NEWS – Past Concerts & Reviews
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Broadway Pops! — January 21, 2018
Maui Pops Orchestra’s annual sell-out Broadway Pops concert featured the vocal talents of Anne Runolfsson and Gary Mauer with returning guest conductor, Jason Howland. These outstanding guest artists performed a wonderful selection of show tunes, including some Rodgers & Hammerstein favorites.
Anne Runolfsson is one of those rare artists whose unique versatility has allowed her a distinguished career not only in the theater but also in recording studios, intimate cabaret spaces, and concert halls throughout the world. The New York Times proclaimed, “Ms. Runolfsson has a flexible virtuosity, between ethereal melodiousness and piercing big-moment resonance.” While the LA Times has called her, “A savvy and thoughtful performer.”
She recently completed a 2 year run on Broadway as the tempestuous diva, Carlotta Giudacelli in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show in Broadway history. Hal Prince referred to her performance as a “revelation.” Prior to that, she made an absolute splash in Victor/Victoria as standby to Dame Julie Andrews and Liza Minelli. She performed the title role over 120 times to great acclaim and went on to recreate the role in the National Tour which began in Seattle and Houston. Other Broadway and National Tour credits include: the role of Gretta Conroy in James Joyce’s The Dead, Fantine in Les Miserable, Roxane in Cyrano-The Musical, Lili in The Secret Garden, and Aspects of Love. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include: Listen to My Heart (Studio 54), Rags, Jack’s Holiday, Cather County, A Little Night Music, Showboat, and Funny Girl.
Gary Mauer was seen on Broadway as the Phantom in the Hal Prince production of The Phantom of the Opera, a role he previously performed on the National tour. Previously he starred in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera, performing the romantic leading role of Raoul. In addition, Mr. Mauer performed in the Broadway production of Les Miserables in the role of Enjolras, the revolutionary leader, a role he also performed with the National Tour in the US and Singapore. In addition, he performed the leading role of Gaylord Ravenal in the National Tour of Show Boat, opposite his wife, Elizabeth Southard.
Mr. Mauer was also a featured soloist in the world tour of “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” with Michael Crawford, bringing him to Japan, Australia, England, Scotland and culminating back in the US, where he performed for two weeks at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Regionally, his numerous credits include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Tony in West Side Story, Whizzer in March of the Falsettos and Danny in Baby.
Holiday Pops! — December 3, 2017
Under the baton of Music Director James Durham, the Maui Pops Orchestra rang in the holiday season with a festive concert featuring 22-time Na Hoku Hanohano award winners ‘Na Leo Pilimehana’. The audience enjoyed some of their most-loved songs of the islands, as well as many holiday favorites.
Celebrating over 30 years, Na Leo Pilimehana is the most popular, most award-winning and biggest selling Hawaiian band in the world. Over their career, Na Leo signed with Sony Music Japan and became the biggest selling Hawaiian artist ever in Japan, released over 23 CDs nationwide, have had over 20 #1 radio hits in Hawaii including Flying with Angels, Friends, North Shore Serenade, Local Boys, I Miss You My Hawaii, and many more.
Na Leo recorded the biggest selling single in Hawaii history (Local Boys) at just 17 years old, and since then have won an incredible 22 Hoku Awards (Hawaiian’s version of Grammy’s), have been in the top 20 AC charts nationally with Poetry Man and The Rest of Your Life and made music that’s become part of our lives and the fabric of Hawaii. They continue to perform to sell-out crowds in Japan, Hawaii, and the US.
Spring Pops — March 19, 2017
Spring Pops — featuring HAPA, Guest Artists
The Maui Pops Orchestra was excited to join musical forces with HAPA! Often described as the “Sound of Maui”, the music of HAPA has been called “majestic, stunning, reflecting a link to the past while soaring mightily into the future”. Virtuoso hypnotic guitar runs weaved around pure vocals, impeccable harmonies, poetic lyrics, and a dose of acoustic folk-rock. “The most exciting and beautiful contemporary Hawaiian music the world knows” (Maui Time) was featured in concert with the Maui Pops Orchestra in its celebration of the Pacific.
At the Spring Pops concert the Maui Pops Orchestra was pleased to announce the winners of our 2017 Auriol Flavell Student Scholarship Awards for Young Musicians. This year we had five winners:
1. Jalen Baraoidan: Jalen is a student at Lahainaluna H.S. and has clearly defined education and career goals. He plans to pursue conducting and arranging and work toward a MS in Music Education, and a Ph.D. in Wind Conducting. He wants to promote music education in Hawaii, and be an orchestra director. Sponsor: Stephen Rodrigues, Music Director, Baldwin H.S. and Myron Carlos, Music Director, Lahainaluna H.S.
2. Nicole Yuzon: Nicole currently plays violin with the Maui Pops Orchestra (MPO) and will attend UH Manoa or Hilo. She is likely to remain in Hawaii and be active in MPO, or other orchestras. Sponsor: Iolani Yamashiro-Rahimi, Violin Teacher
3. Angela Yasutomi: Angela is a senior at Seabury Hall with a strong music background who has played flute and piccolo with MPO. She is likely to continue to perform with MPO or other orchestras. Sponsor: Peggy Schecter, Flute Teacher
4. Elizabeth Konohia: Elizabeth is a senior at King Kekaulike H.S. and is being given a scholarship award based on her exceptional talent and clear financial need. Elizabeth has a real love of music, performing, and vocal harmonizing. She plays flute, bassoon, bass, tuba, and euphonium. As her senior project, she taught music to elementary school students and encouraged them to pursue music in H.S. Sponsor: Casey Nagata, Music Director, King Kekaulike H.S.
5. Lorraine Konohia: Lorraine, Elizabeth’s twin, is also being given a scholarship award based on her exceptional talent and clear financial need. Lorraine plans to major in music production and composition, and hopes to make that her livelihood. Sponsor: Casey Nagata, Music Director, King Kekaulike H.S.
We are grateful to Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa for participating in the award presentations. Congratulations to our 2017 winners!
Winter Pops — February 19, 2017
Winter Pops—David Benoit, Guest Pianist/Conductor
David Benoit began his career as a Music Director and Conductor for Lainie Kazan in 1976 before moving on to similar roles with singer/actresses Ann-Margret and Connie Stevens. For three decades, he has reigned supreme as one of the founding fathers of contemporary jazz. David has charted over 25 albums since 1980, and received three GRAMMY® nominations in the categories of Best Contemporary Jazz Performance for “Every Step of the Way” (1989), Best Large Ensemble Performance for GRP All-Star Big Band (1996), and Best Instrumental Composition for “Dad’s Room”. In 2010, Benoit received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Smooth Jazz Awards, and he’s worked with an impressive potpourri of musicians, including the Rippingtons, Emily Remler, Alphonse Mouzon, Dave Koz, Faith Hill, David Sanborn, Cece Winans and Brian McKnight. Benoit has performed at The White House for three U.S. Presidents: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr. He is also the Music Director for the Asia America Symphony Orchestra and the Asia America Youth Orchestra. Local favorite vocalist and sister-in-law, Angela, Benoit, was featured in several songs. Besides some of Benoit’s original pieces, the music of Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland and more provided a marvelous afternoon of live music.
Broadway Pops — January 22, 2017
Broadway Pops—Doug LaBrecque & Christiane Noll, Guest Vocalist, and Jason Howland, Guest Conductor
The annual Broadway Pops welcomed back Doug LaBrecque and new Maui Pops Orchestra guest artist Christiane Noll. The program included favorites from The Great American Songbook, including works by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, and more. Doug first performed at our Holiday Pops concert in December 2014 and received rave reviews.
Christiane Noll starred on Broadway in the Kennedy Center revival of Ragtime, has received Tony and Drama Desk award nominations, and has won a Helen Hayes award. Like Doug, Christiane has performed with many of America’s finest orchestras. In addition, guest conductor Jason Howland was on the podium. Jason has been a musical director, arranger, and conductor on Broadway for 20 years. He is the winner of a Grammy Award and Emmy Award, and has been nominated for a Tony Award. Bravo Broadway! was an exhilarating concert of familiar music featuring world-class talent!
Holiday Pops — December 4, 2016
Holiday Pops—Nicole Parker, Guest Vocalist
Holiday Pops is all about traditions. The Maui Pops Orchestra and guest vocalist, Nicole Parker, presented favorite holiday classics, plus a little something different, added by conductor Jim Durham. Nicole is best known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked. With additional impressive Broadway and off-Broadway credits, Nicole was also a contributing writer and cast member of Fox’s MADtv for six years. She has been a guest artist with numerous orchestras including Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, Houston Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Utah Symphony and Opera, Colorado Symphony, and many more. Nicole sang a fun-filled medley of holiday music, backed by the Maui Pops, and the orchestra played some on its own selections, including Around the World at Christmas, Trepak from the Nutcracker and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. This concert was a family event with an exciting variety of holiday music.
Spring Into Pops Concert (March 20, 2016)
Spring Pops welcomed internationally acclaimed Canadian pianist, Ian Parker. Ian has performed with many of the finest orchestras in the US and Canada. He performied Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. This concerto is one of the giants of the repertoire, and this was a rare opportunity to hear such a dynamic and powerful work. Ian Parker was represented by Schmidt Artists International, Inc. The first half of the concert was Scheherazade, the symphonic poem by Rimsky-Korsakov. Based on One Thousand and One Nights, Scheherazade must tell a story every night to save her life. Guest Concertmaster Andrew Sords performed the exquisite violin solo that depicted Scheherazade.
Magnetic, easy-going and delightfully articulate, Canadian pianist Ian Parker captivates audiences wherever he goes. He has appeared with the philharmonic orchestras of Buffalo, Calgary and Louisiana, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom and the symphonies of Cincinnati, Edmonton, Honolulu, Kitchener-Waterloo, Long Beach, National/Washington, D.C., Quebec, Regina, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Virginia and Winnipeg, among others.
Born in Vancouver to a family of pianists, Ian Parker began his piano studies at age three with his father, Edward Parker. He holds both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he was a student of Yoheved Kaplinsky. While at Juilliard, the Canada Council for the Arts awarded him the Sylva Gelber Career Grant, which is given annually to the “most talented Canadian artist.”
Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords began piano lessons at the age of 5, followed shortly by violin studies. Sords became a pupil of Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Southern Methodist University, and a series of international invitations helped catapult a solo career that has since spanned 4 continents and over 200 orchestras.
Andrew Sords has appeared regularly with celebrated orchestras and conductors. In recent seasons, concerto collaborations have included the Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, North State Symphony, Toronto Philharmonic, Gulf Coast Symphony and Melbourne Chamber Symphony, among numerous others. Sords makes his home in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
The Maui Pops Orchestra is very pleased to announce the winner of our 2016 “Auriol Flavell Student Scholarship for Young Musicians”. Mr. Darius Soo Hoo received a $2,000 scholarship toward his future academic goals and was presented the award at our March 20th concert, “Spring Into Pops”.
Darius is a 15-year-old freshman at Baldwin High School, currently playing the flute and violin, with a prior interest in piano and French horn. He is the son of Tom & Vicki Soo Hoo of Kula (Maui). Darius was chosen as the Principal Flute for the Maui Intermediate Select Band three years in a row. He has studied violin with Ms. Teresa Skinner for eight years, recently completing the Suzuki Method Violin School Book 9 (out of 10), and has studied flute with Ms. Peggy Schecter for the past three years. He has enjoyed his experiences with the Maui Academy of Performing Artis, playing the role of the “Fiddler” in Fiddler on the Roof and as a member of the orchestra for Miss Saigon and Evita.
His love for the violin has taken him to many different places and in many different directions. Darius has attended the Suzuki World Convention in Matsumoto, Japan, the California Summer Music program at Sonoma State University and, in 2015, the Summer Strings Academy at Indiana University. He has also had the pleasure of playing in the Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra violin section, and performing as the featured soloist with the Maui Pops Orchestra. He currently is a member of the Maui Chamber Orchestra and the Maui Pops Orchestra.
The Board of Directors of the Maui Pops Orchestra congratulates Darius on winning the $2,000 student scholarship and we wish him all the best in his future music endeavors.
Winter Fantasy Pops Concert (February 21, 2016)
Our Winter Pops Concert featured violin soloist Benjamin Baker from the UK. Born in New Zealand, Ben moved to the UK at a young age to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School, and has won several prestigious violin competitions. Ben played two very flashy violin works: Poeme by Chausson and Faust Fantasy by Wieniawski. The orchestra also performed the William Tell Overture, Clair de Lune, and the Polovetsian Dances.
Benjamin has also studied at the Royal College of Music where he was awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl. In 2013 he won 1st Prize and the audience prize at the Windsor Festival International Violin Competition, and was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust. Over the last year Benjamin has given recitals throughout Europe.
Hugely popular in New Zealand Benjamin returns whenever he is able, to give concerts and appear on radio and television. He moved to the UK in 1998 with his family to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School, on the recommendation of Nigel Kennedy. He is very grateful to be awarded Honorary Membership of the Rotary Club of Port Nicholson for his commitment to children’s charities.
Benjamin plays on a Tononi violin (1709) on generous loan from a private individual.
Broadway Pops Concert (January 24, 2016)
Broadway Diva Pops was our annual Broadway spectacular, this year featuring soloists Julia Murney and Emily Rozek. Our guest conductor, Randall Fleischer, unfortunately, had to cancel at the last minute and was not able to attend due to a family emergency. Our Maui Pops Music Director Jim Durham stepped-in to conduct the orchestra. Along with the Maui Pops Orchestra, Emily and Julia performed well-known selections from Carmen, My Fair Lady, Phantom of the Opera, Titanic, and more. These tremendously talented ladies, with many Broadway credits, lit up the stage with their dynamic performance.
Julia Murney last appeared on Broadway as Elphaba in Wicked after playing the role on the national tour for which she received an Acclaim Award. Other New York credits include Lennon, Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party (Drama Desk nomination), Falling (Drama Desk nomination), The Vagina Monologues, A Class Act, Saved, Crimes of the Heart, First Lady Suite, and Time and Again (Lucille Lortel nomination). She’s been seen regionally all over the U.S.- Signature, Williamstown, Reprise!LA, Sacramento Music Circus, NCT, Lyric, Rubicon and Goodspeed, to name a few-and in concert she has performed at Joe’s Pub, Feinstein’s, The Kennedy Center, Caramoor, Town Hall and Birdland as well as with symphonies nationwide including Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and Steven Reineke and the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall. Among her TV credits are 30 Rock, Sex and the City, Brothers and Sisters, Ed, NYPD Blue, all three Law and Orders and about a gazillion voiceovers.
A Syracuse University graduate, her recordings include the original cast albums of The Wild Party and A Class Act, the Grammy nominated Actor’s Fund Benefit of Hair and her first solo album I’m Not Waiting, which is available on Sh-K-Boom records, itunes, and at juliamurney.com.
Emily Rozek was most recently seen starring as Glinda in the Broadway hit Wicked. Upon her graduation from the Boston Conservatory she made her professional debut as the principle role of Winnie Tate in Annie Get Your Gun starring Bernadette Peters. She went on to understudy and perform the lead roles of Millie Dillmount and Miss Dorothy in Broadway’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. She has also been on National Broadway tours such as Sunset Boulevard as Mary and South Pacific as Nellie Forbush. Regional Credits include Marta in Company, staring with acclaimed and award winning actress Donna McKechnie, Maggie in A Chorus Line, Lizzie in Baby and, most recently, Polly in Crazy for You.
She spent 4 years in Los Angeles making appearances in various concerts such as Two’s Company, a tribute to the great composers, Alan Menkin and Stephen Schwartz. She was also featured in the Ford Theatre’s Broadway Unplugged Concert. She has also appeared as a guest soloist in Wicked Divas with the St. Louis Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Arkansas Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic and the Reno Philharmonic. Upcoming performances include Santa Rosa Symphony, Elgin Symphony, Anchorage Symphony and Springfield, MO.