Seven vie for Mokihana Music Scholarships

LIHU‘E — Seven graduating high school seniors played for their scholarships Wednesday when the Mokihana Women’s Club hosted its 43rd Mokihana Music Scholarship presentation at the Lihu‘e Parish Hall.

Andrew Obiano, a senior at Kapa‘a High School, appropriately rendered a presentation of “Happy Birthday, Concert Version” by Andrew Johnson, prefacing his piece by announcing his 18th birthday falls on Saturday.

Obiano, a piano and violin student since the first grade, continues his pursuit of piano education while performing at numerous recitals and for church Mass.

He plans to attend Kaua‘i Community College in the fall.

Nicole Isoda, another Kapa‘a senior, opened the field of five piano performers, demonstrating her level of accomplishment on the piano. She began  to play classical music at the age of 5.

Bound for the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Isoda has consistently earned high ratings in National Piano Playing Auditions sponsored by the American College of Musicians and has been a participant of Pianomania a number of times.

Keo Naolatabua, another Kapa‘a senior, got help from Nina Saraos, accompanying on piano, as he gave life to the tuba, an instrument he describes as a “big beautiful instrument.”

Nacolatabua, who says he “plays all the brass instruments,” was introduced to the tuba during high school where he earned Rookie of the Year as a freshman. During the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Kapa‘a senior’s selection for the parade was the tuba.

He is a member of the KCC Band and plans to attend the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

Kevin Jian, a senior at Kaua‘i High School, went back to the piano, performing “Dance of the Unicorn” by Naako Ikeda and “Invention #8” by Bach.

Jian, who plans on attending Pacific University in Oregon, has achieved “Critics Circle” in the National Piano Guild and has performed at Pianomania on O‘ahu. He is also versed in several other instruments.

Izaak Morales of the Kaua‘i Christian Academy brought the violin alive with his rendering of “Thais: Meditation” by Jules Massenet.

A student of violin for the past two years, Morales, who plans to attend Bob Jones University, is also an accomplished pianist, earning a ribbon in a Fine Arts Competition on O‘ahu.

Justin Langstaff, a senior at Kapa‘a, demonstrated his skill on the piano which recently earned Blue Ribbon honors during the statewide Spring Festival on O‘ahu.

Performing “Canon in D” by Pachabel and “Ronda ala Turca” by Mozart, Langstaff, who plans to attend California Lutheran University, has also participated in Pianomania and achieved “Critics Circle” in the National Piano Guild.

Kyle Balisacan, a senior at Kaua‘i High School, closed the competition presentation with “March in G” by Bach, “Nocturn #5” by John Field and “Mazuka in G” by Chopin.

Balisacan, who also plans to go to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, has received numerous musical awards including Outstanding Symphonic Band Musician, Outstanding Jazz Band Member and Most Musical Student.

He is a member of the Kaua‘i High School Jazz Band and a national member of the American College of Music for Piano and has participated at Pianomania. He is also versed in several instruments.

Leisa Rados, the music scholarship chair for the Mokihana Club, said the competition for scholarships has been narrowed to students in music.

Members of the Mokihana Club vote on the performances by each of the applicants. Scholarship award announcements will be made once the votes are tallied by the scholarship committee.

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


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