Saturday, December 24, 2011

Live Music at The Wailea Shops - Maui

Christmas magic was in the air on Thursday evening at the Shops in Wailea on Maui.

A beautiful tree, palm trees circled with lights, and to top it off, a live band playing Christmas tunes.
The pace was mellow and relaxing as shoppers wandered by, some eating icecream out of paper cups, children with eyes aglow in anticipation of Santa Claus and those, like us, who just felt like relaxing and listening to the music.

 The four piece band consisted of a tuba, a trombone and two trumpets.
Afterwards we talked to the people behind the instruments. Tuba player Lisa Owen is the director of the Maui Brass Ensemble and we found out that she leads serveral other groups on Maui. Originally from Sweden she has been playing music on the island for 20 years. Sonny Gamponia was on trombone and trumpet players Julius Galanto and Martin Berinbaum completed the quartet. It turns out that Martin Berinbaum is from Canada and visits Maui every year to play music. We had also seen him playing at the Sing-It-Yourself Messiah a few weeks ago so he really gets into the Maui music scene.

In 2003 Lisa started the Maui Community Band. This band has grown from a small gathering to 50 members ranging in age from 12 to 74 years. Lisa is also a member of the Maui Pops Orchestra so she keeps pretty busy.
If you enjoy a brass ensemble playing Christmas music you aren't too late.
 Today, Christmas Eve, the Maui Brass Ensemble will be playing at the Westin in Kaanapali from 4:30 to 5:30 and they will also be playing at the midnight service at the Good Shepherd Church in Wailuku from 10:30 to 12:30. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center - Maui

Queen Ka'ahumanu
Walking through the mall at this time of year is a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit, especially when the weather outside isn't frightful, but warm and sunny.
Yes here in the mall I can even pretend that outside, snow is softly falling on the Palm trees. Wouldn't that be pretty? Not that I'm longing for snow or anything, but it is just that all my life I have associated Christmas with snow.  For now though I am really just happy to be warm, and 'Dreamin of a White Christmas'.

A Santa Decoration

Why isn't Santa wearing shorts? He must be pretty hot in that suit

The Christmas Express
Christmas trees in Macy's
Letter to Santa
Do you believe in Santa Claus?  If you had met Santa when he was On Vacation in Maui last year I think you would believe.  Would love to hear your comments on this.
Mele Kalikimaka Me Ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou to all my readers!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Maui Concert Chorus - A Symphony of Carols

Celia Canty conducts Maui Concert Chorus

'A Symphony of Carols' was all we had hoped for and more. Celia Canty's Maui Concert Chorus and their guest artists took us on a magical musical journey to Nigeria, Three Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Israel, the United Kingdom and Russia. Angie Carr on keyboard and a Petite Orchestra made up of talented Maui musicians provided wonderful accompaniments to many of the songs.  Throughout the concert we were treated to the rich full voice of our island's very own baritone, Robert Wills.

He was joined by Harpist Tatyana Shapiro and cellist Silvina Samuel as he sang the Wexford Carol, a traditional Irish Christmas Carol dating to the 12th century.  His performance of Schubert's Ave Maria was mesmerizing with Celia Canty's beautiful harp renderings as the background. See videos below.

It was a special treat to hear the Ukranian Bell Carol performed as a duet by Celia and Russian born Tatyana on their harps. A stirring performance of Awake the Harp! from Haydn's 'The Creation' again featured Tatyana on harp as well as Sharon Nakama on Oboe.
Tatyana Shapiro and Celia Canty performing Ukranian Bell Carol

Humor was added to the concert by the Maui College Chorus as they donned antlers for a fun version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Other familiar carol such as White Christmas, Let it Snow and  A Symphony of Carols again featuring Bob Wills, lifted our spirits and filled our hearts with Christmas joy.
The concert came to a magnificent ending with the choruses and audience singing The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

Celia Canty conducting The Maui College Chorus and Maui Concert Chorus

Kudos to a Glorious Concert
Afterwards everyone was treated to some delicious refreshments prepared by Mala Wailea and the MCC singers. What an evening to remember!  Visit the Maui Choral Arts website to learn more about this group.
Would love to hear your comments about this concert.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pride of Maui Sunset Dinner and Cocktail Cruise - Review

Almost ready to board
We just had an unforgettable experience on The Pride of Maui's Sunset Dinner and Cocktail Cruise and we'd like to share it with our readers. It was a perfect Maui day and everyone waiting in line to board was in good spirits as they anticipated a cruise down the Pali coast into the sunset. Our first impression as we boarded was how spacious the vessel was, offering plenty of seating on the lower deck with easy access up two wide staircases to the upper viewing deck. We decided to stay downstairs for the moment and listen to the soothing sounds of entertainer Mitch Kepa who accompanied himself on guitar as he sang familiar Hawaiian songs.  Later in the evening Hawaiian born Mitch told us that he had been performing on Maui for over 30 years and still performs at the Weston Maui on Sundays and Mondays. He also has a day job as a youth counsellor at Aloha House. What a busy guy!

Mitch Kepa

The bar opened as soon as we were out of the harbor, and crew members Stephanie and Randy changed hats and became our friendly bar tenders, blending and pouring anything your heart desired until the cruise was over.  I was impressed that the drinks were premium quality, and included in the price.

Stephanie and Randy

I decided to check out the upper deck so drink in hand I made my way up the stairs into the refreshing sea breezes.  Maalaea Harbor was already shrinking from sight and I was fascinated by the views of the Pali coast from the ocean, not to mention the surrounding islands and the beginnings of a marvelous sunset.
I had an interesting chat with captain Tiffany who told me that she had been working on Maui ships for 8 years and has been a captain for 4 years. I guess you have to put in 270 days on a ship combined with taking lots of written tests, in order to qualify for a captain's licence. I felt proud that women are now able to take on jobs that were once dominated by men.

Captain Tiffany

The sunset was splendid to say the least, and as I watched the aftermath of colors painting the sky, mouth watering smells wafting up from the lower deck, drew me back down.  It was supper time and Tiffany had stopped the ship in a quiet little cove so that we could eat in peace.
Chef Kelly outdid herself with her offering of baby back ribs glazed with her own signature BB sauce made with guava jelly and fresh hot horseradish. They literally melted in your mouth and were oh so good! We also enjoyed some delicious chicken, tasty garlic fettucini, seasoned roasted veggies and a yummy artichoke dip served with croustini. All the food is freshly prepared by Kelly from scratch, and the ribs are grilled right on board. Dessert was an amazing strawberry shortcake with fresh local Kula strawberries. Kelly has been catering on Maui for 18 years, and before that she worked for Disney as an event planner and wedding co-ordinator.The Pride of Maui certainly knew what they were doing when they hired her to be their chef!!

Chef Kelly

Gary and Dawn Adams
I also have to mention how friendly the other passangers were. Gary and Dawn Adams from Wisconsin took the cruise as their last Maui adventure before flying out that night at 11:00 PM. They had already been on the Pride of Maui Snorkeling Trip and couldn't say enough great things about it, which is why they chose to go on the Pride of Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise. Oh yes and then there was the cute honeymoon couple who danced to their favourite song.  Mitch even handed over his guitar and let the fellow sing a few songs of his own.

Honeymoon Couple Dancing

As we approached Maalaea Harbor we were a little sad that the cruise was coming to an end. After all, what more could you ask for when all your senses are so wonderfully satisfied in the space of only two hours?
Without a doubt we highly recommend The Pride of Maui Sunset Dinner Cruise to all our readers and friends.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Entertainment on Maui

We just love being on Maui during the Christmas season because there is no shortage of great entertainment to take in.  The arts are amazingly alive and well on our Valley Isle and we have marked our calendar with the dates of events that we have chosen to attend. I hope that visitors on vacation for Christmas will also support our Maui Arts Community.
The Sing-it-Yourself Messiah on Nov 27th was a wonderful way to get into the Christmas Spirit.  Now we are looking forward to A Symphony of Carols which will take place this Saturday, Dec 10 at the Kihei Baptist Chapel. We have been followers of Celia Canty's Maui Concert Chorus since they started 11 years ago.  This year they have special guest soloist Robert Wills who will as usual treat the audience with his glorious voice.  Visit the website of Maui Choral Arts Association for more details.
On Sunday, Dec 11 we will visit the historic Iao Theatre in Wailuku for the last performance of A Christmas Carol, presented by Maui on Stage and starring Mark Collmer as Scrooge and Gabe Frampton as Tiny Tim. Don't miss this one because it will be good and has already had great reviews. There are only 3 shows left to go. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and the Sunday matinee at 3:00 so call Maui on Stage to get your tickets.  

We are happy that the ProArts Playhouse in the Azeka Makai Shopping Centre is just a short walk from our home and we can't wait to see "Ruthless The Musical" a comedy spoof which looks like so much fun! It is running from Dec 9 to Dec 18 and then again from Jan 6 - to Jan 15 2012.
We also plan to drive upcountry to the Makawao Union Church on Friday Dec. 16th to take in a Christmas Concert by The Olinda Chorale at 7:30 in the evening. This chorus is directed by the very talented Sarah Oppenheim Beggs along with Gary Shin-Leavitt. Featured soloists will be Robert Brantley and the lovely Leighanna Locke. We just love her voice and can't wait to hear her sing again.
So far this is our list of Maui Christmas Entertainment for this season. There is so much to choose from that we had to narrow it down to our best picks. 
If you have attended a Christmas event on Maui, or know of one that is coming up that you can share, please leave a comment.

Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sing-it-Yourself Messiah in Kihei Maui

Last Sunday we attended the 11th Anniversary presentation of the Sing-it-Yourself Messiah, hosted by The Maui Choral Arts Association under the direction of the very talented Celia Canty. This is an annual event for us and we were very happy that this year it was held in Kihei just a stone's throw from our Maui home.
As we entered the Kihei Baptist Chapel we saw signs designating the seating for each section. I made a beeline for the altos, while Les settled in with the basses. Members of the Maui Concert Chorus wore a sparkly lei and were spread out amongst us visitors for support.

The choruses were accompanied by a 12 piece Baroque style chamber orchestra comprised of local musicians and guest Martin Berinbaum from Canada, who thrilled us all with his trumpet and piccolo trumpet accompaniment to soloist Robert Wills' exceptional performance of "The Trumpet Shall Sound".

Celia Canty directs one of the choruses at the 11th annual Sing-It-Yourself MessiahWhat a combination they made!!! Robert Wills has an amazing range and his powerful voice was a pleasure to hear as he sang both tenor and baritone solos. Soprano Lisa Paulson, and alto Karyn Sarring held their own as they tackled the very difficult and lengthy runs that the music offers.

Angie Carr on keyboard,Don Lax 1st violin and Celia Canty conductor

It is always a treat to witness the energy that radiates from Celia Canty as she skillfully and interchangeably conducts the audience, orchestra, soloists, and choruses.

Other guests were the UH Maui College Chorus and the Suzuki - Maui students under the direction of Teresa Skinner. The Suzuki students were delightful as they performed carols in the lobby during intermission and also joined the orchestra to accompany the finale of the Hallelujah Chorus. I get goose bumps each time I am part of this amazing piece of music and this year was no exception right down to the last Hallelujah!

Suzuki-Maui students directed by Teresa Skinner
As always this uplifting experience was a glorious way of getting us into the Christmas spirit.
During the second half of the program the Maui Concert Chorus joined by the University of Hawaii - Maui College chorus, gave us a little taste of their upcoming Symphony of Carols concert, as they sang the lively calypso-carol "The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy" This concert will also be held at the Kihei Baptist Church on Saturday December 10th at 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased at the Maui Choral Arts Website or by phone 800-838-3006. They can also be obtained at the Topaz Goldsmith in Dolphin Plaza, Kihei.

Maui Concert Chorus and UH Maui College Chorus singing The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy
Symphony of Carols Concert to be held Saturday Dec 10

MCAA is a non profit organization and they welcome any donations to enable them to keep providing such high quality entertainment on Maui. Visit the webiste of Maui Choral Arts Associaton for more information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Maui Daydreams On My Mind

Travelin' Pat is yet again daydreaming about Maui. I hope she comes to visit us again this winter.

The other day while sitting in my living room, I drifted off to that altered state that wasn’t quite a sleep but more like a daydream.

It felt so delicious that afterward I was happy and my spirit felt lighter.

You see, I had been off to Maui….. Maui where the “livin is easy” and the biggest decision of the day is Mai tai or Pina Colada?

In Maui I am usually up early, chomping at the bit to go on a walk (usually a chore at home), and soak up the local color. In my altered state I was ambling down a long picturesque street overflowing with native trees and flowers.

Oh heavens, the flowers here are so amazing. The fragrance from the Plumeria was all encompassing, or was it the bougainvillea or hibiscus? Who cares really, it was my daydream and it was lovely.

And the birdlife…they are all going full tilt cheerfully singing away, and sound so very different from the birds that I am used to.

Then I reach the park where a meandering ocean side walk-way ushers me past all the paddle boarders and swimmers out early to catch the water before it gets too wavy. The sun is glinting off the sea and the light is just perfect. As I stroll along I observe an eclectic mix of folks… long hairs and corporate types, families and loners, surfers and beach bunnies. I love it.

Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone so I better think about packing the flip-flops and flippers, oh yes and the swimsuit and maybe I'll get there in time for American Thanksgiving at the end of November.  I wonder if I can day dream my way into the perfect beach body before I leave?

I just heard from a tropical bird that the Maui Garden House has had a cancellation for November. So take advantage of the cheap flights and treat yourself to a wonderful Maui vacation.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Visit to the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku, Maui

Judi and Kevin Ritcey and their friends Molly and Joe were recent guests at our Maui Garden House.  Today's blog is an excerpt from one of Judi's daily Maui journals. Many Mahalos to Judi.
Bailey House Museum,Wailuku,Maui

"We got as far as Wailuku and the Bailey House Museum. Now this is a little gem of a place to visit – if you like local history. We were there for about 1.5 hrs. and we learned so much and had a great time with the staff. They said they were sorry to see us leave. The house is located at the mouth of the Iao Valley. This is the burial place of the bones of the great Navigators and the kings and highest chiefs of Maui and other islands. Back in the 1795 the chiefs were very quick to see the value of western learning and therefore the missionaries sent by the ABCFM (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, based in Boston) were very welcomed by the Hawaiian people and the chief of Wailuku made some of the best lands available to them.
Iao Needle

Males were educated in Lahaina and the Hawaiians wanted their girls educated as well. In 1837 the missionaries opened the Wailuku Female Seminary to educate girls to be good Christian wives. The first three teachers were Rev. Jonathan Green, his wife Theodosia, and Miss Maria Ogden [ who arrived completed with her spinning wheel]. They were followed by Edward Bailey and his wife Caroline and Bailey House was built. The school survived for 12 years after which time it was closed down due to lack of financing.

The Bailey Family story was wonderful to learn about and the house is full of artifacts of the house. Be sure to visit this site if you are ever on Maui.
Gardens at the Bailey House Museum Maui

The grounds were also very beautiful and well kept. I especially loved the Whale Blubber Kettle which was made into part of the garden landscape. The kettle was usually attached to the hull of a whaling vessel and was used to boil the whale blubber. This thing was huge. You’d think it would sink the ship.

The left side is flat so that it can be attached to the boat.

Judi Kevin Molly and Joe under Poohala Tree

We learned a lot about the Poohala Tree. The bark of the tree Lao is used for making mats, sails and window coverings. The Ki which is a pod that falls off the tree is used by the native Hawaiians as a paint brush. What a great spot, under the Poohala tree for a group shot.

Just over from the tree there was a “Hoana” which is an ancient Adze grinding stone.
Hoana-Ancient Adze Grinding Stone

This was really cool. I couldn’t figure out how it would work, but it was a beautiful shaped stone. Look at the shape of it, isn’t that neat.

Also displayed on this site is one of the last KOA fishing canoes. It weighs 600 lbs. It is made of one solid KOA log. It is 33 feet long and 4 ¾ “wide. It is a Calabash shape [hour glass] which is very unique and it shows the original Adze marks on the hull.
Koa wood Canoe

Here is a picture of the canoe taken from a distance. It will show you how big it really was. 33 feet is a big canoe. Wouldn’t want to be on a trip and have to portage this sucker. It was great reading the history of the canoe and how it was actually made, and how the art of finding the right KOA tree was done by a select group of highly esteemed Hawaiians. It was no easy task.

We really did enjoy this unexpected historic site. We were able to pick up a book entitled “A Condensed History of the Hawaiian Islands” by Dr. Phil Barnes.

We were told by the museum ladies was the best book to learn about the Islands and to earn a respect for this wonderful people. I look forward to this read for sure.

We did the full museum tour, and learned lots more about this great family. The guide there was telling me that there is a great, great nephew of Edward Bailey who still lives in the area and who is a dead ringer for Edward. It’s kind of weird to see him walk into the house.

We also saw a display of feathered leis that were worn by the chieftains of the early 1800s. There was a tiny bird in one of the show cases with brilliant yellow feathers on the under belly. I felt so bad seeing this dead bird in the case, but wanted to know why it would be included in the display. The story was really interesting. The bird is called a “ö ö” bird. There were hunters who during molting season would capture these tiny birds, pluck out their yellow under feathers and then set the birds free to grow more. These feathers were used in chieftain leis and cloaks. The yellow colour was so rich looking – beautiful.

Just a few more photos of the garden residents and the lovely garden bench at the front of the house. The roosters were crowing all the time. It was so funny to hear them."
Local Residents
Making your base in a privately owned Maui Vacation Rental is a must if you want to experience a comfortable and affordable Maui vacation while you explore this beautiful "Valley Isle"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mermaid Washed Up on Waiohuli Beach in Kihei Maui

Mermaid on Waiohuli Beach
Recent guests to our Maui Garden House, emailed me with the news that while walking along Waiohuli Beach which is just steps from our condo, they came across a beautiful mermaid who had apparently been washed up onto the sand.
Personally I think that Bryan may have had a hand in this little piece of sculpture. He kind of has the satisfied look of an artist on his face, don't you think?  Click on the photo to have a close up look at the mermaid.
Sea Urchins

We love our beach.  It is a great walking beach, and obviously you never know what you might come across. So far my finds have been limited to shells and sea urchins.

Oh and I almost forgot. A few years ago some creative locals were making a hot tub on
the beach would you believe?  I called it 
Best Ingenious Invention on a Maui Beach.

Sunset on Waiohuli Beach

Thankyou Bryan for sharing with us. I hope you had a chance to drink in some of our amazing sunsets during your stay. Just another good reason to stay at the Maui Garden House
Aloha and Mahalo Nui Loa

Have you ever come across anything interesting on a Maui beach?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saving a Humpback Whale

This story brought tears to my eyes.  Even though it took place in the Sea of Cortez, it could easily have been Maui.  If you have any similar stories about saving whales please share them with us.

Sea of Cortez Beachfront Vacation Rentals

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Best Snorkeling Spots on Maui

Snorkeling is one of my favourite activities and I’d like to share my picks for the best snorkeling spots on Maui. I have found over the years that snorkeling experiences can differ from day to day depending on ocean currents and time of year. My best snorkeling has been in the summer months when the reefs are much clearer.

1. Ahihi Keanau Preserve (Ahihi Cove) – a great place for beginner or advanced snorkelers. Located along the roadside past the Wailea hotels on the way to the last lava flow on Maui and La Perouse Bay. No beach here and you have to park along the road but definitely worth the effort. Beautiful coral and lots of tropical fish and turtles if you are lucky. This is a perfect spot for families as it is a protected little bay.

Ulua Beach
2. Ulua – a nice fairly intimate beach in Wailea at the beginning of a wonderful beachwalk that takes you in front of all the big hotels. Snorkel around the coral outcropping to the right of the beach and you will end up at Mokapu beach which shares the same snorkeling point. This beach has restrooms, and a shower. There is a fair amount of parking, but sometimes it can be challenging depending on the time of day.

Snorkeling at Black Rock
3. Black Rock – located in front of the Sheraton Hotel in Kaanapali, this is a very popular snorkeling place. You can swim around the rock but even close to shore you can see many schools of colorful fish, as well as sea turtles feeding on the seaweed.

Snorkeling at Kahekili Beach Park - Airport Beach
4. Kahekili Beach Park – located in Kaanapali on the west side of the island. Also called airport beach. I love this location because the reef stretches quite a distance in front of the Westin resort, and is close to the beach. The reef is usually clear and abounds with lots of fish, and turtles that live in the cave formations of the coral. I have also seen octopus, eels and manta rays here. This is a state park so has lots of grassy areas, picnic tables, change rooms, rest rooms and showers. Another perfect beach for families.

Kapalua Bay

5. Kapalua Bay – this family oriented beautiful sandy beach is located in Kapalua West Maui. The best snorkeling is towards the north end, and inexperienced snorkelers are advised to stay within the bay because of potential strong currents if you venture outside. It has showers, change rooms and rest rooms.

Honolua Bay - West Maui

6. Honolua Bay – part of a Marine life Conservation District so all fish and resources within the bay are protected. The walk down is amazing as it takes you through a jungle of trees with long vines. The beach is rocky here, and you have to be a fairly good swimmer to get out to the reefs which are to the right and left as you look out at the bay. This is one of my very favourite snorkeling spots. Parking is sometimes challenging because you have to park along the road or in a couple of pull outs around the
entrance to the trail.

Path down to Honolua Bay
Before snorkeling you are advised to read about Maui Ocean Safety.

Summer and Fall are great times to snorkel in Maui and you can find some fantastic deals on Maui Vacation Rentals.