Young musicians form an Ethereal Harmony

“What really got me into music is when I was still in elementary school, I kept watching those classic cartoon shows in which they use instruments as sound effects,” writes 17-year-old Aldrich Obiano, one of six young Kaua‘i musicians who form “EH!” (Ethereal Harmony) — a classical music group founded and directed by Helen Sina.

The group has three upcoming performances and invites all of Kaua‘i, especially aspiring musicians to come listen to their spring concerts.

“Formed in Fall 2005, this group recognizes that young people enjoy doing things with other young people and provides opportunities for them to play and perform together,” writes Sina.

These performances will be the last time the original members of the group will perform together before three move to California with their families — Alexis, Maica and Zylo Jacalne.

EH! has performed free concerts for various organizations, elderly resident homes and Wilcox Memorial Hospital. “It encourages musical excellence, enhances classical and multicultural performance opportunities, and responds to requests for both volunteer and paying performances,” writes Sina.

The program for the concert includes works by Handel, Haydn, Bartok and Vivaldi — pieces that professional musicians would find challenging that most members of this talented young group have been playing since early childhood.

Included in its program is “Reflections on the music we are playing” — a very unique window into how the experience of learning to play the music has effected the musicians.

Alexis Jacalne, a 13-year-old violinist plays “Concerto No. 2” by Friedrich Seitz, a 19th century German composer. Jacalne writes, “This is my piece. I had fun with this piece. It’s happy and cheerful … I like the waterfall part; It is so calming … this piece was like the biggest and grandest float in a parade. I feel like skipping through a meadow when I play this piece. When I hear it, it’s like a nature trip of sounds for me … expresses delight perpetually through a waltz-like speed.”

Another musician writes about a piece performed by the whole ensemble, “Ave Verum brings one word to mind — harmony. It reminds me of giant cumulus clouds in a bright sky… I really like this piece. It’s kinda’ like Bartok in that there is a lot of dissonance, but unlike Bartok, it has a resolution and better chords. This piece sounds a whole lot better than Bartok.”

The musicians represent Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Kaua‘i High School and Kapa‘a High School, while performing in additional musical groups such as Kaua‘i Filipino Chorale and island church choirs.

Helena Sina, founder and director, “taught English at Kaua‘i High School and Kaua‘i Community College before moving into administration where she served as assistant dean of instruction, director of the University Center, and dean of instruction at Kaua‘i Community College.

Retired after 38 years in education, she regards her many years working with young people as a “great blessing,” states her bio.

Jovita Sagadraca, Daniel Sagadraca’s mother, is proud of her son and said, “Helen Sina is a great teacher.”

Sina is also the director of the Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church Choir and the Kaua‘i Filipino Centennial Choir. “In founding EH!, she put her experiences preparing students for performances with the Hawai‘i Youth Symphony and Kaua‘i Community College Symphony Orchestra together with her observations about what young people like to do. The result is a performing group that plays a variety of music for a range of audiences, has the opportunity to make decisions about what music the group should work on, and learns to understand the audience, the stylistic components of a composition, and the hard work required to perform as an ensemble,” writes Sina.

• Keya Keita, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 or kkeita@kauaipubco.com.

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