‘We just want people to enjoy’

Sarah Tochiki, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School band director, wants the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall filled to capacity Sunday.

“This is not about the price of admission or fundraising,” Tochiki said. “It’s about numbers. I would love to see the convention hall filled to enjoy the Kyoto Tachibana High School Marching Band.”

The free concert, which will accept donations, starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature the band which started visiting Kauai in 1998.

“Their first performance was at the Coconut Marketplace,” said Art Umezu of the county’s Office of Economic Development. “They discovered the Kukui Grove Center, and this is the sixth time they have appeared here for a free concert.”

People filtered across the mall, seeking out vantage points to watch the band which has performed at the 1996 World Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and twice at The Rose Bowl Parade in Pasedena, California.

“My son was in Atlanta for the Olympic Games,” said Alan Branco. “We were near Zale’s and heard the music. They are good, and when they were done, they marched back past Zale’s.”

Tochiki, who coordinated the band’s tour through Kauai, said Sunday’s concert might be Hiroyuki Tanaka’s final event on Kauai as the band director for the Tachibana band.

“In Japan, when you reach a certain age, you retire,” Tochiki said.

People who are expecting Japanese numbers are in for a surprise as the band is scheduled to perform “Super Mario Brothers,” “Sing Sing Sing,” “Love Machine,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” in addition to Japanese numbers.

Umezu said he arranged for Kea, the 8-year-old dancer who recently performed with Justin Bieber on the Ellen Degeneres television show, to perform.

“Kea’s mother was born in Anahola,” Umezu said. “They live on Oahu, now and she is scheduled to leave on tour, but agreed to come back Sunday morning to Kauai to perform with the Tachibana band.”

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