For one night only, legendary Hawaiian soprano Emma Veary will sing for Kaua‘i.
Now 82, the award-winning entertainer known as Hawai‘i’s Golden Throat began singing at the age of 5, sharing the culture of the islands through her music.
The beautiful singer and songwriter performed throughout the 1970s at the historic Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki and in New York. As a child performer, she met Bette Davis and Dorothy Lamour, and later as a mother became friends with Jackie Kennedy, whose children played with hers.
Emma started out wanting to be an opera singer but after her time in New York, her exposure to Broadway led her to combine her love of opera, Hawaiian music, operetta, and popular and Broadway tunes into her own stage act.
Fortunately, she admits she has the vocal capacity to “pull it off.” In the early days, she did a lot of summer stock in New York and shows at the Honolulu Community Theatre.
She performed in the more prestigious venues in Waikiki such as the Royal Hawaiian and socialized with Hollywood celebrities.
She remains a Hawaiian musical treasure with a voice as sweet, pitch perfect and lovely as ever, according to PBS Hawaii Board Director Jimmy Borges, who aired a special on Emma Veary on May 24, 2011.
As a child, Emma Veary lived at the Waikiki Natatorium with her family and 21 “at risk” boys. Her Hawaiian mother led an extraordinary life of spiritual search and kindness, and influenced Emma profoundly with her loving spirit of aloha.
Emma’s mother Nana Veary wrote the book, “Change We Must,” chronicling her spiritual journey. She immersed herself in Hawaiian theology, and then traveled the globe in her quest for spiritual truths. But when Emma was a child performer, Nana was always by her side, sewing her gowns and dressing her hair for the stage. The start of World War II interfered with Emma’s plans to go to Hollywood, but her career on Hawaii flourished during those years.
On Kaua‘i, Emma Veary will perform from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 10 at the Kaua‘i Museum at 4428 Rice St. in Lihu‘e. The concert is a fundraiser to advance the museum’s work to preserve and promote Hawaiian culture through educational exhibits, workshops, tours and family-friendly festivals.
The evening will feature pupus and a no-host bar, and autographed CDs of Emma Veary will be available for purchase. Tickets are $100, and are available by calling (808) 245-6931.