School.


Dean Taba (jazz improvisation)

Lecturer in Music, UH Mānoa

Dean Taba is a freelance bassist, composer, producer, and educator living in Honolulu, HI. He began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 6 and played french horn in the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school jazz band that introduced him to the bass and improvised music.

After studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Dean moved in 1984 to Los Angeles to further refine his skills on both the Acoustic and Electric bass. For 20 years, Dean worked in the studios of LA with his musical heroes, mentors, and contemporaries recording countless albums, TV shows, jingles, movies, and video game soundtracks. He was even instrumental in creating Trilian, an award winning Virtual Instrument. In spite of a very busy recording and touring schedule, Dean made time to teach at The Dick Grove School of Music, Musician’s Institute, and the Los Angeles Music Academy, as well as recording three of his own albums.

He is now back home in Palolo Valley performing, teaching, recording, and producing some of Hawaii’s most influential and innovative artists. And he is very excited to be director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony Combo and the Jazz Band of The University of Hawaii at Manoa.


Lisa Tamashiro (lullaby project)

Director of Operations & Special Programs, Adult Friends for Youth

Lisa Tamashiro is the Director of Operations and Special Programs at Adult Friends for Youth (AFY). She manages day-to-day operations of programs to ensure agency goal of reducing violence and crime is being addressed. Lisa supervises and coordinates special programs for AFY youth in conjunction with the administrative staff. Lisa has been working at AFY for 12 years and believes that with support, opportunity and belief, youth have the capacity to change themselves and those around them.  During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her sons, Sione and Molia.

Adult Friends for Youth was founded in 1986 to provide healthy alternatives to gang membership and violence for at-risk youth from low-income neighborhoods. AFY relies on non-directive, nonjudgmental practices and an emphasis on academic achievement to encourage youth to take charge of their lives.  AFY’s mission is to redirect lives to stop violence in order to strengthen family and community safety, while promoting healthy well-being for all youth so that they can reach their full potential.


Chaz Kaiolohia Umamoto (music production, creative industry)

craft brewz music (craftbrewzmusic.com)

Chaz Kaiolohia Umamoto is a multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winning songwriter, producer, & Hawai’i Songwriting Festival, advisory council member.  Chaz is a Kalihi boy who got his first break playing with the artist Amanda Frazier, while doing sound gigs in clubs and at corporate events around town.  Chaz is most well known for his work with Streetlight Cadence from 2014-2017.  After a 5 year stint in LA, Chaz started his own music production company, Craft Brewz Music with Josh Stephens and moved home to Hawai’i to focus on supporting the local entertainment industry.  Craft Brewz Music works in music publishing, & clearance for film & tv, and also helps foster other songwriter producers to create sustainable business practices in the field.  


John Vierra (music business, music production)

Assistant Professor, MELE Program, Honolulu Community College

Audio professional John Vierra holds degrees in Applied Science in Electronics Technology from Heald College and The Conservatory of Recording Arts in Arizona, where in Las Vegas he worked alongside composers, recording artists, television networks, and top show productions.

Returning to Hawaii in 2000, Vierra has worked as an independent audio professional with diverse up-and-coming artists and producers.  In 2010 he began work at HCC’s Music & Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) Program and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Audio Engineering and Program Coordinator.  Vierra is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and the Recording Academy.  


Dr. Man Beryl Yang (world music, gamelan)

Instructor, Kapiʻolani Community College

Dr. Man Beryl Yang has a BA in Music Education from the Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China), and an MA and PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She has been teaching music literature, world music and piano at Kapi’olani Community College since 2011. Starr is a Hawaiian singer, born and raised in Moanalua Valley on the island of Oʻahu.  A recipient of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship, her professional experiences include being a featured vocalist on multiple award-winning theatrical productions including ʻUlalena, Naupaka, Waikīkī Nei, and Don Tiki. Her debut album Salt was honored with two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and she received a third as a contributor to Henry Kapono’s compilation album. Since the publication of The Queen’s Songbook in 1999, Starr and her Liliʻu Project ensemble have performed the compositions of Queen Liliʻuokalani from Europe to Washington DC to the summit of Mauna Kea.