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Monday, January 01, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan.1, 2024

Two vocal and instrumental concerts for the public will celebrate the donation of a more than 100-year-old Steinway concert piano
 in Pāhala for music education and performances. Photo by Carlin Ma

WORLD RENOWNED CLASSICAL MUSICIANS AND SINGERS will welcome the public to two presentations at Pāhala Plantation Managers House on Sunday, Jan. 7 and Tuesday, Jan. 9, both at 7 p.m. The location is at 96-3209 Maile Street in Pāhala.
    The workshop and concerts celebrate the more than a century-old Steinway D piano that was recently donated and is stationed in Pāhala.
     New York Metropolitan Opera soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra has brought her talent and the skills of
Hawai‘i International Music Festival co-founder
 Amy Shoremount-Obra. 

many singers and musicians to Pāhala since 2009 for musical training, workshops and community outreach into this agricultural town where her relatives are coffee farmers.
     In 2016, she and internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso Eric Silberger and esteemed pianist Carlin Ma founded Hawai'i International Music Festival. This is its seventh season, from Jan. 3 through Jan. 10, with local and international students coming here to study and perform for the local community. 
   Performances include a vocal and instrumental Celebration of Music! on Sunday, Jan 7 and a vocal concert of the students who are participating all week in the workshop based on the The Garcìa School, which is "committed to carrying on the great bel canto singing tradition made famous by legendary voice teacher Manuel Garcìa in the 1800s," says Shoremount-Obra. She says that in addition to taking master classes and performing, the artists will connect with the culture of Hawai‘i by exchanging talents and ideas with local artists.
    Operations Manager Taylor Yasui, of Honolulu, states, “We are excited to showcase the music and stories of acclaimed international and local artists, which adds to the unique and diverse musical landscape we have here in Hawai‘i. Each year Hawai‘i International Music Festival strives to build upon our mission of presenting unique interdisciplinary classical music events and educational outreach programs for the community of Hawai‘i.”
Esteemed pianist Monica Chung.

    The workshop at Pāhala Plantation Managers House features a local and internationally acclaimed artist faculty - Silberger; Shoremount-Obra; pianist and Kaua‘i resident Monica Chung; pianist, music director, coach and Hawai‘i resident Maika‘i Nash; Conductor and Artistic Director/Principal Conductor of TerpsiKord Carine Aufier; Associate Vocal Department Chair of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and Mezzo-Soprano Maya Sypert.
    Ten local and international singers from the US Mainland, Mexico and China will join the workshop to participate in daily lessons, classes, and masterclasses and concerts.
    The Celebration of Music! at Pāhala Plantation Managers House on Sunday, Jan. 7 will
feature music of Franck, Chaminade, Bachelet, R. Strauss and more. Vocal and instrumental performers will be violinist Silberger, internationally acclaimed Canadian pianist Oskar Yao, soprano Shoremount-Obra, pianist Chung, coach Nash, conductor Aifiero and three young singers from The Garcìa  School workshop. They are Chinese soprano Zoe Gao, San Francisco-based baritone Andrew Fellows and Mexican soprano Sandra Aldaz Meraz.
     Suggested donations are $30; to reserve seats see www.himusicfestival.org.
    The workshop concludes with the additional concert featuring all singers of The Garcìa School Vocal
Workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Pāhala Plantation Managers House. Conducted by TerpsiKord's Carmine Aufiero, with music director, coach Maika‘i Nash at the piano, the first half of the program will include ensembles from several of Mozart’s most beloved operas and the second half of the program will include art songs, arias and musical theater selections by various composers.                     
     Suggested donations are $30 and reservations are available on the Hawai'i International Music Festival website at www.himusicfestival.org.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Eric Shilberger will perform at Hawai‘i International Music Festival concerts next Sunday
 and Tuesday. He has also played in a lava tube at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Carlin Ma

LOULU, THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN PALM, IS PLANT OF THE MONTH for Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū. The column is by Jodie Rosam, and the art by Joan Yoshioka.
     Read about Kaʻū’s native plants and their moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. This column seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others.
    Loulu, is a native palm with the scientific name of Pritchardia spp.
    Description: Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou! I am excited to introduce you to a great friend to kick off 2024. Meet loulu! Loulu (not to be confused with loʻulu, the name of the endemic fern Coniogramme pilosa), is the name for all species of the only native Hawaiian palms, which are perhaps the most distinctive and conspicuous native plants. 
     Of the 27 species of Pritchardia found in the east-central Pacific, Hawaiʻi is home to 24 endemic species, all of which are either a species of concern, endangered, or critically endangered. Loulu are unarmed (thornless) tree palms with palmate or fan-shaped leaves which naturally senesce, die, brown, and fall off of the tree in one intact unit, although sometimes in drier areas, they persist on the tree giving it a lovely pāʻū or skirt. The underside of the leaf blades can vary in color because of a covering of light-colored hairs which can densely cover the underside of the leaf blade surface, giving them a silvery appearance. Interestingly, a marine kinolau to the native palm is the filefish, perhaps named loulu because the greenish-white skin resembles the colors of the bottom of the fronds. The trunks are smooth but tend to have longitudinal grooves and are sometimes ringed with leaf (or climbing) scars. Small yellow flowers and round fruits emerge on stalks that may hang down when they are full of fruits. The length of the flower and fruit stalks relative to other parts of the leaf - and the leaf coloration itself - are some of the most useful characteristics to identify species of loulu. 
Loulu, a native Hawaiian palm. Art by Joan Yoshioka
    Uses: Leaves were typically the most commonly-utilized part of loulu, specifically for thatching roofs and weaving fans, umbrellas, hats, and baskets. The word loulu can be translated into umbrella, so called because the fronds from the palms were used as rain / sun protection. Heiau māpele (a seasonal heiau used to appease Lono and encourage an adequate seasonal catch of fish) were erected using the large fronds of loulu. Trunks were also used to make spears and for construction, as they are surprisingly durable. The fruits of loulu were given a specific name, hāwane, and they were gathered immature to consume while the endosperm was still soft. Loulu were often cultivated around areas of habitation, which is even greater evidence that loulu have played a prominent role in Hawaiian life and culture. 
    Habitat: Loulu can inhabit a variety of conditions, and each species of loulu is uniquely adapted to live in a specific climate type. Hawaiʻi Island is home to five species of loulu spanning ranges from Kohala to Kaʻū, including P. beccariana, P. gordonii, P. maideniana, P. schattaueri, and P. lanigera, none of which occur on other islands. 
    Unfortunately, direct or indirect human activity is responsible for the degraded and declining state of loulu habitat - though it should be noted that fossil evidence has shown that loulu were once one of the most abundant trees in Hawaiian forests, and potentially even a dominant species in dry coastal lowland and moist mid-elevation forests. Even more noteworthy is that loulu easily succumb to the damage of the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), which makes the conservation of these amazing species even more of a priority. On that note, if you see anything resembling CRB damage or CRB grub, please report it to (808) 643-PEST. 
    Growing and Purchasing: It is a true shame that native loulu are not used in commercial landscaping to replace the other Pacific fan palms, but hopefully that will change. I do, however, encourage you to learn about the different Hawaiʻi Island (and beyond) species of loulu and see which species may do well in your home landscape. Because these are protected species, only certified growers are permitted to propagate and sell loulu on the market. These are all tagged and recorded, and must only be planted in home garden settings - it is not a good idea to plant endangered species into wild landscapes because of the risk of losing the genetic variability across species which is key to their individual success. Amy Greenwell often sells loulu, and they do great in the climate of Kaʻū! I hope you enjoy learning more about these fabulous frond friends and incorporate them into your lives, somehow. 

Kaʻū News Briefs December 31, 2023

Three nēnē appeared to own the road in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park as the  Endangered Species Act
 became 50 years old at the end of 2023. The Park urges motorists to look out for these geese.
NPS Photo by Janice Wei

Hau kuahiwi was extinct in the wild as of 1930 but
was reintroduced and lives in Hawai'i Volcanoes
National Park. NPS PHoto y E. Ribeiro
THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT IS 50 YEARS OLD WITH THE SUNSET OF YEAR 2023. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park reminds everyone of its importance in preserving wildlife. By protecting endangered species, the Act conserves wildlife, like native Hawaiian trees that contribute to creation of drinking water and other resources important to human life. The Park posted that "In 1973, the Act made it illegal to kill, collect or harm certain species and authorized the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a list of endangered plant and animal species.
    The Park gives the example of the endangered hau kuahiwi, Hibiscadelphus gifffardianus, which went extinct in the wild. However, devoted conservationists collected its seeds before the last plant died in 1930. That last wild tree was in the Kīpukapuaulu forest, where a new generation of hau kuahiwi is protected by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park today.
    Another species recovered from near extinction is the Hawaiian nēnē, a goose named to be Hawai'i's state bird. The Park urges motorists to "Please slow down and watch for nēnē, any number of them, while you drive through their home in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park," even though they appear to "own the road."

KAʻŪ HIGH TOOK ON HILO ON THE ROAD SATURDAY NIGHT. Kaʻū's Tyson Kuahia Faafia in photo below battled for an open shot, facing off against Hilo's Jason Biruetta in the Trojan's game against the Vikings.
     Despite many outstanding Kaʻū efforts, Vikings beat the Trojans 58-25 at Hilo High Gym. 
     In these photos, Kaʻū High alumni community member Tim Wright also captured Kaʻū's Joe Buyuan at right, going up for a basket against Hilo's J Peyton Pana Biruetta.
     In the photo above, Wright captures Hilo's Kamani Cazimero-Galderia who looks for an open shot while guarded by Trojan's Braysen Andrade (41).

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VOLCANO SCHOOL'S KULA `AMAKIHI DIORAMAS ARE ON DISPLAY AT KAHUKU Unit of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences Kula 'Amakihi students created dioramas of the ahupua'a system as part of their studies of Hawai'i Island Sustainability and Traditional Survival Skills.
    Students and families in this community-based education program for students grade three through eight participated in a hike and workshop at the Kahuku Unit where Ranger Wendy Scott-Vance introduced everyone to the ahupua'a system. Under the guidance of their learning coaches and teachers, students built dioramas for presentation and display inside the Visitor's Center at Kahuku. The ahupua'a exhibit can be seen through the end of January, according to Barbara Sarbin, Kula 'Amakihi Coordinator.
Kula 'Amakihi student Ellarue Newman presents her ahupua'a
 diorama at Kahuku. Photo by Barbara Sarbin

A TSUNAMI ALERT WAS ISSUED FOR JAPAN AND PARTS OF THE KOREAS AND RUSSIA on New Years Eve Hawai'i time but no tsunami alert was issued for the Hawaiian Islands. 
    The earthquakes struck around 9 p.m. Hawai'i time. The series of earthquakes off the western coast Japan did not pose a tsunami threat to Hawai'i, unlike the major quake in 2011, which led to tsunami destruction on this island and a nuclear plant meltdown in Japan.
    Taking place around 4 p.m., Dec. 1 Japan time, the series of earthquakes, including one of Magnitude 7.5, cracked pavement and damaged buildings and hurt people, with a 4 foot tsunami rolling into Wajima, some 190 miles from Tokyo. Residents were urged to move from the coast to higher ground.
    Ishikawa prefecture was threatened by a tsunami of 16.5  feet and coastal residents were urged to flee. Nigata was expected to experience a tsunami height of ten feet. 
    Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority reported that it was examining Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant. It was also reported that some bullet trains were halted, as a precaution.
    North Korea, South Korea and Russia's Asian coastal areas were also under warning for a three-foot tsunami.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.