Hawaii Youth Symphony - passion, purity and promise

April 5th, 2011

ThinkTech Hawaii

This week ThinkTech is working on an OC16 movie about the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It’ll play on OC16 this Sunday at 10:30 p.m. Check it out, and listen to the music. You’ll be able to tell what a treat it was to meet the people at HYS, particularly in these dark days when we don’t actually have an adult symphony orchestra. I love my ThinkTech job meeting people like this.

The people running HYS are inspired. They include Henry Miyamura, 50 years teaching kids music, a living treasure for Hawaii. Selena Ching, executive director and social worker camp counselor person who brings them together. We spoke with Tom Bingham, academician and HYS vice president, and husband of Ruth Bingham, my favorite opera reviewer.

We called Sheryl Shohet, talented violinist who tutors young musicians in HYS. And Mike Foumai, a prodigy composer alumnus of HYS now in music graduate school on the mainland. And we enjoyed talking with Dave Masunaga, alumnus and Iolani mathematics teacher, who regularly plays in orchestras around the state. All brilliant, dedicated and fun to interview.

These are the kind of supporters that make HYS great. We spoke to attorney Ken Robbins too. He’s a long-time patron of the arts and the leader of the Symphony Exploratory Committee that hopes to resurrect the Honolulu Symphony. He’s also a big supporter of HYS. He understands the connection between the two and how the symphony must be a model for the kids in HYS.

Classical and symphonic music is so important to our community. If you listen, you can hear it breathe and resonate all around you. It’s the music you can touch, the music you can never forget, the music that lives in you. There were some great composers in the day that classical music was written. And if there’s any question whether these kids favor that music, they do.

If there’s any question whether they love Henry Miyamura, they do. Henry and his music help them play great music together, as a team, as one. Not everyone can experience that. It helps them define their lives and careers. It helps them find themselves for school and for the long haul. Many will go on to a career in music. Those who don’t will always be connected to it.

To have a symphony for kids in our community is not only useful and entertaining, it’s critical to the self-awareness of that community. We have to teach our kids music. We have to build in them the discipline and teamwork of an orchestra. They are a team today, but will be friends forever. What greater gift to them and what greater gift to us is their music.

On April 10th, HYS will play a concert at Blaisdell. It’s an important concert. It includes music composed by Mike Foumai. It raises money for Japan. This is the kind of concert that brings us all together. In it, you’ll feel the heartbeat of our kids and community, and you’ll feel good.

HYS is a statement of excellence, of the kind of passion, purity and promise only kids can feel. It gives us the gift and raises us up beyond the daily grind. Come and you’ll see what I mean. And if you can’t attend this concert, then attend the ones to follow. In any event, generously support HYS and for that matter the Honolulu Symphony as and when it’s resurrected.

You could do it for them, but don’t. Do it for yourself.

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2 Responses to “Hawaii Youth Symphony - passion, purity and promise”

  1. zzzzzz:

    Another opportunity to hear local school orchestras is the Parade of Orchestras next week, April 15 and 16 at the Pearl City Cultural Center.

  2. zzzzzz:

    If you can't make the Parade of Orchestras, check out YouTube and search for Parade of Orchestras Pearl City. A lot of past performances are posted there, and many of this year's will likely be posted there as well.

    Here's one performance from last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X0nbMUX1us, by one of eight orchestras at Punahou.