Music lovers can experience Kaua‘i’s very own outdoor jazz festival taking place May 17 on the lawn overlooking Kalapaki Bay at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club lu‘au area.
Kaua‘i Concert Association board member Judy Arrigo has been envisioning such a venue for Kaua‘i ever since attending outdoor festivals in California such as the Monterey Jazz Festival.
KCA’s mission is to provide quality classical and modern music and fine arts as well as to create musical education opportunities. Of the 11 musicians KSA has brought to Kaua‘i this year, nine have performed for Kaua‘i schools.
“We’ve been to every school on the island,” Arrigo said.
The W.S. Pete Robinson Memorial Jazz Fund was created just for that purpose. Robinson was a jazz enthusiast and programmer for radio station KKCR before he died. In honor of Robinson, friends and family established a scholarship in 2000. KCA works closely with the fund to provide musical instruction to Kaua‘i students.
“For the past five years we’ve made the scholarship available to kids taking private music lessons,” Arrigo said. “We contact instructors who make recommendations and help their students fill out the application.”
Last year KCA gave $10,000 worth of music lessons to 19 of Kaua‘i’s youth musicians.
“Kids are the future of jazz and the future of music,” Arrigo said.
As with past visiting artists, the festival’s featured jazz headliner, Joyce Cooling, will appear for an in-service at Kaua‘i High School for an exclusive concert with the Kaua‘i High School Jazz Raiders.
In the past, visiting musicians have either gone to a school to perform and offer instruction or in the case of trumpet player Lew Soloff, KCA rented busses to bring the island’s middle and high school students to the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center for a performance.
The Kaua‘i High School Jazz Raiders will open the festival under the leadership of Director Daryl Miyasato.
“We will always lead off the concerts with a school band,” Arrigo said. “Followed by a good jazz group from the state of Hawai‘i and someone from the Mainland.”
This may be the first festival but it is just the progenitor of greater things to come.
Besides the Kaua‘i High School Jazz Raiders, Cooling will be joined by the Honolulu Jazz Quartet that has performed together for over six years. The group’s first album, “Sounds of the City,” received attention from acclaimed jazz writer Nat Hentoff (Wall Street Journal and Jazz Times).
Cooling is an award -inning guitarist and songwriter who has shared the stage with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd. Cooling’s style is described as melodic and swinging. In 1999 she received the Gibson Guitar award as best jazz guitarist of the year.
Food and beverages will be provided by the Marriott. The festival will also feature works of art by members of Kaua‘i Society of Artists.
Proceeds from the festival will fund the music program at Kaua‘i High School. Tickets are $40 for adults, $25 for students. Tickets are available at the following outlets: Island Soap, Kilauea and Koloa; Magic Dragon, Princeville; Bounty Music, Kapa‘a; Borders Books & Music; Scotty’s Music, Kalaheo, Dr. Ding’s, Hanapepe; and Aloha-N-Paradise, Waimea. Tickets are also available online at kauai-concert.org, or call 245-sing.