Finding therapy in Kauai’s music

  • Contributed photo

    John Steinhorst

The sounds of Kauai are like music, including the enchanting songs of white-rumped shama birds and the rustling of palm fronds in the tradewinds. But another collection of noises has dominated parts of the island impacted by recent floods.

The buzz of chainsaws and clanking of shovels has joined the crowing of junglefowl and rainfall on rooftops. The union of these sounds represents the collaboration of community members joining together and actively responding to the disastrous events.

Even as night falls, the sounds of talk story and laughter can still be heard, all signs of the positive support for uplifting the people’s spirits. As I lay in bed, counting my blessings of being spared from harm and damage, a sudden silence fell over the air. I felt nervous and uneasy with concerns for friends and family affected by the storms.

Then the rain started to fall again, creating a percussive patter and steady dripping noise from the gutter outside. Suddenly I was moved to pick up my guitar, loosen the strings, and add my part to the island song. Together as a whole the collective sounds created a tune, similar to residents and visitors who joined together to create a concert of support.

Music can bring a sense of relief and relaxation for many of life’s struggles and should not be discounted as therapy for dealing with life’s stressful situations. Take time to find solace and comfort in music during times of despair, as well as to celebrate and give thanks during times of joy.

The Kauai Concert Association presents a celebration of music with Oahu’s legendary Noel Okimoto Quintet on Saturday at the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach. Okimoto has been playing professionally since the age of 10 with the drum set as his primary instrument. He is also regarded as an accomplished orchestral percussionist, vibraphonist, composer and clinician.

He will be joined by the soothing sounds of Kauai’s own master pianist Hank Curtis and songstress Peggy Lake, who will open the concert. Held outdoors in the resort’s luau tent from 5 until 9 p.m., concert tickets are $30 per person.


John Steinhorst, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at (808) 652-5024 or


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