Kamehameha Children’s Chorus visits Waimea for a free concert

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<p>The Kamehameha Children’s Chorus, under the direction of Lynell Bright, performs in an undated concert. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS FOR NHN)</p>
<p>The Kamehameha Children’s Chorus members range in age from 9 to 12 years old.</p>
<p>The Kamehameha Children’s Chorus performs at the 2011 Song Contest Event. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS FOR NHN)</p>

Music lovers of all ages in North Hawaii are in for a rare treat – for the first time in almost 20 years, the Kamehameha Children’s Chorus from Oahu will perform a free concert in Waimea at Kahilu Theatre at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 hosted by the Mana Christian Ohana.

The chorus, under the direction of Lynell Bright, will perform a wide variety of music and dance - Hawaiian, Broadway, classical and contemporary – including music honoring King David Kalakaua.

The group of about 100 student performers, ranging in age from 9 to 12 years old, has performed throughout the world, including Japan, New Zealand, and throughout the mainland.

“It is so wonderful to learn from the different cultures and share our music with them,” Bright said. “It has been a blessing.”

Bright, who has been directing the choir for 24 years, said the recently retired president of Kamehameha Schools, Dr. Michael Chun, now lives in Waimea and invited the choir to perform here.

She said she also had an invitation from the Kamehameha Schools Keaau campus to visit, so they arranged the trip during their Spring Break.

“It has been a while since we have been there – 20 years or so,” Bright said. “The kids are excited.”

In addition to their world travels, the students also use their talents to offer community service concerts, especially to groups that help children and families in need, including the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu and for terminally ill patients in the HUGS program.

“I think the mission we have, no matter where we are, is we want to be able to share our music and our culture through our song and dance,” she said.

The group’s experiences include performing with Celine Dion and at the world premiere of “Lilo and Stitch.” They have also released several CDs, including their most recent, “Na Pua Lei A Pauahi,” in Dec. 2009.

“It doesn’t matter where we are, there are always (new) people to meet and to learn from,” she said. “ … And we touch people with our music. Whether in Japan or New York, it is an opportunity for us to share our aloha, and our mele.”

Bright said that one of the more memorable trips during her 24 years as their director was when they traveled to New York City and performed for the New York City Fire Department at their headquarters, a group who had lost many of their fire fighters on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bright said when the young students sing, it touches listeners emotionally in ways an adult group cannot.

“It has been a great journey,” Bright said. “It has been a great opportunity to bring healing in ways you don’t even know.”