Lifestyle

Recital, Silent Auction to Honor Late Mahi Beamer & ‘Ohana

February 12, 2018, 2:17 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 4:05 PM
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This is prized, restored, koa Kamaka ‘ukulele belongs to Halau O Po‘ohala Hula Loea Hulali Solomon Covington. Courtesy photo.

Generations of Hawaiian cultural practitioners, singers, dancers and chanters with the revered Beamer-Solomon ‘ohana will be celebrated during the 9th “Eia Ka Hula” recital with keiki to kupuna haumana (students) of Halau O Po‘ohala on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at Kahilu Theatre.

Many members of the ‘ohana have been recognized for lifetime contributions in creating, preserving and perpetuating the music, dance and mo‘olelo (stories) of Hawai’i—including the late, beloved Mahi Beamer.

This 9th annual recital will bridge the Beamer-Solomon family’s 159-year heritage that stretches from original compositions by their renowned great grandmother, Helen Desha Beamer, to the halau’s first place award presentations at the recent He Lei Hiwa No ‘Iolani Luahine Hula Festival, to honoring the memory of Julliard-trained Mahi Beamer, who passed away last summer at 88.

Also highlighting the event will be a silent auction of six of the Beamer-Solomon family’s personal instruments, including three Kamaka ‘ukulele and one Martin four-string ‘ukulele that belonged to Grandmother Loea Louise Walker Beamer. Two guitars—a 12-string and a six-string—which belonged to Air Force Master Sgt. Randolph F. Solomon Jr., who died in the Vietnam War, will also be included in the auction.

Young Randy Solomon, who was the older brother of the halau’s Loea Covington and Kakau ‘Olelo Malama Solomon, was an accomplished guitarist who frequently performed with the halau under the direction of their mother, Tita Beamer Solomon and Grandmother Louise Beamer.

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The instruments have been restored by Waimea’s Leonard Librizzi; they are in like-new condition.

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The auction, to benefit the halau’s not-for-profit support organization, E Hula Mai Kakou, will also include photo art by Waimea’s Ari Bernstein. The images were inspired by the late Mahi Beamer’s rendition of Na Kuahiwi ‘Elima, written by Great Grandmother Beamer. The art depicts cultural landmarks which have inspired hula dancers, teachers and musicians for eons.

The art collection also includes a copy of Great Grandmother Beamer’s notes while writing Na Kuahiwi ‘Elima. She recorded in her own hand: “We got to Ahualoa and along the plains… about day break and it was so clear and beautiful—Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa—we could see a part of Waipi‘o and Waimanu with the waterfalls so clear—then Hualalai and when we got into Waimea, the Kohala Mountains.”

This prized, restored Martin ‘ukulele belonged to Grandmother Loea Louise Walker Beamer, who is captured here in a photograph at about age 75. Courtesy photo.

The auction also includes massages, haircuts, facials, dinners and also other collectibles.

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Waimea’s Penny Keli‘i Vredenburg will help host the auction.

Guests are urged to arrive at 5 p.m. for the silent auction, mea ai (food) prepared by Chef Robert Garbriele and a hālau bake sale.

The recital, themed “Lei O Ha‘ena,” will revolve around Great Grandmother Beamer’s song by the same name, written for a dear family friend, the late Herbert Shipman. The performance will begin with a short film clip produced by Ari Bernstein and Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon, spotlighting Laka, the Hawaiian deity and kumu (source) of hula.

Following dances and chants by various hālau classes, including numbers presented at the 2017 Pacifica Festival in New Zealand, and several that recently took first place in the annual ‘Iolani Luahine Hula Festival in Kona, the program will shift gears to a tribute to the memory of “Uncle Mahi.”

Guest pianist Karl Kasberg will join musician Kama Hopkins and dancer Leiomalama to share several of Mahi’s best known pieces.

Wkth one of the premier falsetto voices Hawai’i has ever produced, Mahi’s musical legacy began soon after birth. His father taught him to play the piano when he was just three years old and that led him to eventually being accepted into the Juilliard School of Music and an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall.

In 2006, he was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2008, he was named a “Living Treasure of Hawai’i.” In 1992 he received the State of Hawai’i Recognition Award for his musical contributions, and in 1993 was the recipient of the David Malo Award presented by Rotary International for his cultural contribution.

Funds raised by this recital and silent auction will be used by the hālau’s not-for-profit E Hula Mai Kakou, to continue the hula school’s local, national and international performance schedule.

Funds will also support the production of Hawaiian cultural educational materials through film media, focusing on the mana‘o (thoughts) about what makes Hawai’i a very special place in the world.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and showtime is 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 and available from members of the hālau or by calling fifth-generation Loea Kumu Hula Hulali Solomon Covington at (808) 938-8620). Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the performance.

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