Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom performs Sunday

Hawaiian vocalist and songwriter Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom takes to the stage Sunday to help raise funds for “Growing Our Own Teachers” on Kauai.

Jonathan McRoberts, vice president of GOOT, said sustainability is important to Kauai residents.

“What more sustainable Christmas present can you give?” he asked, referring to tickets to the upcoming performance. 

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at Kauai Community College’s Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a silent auction.

Founded in 2006, GOOT provides financial assistance to Kauai students so they can finish the final semester of their teaching degree. Since its start, the organization has raised more than $200,000, which has allowed dozens of students to complete course work online through the University of Hawaii at Manoa while maintaining family and cultural ties to the island of Kauai.

In return for financial assistance, students pledge to teach on Kauai for a minimum of three years.

McRoberts said GOOT has proved extremely successful, with only one teacher leaving prior to the end of the three years due to a situation that required her husband to return to the Mainland. 

“We now have teachers in every school on the island,” he said. 

For the last three years, Maui-grown guitar virtuoso Willie Kahaialii — better known as Willie K — has headlined the event. This year, a conflict prevented him from making a fourth straight appearance. 

Much like Willie K, Gilliom — Hawaii’s top-selling female vocalist of all time — is not one to disappoint.

“She’s a superb singer,” McRoberts said. 

Gilliom is a five-time Grammy Award nominee for Best Hawaiian Music Album, and has brought home 22 Na Hoku Hanohano awards. She has played for sold out crowds in Europe, Japan, China, all across America and French Polynesia.

McRoberts said Sunday’s performance will feature two parts. During the first half, Gilliom will perform her well-known and well-loved local tunes. And in the second set, she will tackle a number of Christmas songs — which she is no stranger to, having won a Na Hoku award for Christmas Album of the Year. 

Tickets cost $35 for general seating, $45 for premium and can be purchased at www.growkauaiteachers.org.

Tickets are also available at Kapaa Business Support Services, Pono Market in Kapaa, Savage Gifts in Hanalei, King Auto Center in Lihue, Kalaheo Music and Strings and the Mail Service Center in Princeville.

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