Jazz musicians, inspirational speaker team up
by Pam Woolway – The Garden Island
Two talented jazz musicians will join a highly acclaimed public speaker in a collaborative performance tonight at Kaua‘i Community College.
Pianist Donald Vega, vocalist Roberta Gambarini and motivational speaker William Cathers will combine talents in an evening of what Cathers calls “Ideas, Music and Inspiration.”
“Donald (Vega) looks at the audience and improvises off what he senses they need,” said Cathers.
The music of pianist and songwriter Donald Vega is described as a synthesis of traditional jazz and blues with Latin rhythms. Vega has performed with jazz legends ranging from Al Mc-
Kibbon and Poncho Sanchez to Anthony Wilson and Diana Krall. His debut album, “Tomorrows” will be released this month.
Beside him is Italianborn Gambarini who was named “a true successor to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan” by the Boston Globe.
Woven throughout the program will be the stories and insights of Cathers who is a leadership training consultant. He lives in Los Angeles where he moderates and designs leadership seminars for at-risk youth as well as businesses.
He is here for the annual leadership development program for Leadership Kaua‘i. Leadership Kaua‘i is a non-profit organization that helps develop leaders with awareness of and sensitivity to Kaua‘i’s culture and people.
“Ideas, Music and Inspiration” is sponsored by the agency.
This is the first time Cathers has added his voice to this musical conversation.
“The theme ‘Ideas, Music and Inspiration’ is about rebirth and renewal,” he said. “It’s about reconnecting through self-awareness and self-correction.”
For Cathers, the inspiration for the theme is personified in Vega who came to the United States from Nicaragua when he was 15 years old. Cathers’ book, “You Must Believe in Spring,” is Vega’s life story. Cathers describes Vega’s music as entertainment and enlightenment.
Cathers comes annually to work with members on what he calls, “affirmative culture.” He provides leadership training centered on resolving conflicts through the power of effective dialogue.
While here working with Leadership Kaua‘i, Cathers focused on the balance of leadership and what happens to people when they are under duress. Leadership Kaua‘i executive director Mason Chock sees the role of the organization as one of building bridges between the island’s decision makers.
“It’s about building relationships that have a chance of surviving,” Chock said.
Cathers described tonight’s show as one imbued with not only world-class jazz, but with hope.
“It’s about knowing that it’s OK to go into the dark,” he said. “Spring will return.”
Cathers donates his time to work with the Leadership Kaua‘i community.
“This comes from a deep respect out of what Mason (Chock) does,” he said.
Leadership Kaua‘i seeks to be the hub for educators, business people and government officials. Every month the groups meet to build resources and share experiences.
“This is Kaua‘i ‘ohana,” said Chock.
He works to bring divergent views together with the intent to create dialogue.
“Chock has the courage,” said Cathers.
And the cool head, he added.
Cathers reiterated the importance of how to do the wise and kind action while under pressure by stepping back to reflect.
“It’s about living in the moment,” Cathers said. “How am I going to act right now?”
Want to Go?
What: “Music, Ideas and Inspiration”
When: 7 p.m. tonight at KCC Performing Arts Center
Tickets: Tickets available at the door: $30 for adults, $50 couples, children under 12, free