Band students meet Grammy-winning artist

Band students from Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i and Waimea high schools and Island School will get to meet with two-time Grammy winner Ernie Watts this Tuesday at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center starting at 10 a.m.

The Kauai Concert Association was able to bring this education service to local band students for free through Watts’ saxophone company Buffet Crampon USA, Inc and the Knudsen Foundation Grant Joanne Nakashima received, .

Kapa‘a music teacher Katherine Pelaka will bring 40 of her students.

“They’re really excited to jump up and play with him,” she said. “There’s not many opportunities, especially for students to do something like this. It’s not often they get to meet a Grammy-winning artist.” Pelaka said the last time she remembers an education service like this was five years ago.

“We’re so remote. Mostly Honolulu or Maui get the musicians, because they’ve got bigger venues,” she said.

Waimea High School band teacher Elizabeth Gullota is taking her jazz band and a few other music students.

“It’s a professional talking about playing an instrument,” she said. “This is something that doesn’t happen often.” Watts said he only does a handful of workshops a year, but loves to do them.

“Every instrument has certain keys that are easy; some are really hard. But when you practice, everything comes together,” he said.


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