Royal welcome

When Dickie Chang speaks of the upcoming performance of the Royal Hawaiian Band on Kauai, he makes it clear he believes it will be a show to remember.

“It’s an incredible undertaking, but how would one even consider not going to this concert, needless to say miss it?” he said. “It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.”

“They haven’t been here for 87 years. That’s a lifetime,” he added.

And then there’s this reaction of Kauai musician and songwriter Chucky Boy Chock, who said he doesn’t often get excited about many things. He is, though, excited about this concert set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 20 at Prince Kuhio Park. Gates open at 8:30 a.m.

“It’s something that needs to be done for our kupuna,” he said.

The concert is being held where Prince Kuhio was born in 1871. The performance is also a tribute to the prince, who was raised in Koloa and was elected as Hawaii’s congressional delegate for 10 terms.

“He was the people’s prince,” Chock said. “He totally was for his people.”

Ask Paul Horner why he thinks bringing the 41-member RHB to Kauai is important.

“It’s all about the community,” he said. “We needed another South Shore community event, something special.”

Chock is the event chair, and Chang, the face and voice of Walaau with Dickie Chang, and Horner, general manager at The Club at Kukuiula, are co-chairs, of this musical celebration that will feature the entire Royal Hawaiian Band making its first appearance on Kauai since 1928. That show drew a crowd of more than 10,000. While they’re hoping to sell 2,000 tickets for this month’s event, it’s no less significant in the island’s history.

“The initial goal of this event is to bring The Royal Hawaiian Band back to Kauai for the first time in over 87 years so our island community may experience one of the great musical traditions of our state,” the men wrote. “Another goal is to honor the contributions of Prince Jonah Kuhio. At the same time bringing together kupuna, kamalii of Kauai and Niihau and our visitors from around the world to participate in this collaborative community celebration.”

Horner said the event will go a long way toward reconnecting the South Shore community. He said businesses pooled their resources to make it happen.

Organizers are trying to raise $25,000 to cover the band’s traveling costs.

Many have stepped up to help, including the Lawai Beach Resort, the Club at Kukuiula, the Grand Hyatt, the Sheraton, Koloa Landing, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club, Wala’au, The Garden Island, Bank of Hawaii, and Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai chapter.

It also raised awareness of the area’s history and culture.

“We’re kind of bringing that tradition back,” he said. “We’re bringing that back for this generation for them to understand.”

It was Chock who got the ball rolling.

The idea of bringing the Royal Hawaiian Band came about when he was visiting kupuna in Kekaha. Music was part of that conversation.

“I asked, ‘How many of you have ever seen the Royal Hawaiian Band?’” he said.

Two raised their hands. One said she saw the group perform when she was 6 years old.

“Would you guys want to see them again?” Chock asked.

Yes, came the answer, “but it’s too expensive to go to Honolulu.”

The solution came to Chock: Bring the band to Kauai.

The Royal Hawaiian Band is an agency of the City and County of Honolulu. It was founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III and is the only band in the United States with a royal legacy. Its mission is to promote and foster music, to preserve the Hawaiian musical culture, and inspire young musicians. It performs almost exclusively on Oahu.

Chock decided to find out if the band could come to Kauai this summer. Following a few phone calls, turns out, yes, it could.

“It all worked out,” he said.

Clarke Bright, RHW bandmaster, told Chock that when he asked the band members who wanted to travel to Kauai for a concert, all 41 hands went up.

“We’re very excited,” Bright said.

The band, which performs throughout year, is delighted to be part of a celebration on Kauai and at such a place as Prince Kuhio Park.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity,” he said.

Also performing will be Darryl Gonzales and Palani Vaughn, while Kimo Kahoano will be the master of ceremonies.

Tickets will be $10, in advance at the Kauai Museum or at the gate.

Proceeds will benefit the Kauai Museum and the Royal Order of Kamehameha Maumualii Chapter.

Info: 245-6931

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