Untitled composition wins big

LIHU‘E — Kira Furugen topped a field of nine performing- arts students as she was announced the winner of the 2006 Performing Arts Competition of The Mokihana Club.

Furugen, who presented a piano piece of a number she composed in honor of a friend’s birthday, was awarded a $3,000 scholarship by members of The Mokihana Club, the sponsor of the annual competition held recently at the Lihue United Church parish hall.

“The piece doesn’t have a title, but if I should win the scholarship, I would be more than happy to name it after it,” Furugen said as a prelude to her piano performance.

Luke Shimabukuro, a senior at Kaua‘i High School, performed another piano piece, “Sonata Op. 27 No 1” by Beethoven, to earn the second-place scholarship of $2,000.

Shimabukuro, who plans on continuing with private piano lessons while attending Kaua‘i Community College, has been studying piano for the past eight years. Additionally, he plays the French horn and trumpet.

A flute and piano solo earned Heather Haack, a senior at Waimea High School, third-place honors and a $1,000 scholarship in the competition.

Haack hails from a musical family, and her musical ability can be heard in the current Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” as she joins both her mother Laura Haack and father Dr. Dennis Haack as part of the production’s orchestra.

The last three shows of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” are today, Saturday and Sunday, at 7 p.m. each day, at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e.

Following the competition, Laura Haack said Heather Haack was nervous about her performances, one piece containing two movements, and Heather Haack was worried people would start applauding before the piece was completed.

But that never happened.

Heather Haack, whose brothers also play musical instruments with both the Waimea High School band as well as with dad for The Starlighters, has studied piano since age 8, and the flute since she was 12 years old.

She was also part of the Kaua‘i All-Island Marching Band at this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Natasha Arruda, a senior at Island School, was the recipient of a $500 scholarship for being the winner of the honorable-mention award for her ‘auana (modern) hula presentation.

Arruda, who has studied dance since she was 4 years old, plans to further her education at Chaminade University.

“I thought it was great that each high school was represented among the field of winners,” said Lenore Klass, a Mokihana Club member.

Other contestants in the competition included Mercedes Johnson, Lynnell Wright, Nathaniel Beralas, Alicia Cowern, and Melanie Goto.

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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