Students groove with Brothers

KAPA‘A — Students jumped. Students laughed. Students clapped.

“They’re going to have a hard time going back to class after this,” said one of the Campbell Brothers’ supporters yesterday at Kapa‘a Elementary School.

The Campbell Brothers, who are wrapping up a world tour, made a guest appearance for students at Kapa‘a Elementary School, one day before a public performance at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center.

“We’re just a family group,” said Phil Campbell, the group’s leaders. “My dad always wanted us to play together so the group is myself, my bothers and my son. When we play, we think of his dream.”

Dan Spriggs, one of the Kaua‘i Concert Association representatives, said this is the last stop on the group’s world tour tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Spriggs said the group from Rochester, N.Y., spent some time jamming with local musicians prior to arriving to Kapa‘a Elementary where the group’s appearance was coordinated by the concert association.

Phil Campbell is the middle brother while his older brother Chuck plays the pedal steel guitar. Younger brother Derrick plays the lap steel guitar and son Carlton is on the drums.

“Steel guitar had its origin in Hawai‘i, so we wanted to get together with some steel players here,” Phil said.

The musicians embraced both the lap and pedal steel as they incorporated the unique sound into their gospel-style offering.

Spriggs said on Sunday night, the group made it out to Princeville where they were able to jam with steel players there.

Interspersed with the group’s performance were demonstrations of the players’ prowess on the steel, one song having the pedal steel emulate the sound of a steam locomotive and igniting the students’ involvement with the musical presentation.

That led to the finale where students and musicians were hopping about the cafeteria in a gospel-style presentation.

“I Feel Good,” led by Denise Brown, set the stage for the morning of exciting music, and Phil answered one student’s question, noting that was the group’s very first song.

It is included in their first CD which launched the group in 1997. Since then, the group has pressed four CD’s that feature the Campbell Brothers, and three others where musicians and artists are incorporated.

“You play music to enhance others,” Phil said to a student’s question. “And, if it’s done right, the money comes.”

He noted that in addition to the good music, it ties in with the February celebration of Black History Month.

“It’s better the students get high on music than on sugar,” said Kay Koike, a retired educator and another of the KCA representatives.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or


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