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!