Blast from the past

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Jeanne Haapala sports a bandana, vest and beads, hippie-style from the ’70s, during a Kauai Voices practice at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Lihue.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Sharon Rothschild is in the spirit of the ’70s during a Kauai Voices rehearsal at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Lihue, preparing for concerts this weekend and next weekend.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Lee Miller wears a wig during rehearsal as part of his costume for “Kauai Voices sings the ’70s!” Their first concert is tonight at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center.

In high school some 15 years ago, Spencer Altom wore a suit when he had a role in “The Music Man.”

He needed an outfit appropriate for “Kauai Voices sings the ‘70s!” that opens tonight, so he called home.

“I got my mother to ship it to me from Alabama,” he said during a rehearsal break. “I can somehow still fit in it.”

Now in his fourth season with Kauai Voices, Altom’s open-collar shirt, shades and disc-style shoes presented just the right look — and feel.

“It brings out my inner youth for me, things I used to do in high school,” he said.

While Altom was born in the mid-’80s, he loves songs of the ‘70s.

“I know all of them,” he said. “I always told my dad growing up, ‘I was born about 25 years too late.’”

Appropriately, he views two concerts this weekend and two more next weekend as a chance to party on.

“It will be a fun ride,” he said.

Kauai Voices — the island’s popular, 50-plus-member, auditioned choral ensemble — will present concerts tonight and tomorrow at Kauai Community College, next Saturday in Kilauea and Sunday in Waimea.

A few of the songs they plan to sing are “Boogie Fever,” “Funky Town,” “Love Will Keep Us Together,” ‘The Way We Were” and “Joy To The World.”

Randy Leonard, Kauai Voices artistic director, said the ‘70s was an era of change glued together by many styles of music — heavy metal rock, funk, Motown, jazz, soft rock, soul and pop.

It had songs like “YMCA” by the Village people, which Kauai Voices will be performing. And yes, they know how to form those letters.

“This is what we were doing. This is what we lived on,” Leonard said. “It was a great era for the music.”

Sharon Rothschild, in her third season with Kauai Voices, was wearing a rather loud and crazy dress decorated with orange balls and covered with funky designs, along with orange/red fishnet stockings.

The dress came from a store. The stockings, her own collection.

“You never know when you’re going to need them,” Rothschild said.

“I had a friend ask me if I was going to get rid of this top after the show. I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’m wearing this to work,’” she said, laughing.

Jeanne Haapala’s flashy outfit included beads, vest, bandana and flared pants. Some she got online. Some she made from leftover fabric.

She’s enjoying this blast to the past.

“We really cracked up watching each other,” said Haapala, who graduated from high school in 1972.

“Some of these people here weren’t even alive then,” she said, smiling.

Her son was born in 1976.

“A lot of things were happening in my life at that point, so it takes me right back to them. It’s really fun revisiting all these songs,” she said.

Jennifer Waipa is in her first season with Kauai Voices. She grew up singing in choir, a member of a musical family, then had to step away from it.

“I’m really thrilled to be back,” she said. “I miss that blend of vocals.”

Waipa said the ‘70s was an era of great music. And Kauai Voices, she said, will deliver great concerts.

“I think we’re really going to knock it out of the ballpark,” Waipa said.

Lihue shows will be at the KCC Performing Arts Center at 7 tonight and 3 p.m. Sunday. Next weekend, concerts will be in Kilauea at Anaina Hou Porter Pavilion at 6 p.m. Saturday and at the Historic Waimea Theatre on Sunday, June 23, at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and $30 for VIP early seating.

Info: or 1-800-838-3006


Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or


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