Aloha meets ‘Hola’

  • Photo courtesy Melissa Mojo

    Twenty-one members of Kauai Voices will serve as ambassadors of aloha during a weeklong performance tour in Havana, Cuba, from February 5 through February 14. Back row from left: Lee Miller, Karen Firl, Dennis McGraw, Dana Bekeart, Richard DeMarco, Ken Curtis, Chris Suard and Marianne Luken. Middle row, from left: Liz Hahn, Amy Lin Thomas, Rachel Lasky, Fran Nestel, Margi Padilla, Winnie Mann, Louise Arakaki and Deb Baumung. Front row (l to r); Pamela Varma Brown, Penny Prior, Accompanist Monica Chung, Artistic Director Randy Leonard, Laurel Petterson McGraw and Dottie Bekeart. (Missing: Lolli Hagen and Joya Bowman)

  • Bill Buley/The Garden Island

    Randy Leondard directs Kauai Voices.

Members of Kauai Voices, the island’s popular auditioned choral ensemble, will serve as ambassadors of aloha during a weeklong performance tour in Havana, Cuba, from Feb. 5 through Feb. 14.

Twenty-one Kauai Voices singers, plus three musicians, will perform in venues in and around Havana — joining with two notable choral groups for combined performances: Ensemble Vocal Luna, the 12-voice professional Cuban women’s choir and the Entrevoces Choir, the national mixed choir of Cuba.

“We are looking forward to sharing our music and aloha spirit with the musicians and people of Cuba,” said Kauai Voices Artistic Director Randy Leonard. “Music is a universal language, experience, and power in human life, opening doors and hearts. Our goal is to promote — from one island to another — a better relationship and understanding between cultures and people through our mutual love of music.”

The group, which has been planning and organizing the trip for more than a year, will sing its repertoire from its 14th season concerts — A Banquet of Voices — performed Jan. 19-21.

“The singers will also perform the songs Aloha Kauai and Aloha ‘Oe, with a Cuban segment written specifically for this journey,” said Leonard adding, “Both of these arrangements were specially written for Kauai Voices by Kauai composer and musician Kathleen Dahill.”

When not performing, the musical ambassadors of Kauai Voices will stay in a historic Havana hotel, which is perfectly situated for touring the city, visiting the national art galleries, schools, historic sites, cigar factories, markets and finding locations for spontaneous music and dancing.

Kauai Voices, founded in 2011, produces two seasons of concerts each year in Lihue. The shows feature a different theme each season with many different styles and genres of music.

The group typically is accompanied by piano, an instrumental ensemble, and also highlights soloists, duets, and small vocal groups.

Kauai Voices will sing classic Christmas songs 6 p.m. Saturday in the gazebo at Kukui Grove Shopping Center in Lihue, and on Christmas at the Hilton Garden Inn’s Christmas Buffet in Wailua from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Its January concert will be at St. Michael All Angels Episcopal Church in Lihue.

“With a program of many different musical styles, our 14th season showcases the exceptional diversity and capabilities of Kauai Voices,” Leonard said. “A banquet is the perfect metaphor for our dynamic program, which will highlight the rich variety, outstanding ability and impressive talent of Kauai Voices. We deliver it all in one inspired package.”

The concert performances will feature the musical genres of pop, Latin, Cuban, Broadway, Jazz, movies, gospel, Hawaiian, American musical, world peace, classic, African, patriotic, sound choir, speaking choir and rock.

“Kauai Voices has a phenomenal ability to embrace and master a multitude of vocal/choral styles, sounds, and genres. In every season the singers have developed a higher level of skill, ability, and knowledge,” noted Leonard, adding, “This season highlights the delicious ‘banquet’ of music for both our singers and audiences to indulge in.”

“Our theme is a perfect way for us to deliver a very satisfying and exciting program, rich in diversity, quality, artistic expression, and joy,” said Leonard, who has more than 35 years of experience directing vocal and choir groups. “Some songs will be familiar and some will surprise you — we invite you to indulge and enjoy all that our Voices can serve you at this banquet!”

Tickets for A Banquet of Voices concerts are $15 each in advance and $20 at the door. Premiere seating is also available at $25 each, providing early entrance and prime seating choices. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit


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