‘We are on our way!’

NAWILIWILI — A portion of the proceeds from the newly released “A Place for All” album will go to help, build and maintain The Kauai Philippine Cultural Center.

The CD’s producer, Art Umezu, made that announcement Saturday with Bobby Ayonon of the Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce during the fifth KPCC fundraising event.

“We are on our way,” said Lesther Calipjo, president of the KPCC board before an audience which swelled beyond the 500-people mark and filled a ballroom at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

“We have been giving you status reports and updates for the last five years. This year, on March 29, we celebrated the groundbreaking of The Kauai Philippine Cultural Center before more than 150 people with Gov. David Ige and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.”

Calipjo said the board is in the signing stage with three new partnership family members, and in the coming weeks, the screens will go up as site work gets under way.

“This is exciting times for everyone,” Calipjo said. “The Kauai Philippine Cultural Center will be a place for everyone.”

Umezu’s pledge of support was joined by Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi, who in his remarks before the crowd dressed for an evening of elegant enjoyment, outlined the $1.5 million which is included in the bill package that concluded its conference last week.

The effort was possible through the work of the Kauai’s legislative team of Reps. James Tokioka, Derek Kawakami and Dee Morikawa, and included something for everyone, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. A press release which is scheduled to be released this week will see $13 million for affordable housing, $5 million for the drug treatment center, $700,000 for the Kauai Veterans Cemetery, and $2 million for the Kauai Community College culinary arts program among its contents, Kouchi said.

Eddie Topenio, former president of the Kauai Filipino Chamber and the evening’s emcee, said in addition to the $25,000 pledged by the Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce for the KPCC, Wade Lord personally added $3,000 in support, and the Kauai Filipino Women’s Club added $2,000 for the center.

Among the performers doing numbers on the CD, which Umezu said is dedicated to the memory of past Kauai Filipino Chamber President Ernie Pasion, are Carvalho, Daphne Sanchez and Christine Valenzuela-Calzado, who was among the entertainment lineup for the gala evening.

Joining Valenzuela-Calzado were notables including the Papa‘a Bay Boys; dancers from Bailes de Jose under direction of Jose Bulatao; Dr. Jean Shein and her daughters; Jeremiah Garcia; Les Abalos; Taste of Harmony, a regular performance group appearing at Kukui Grove Center; and Brylyn Aiwohi, the first runner-up in the 2016 Miss Aloha Hula competition at the Merrie Monarch Festival. Aiwohi’s hula sisters and brothers from Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala under the direction of Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin were also on tap for performances.


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