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News from the Music Program

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August 20, 2019
BYU–Hawaii music students brought their best performances to the stage in the Music Scholarship Competition on Thursday, April 5th. In all, eighteen students competed for three one-year scholarships ranging from full- to one-half-tuition. As pictured from left to right, the top three prizes were awarded to Makana Arce, voice (1st place), Parker Stockford, percussion (2nd place ) and Rachel Dunbar, voice (3rd place). In addition, Honorable Mentions were awarded to Lawrence Laureano, voice, and Hoi Man (Emily) Shek, zheng and suona.
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August 14, 2019
What’s your preferred name? WealthiaWhere do you call home? PhilippinesHow long have you been at BYUH? Three and a half years (recently graduated)Did you serve an LDS mission? Not yetWhat’s your major? What instrument(s) do you play? General Music. I play piano, violin, and guitarWhy did you decide to study music at BYUH? Ever since I was a kid, I have had this urge to know more about music. I heard Elder Dallin H. Oaks (he presided over the church's area in the Philippines) mention something about BYU-Hawaii and IWORK Scholarship in one of our Stake Conferences (my dad was the Stake President at that time). I was inspired and determined to try to go to BYUH and pursue my dreams.What do you do when you’re not studying or practicing? I engage in extracurricular activities. I love hiphop dancing. I am a member of BYUH's hiphop dance group since I came here. I also go out with my friends and explore Hawaii. I love hiking, visiting different tourist attractions here in Oahu, and eating out with friends.Name one thing that’s unique about you. My name. It starts with Wealth. My grandparents and parents wanted me to become successful in life and and be rich someday so I can help the needy ones.Name one thing you’re proud of accomplishing at BYUH. Finishing my studies while working 19 hours (25-40 hrs during break). I cannot believe (until now) that I was able to do it.Who are your musical heroes? Beethoven, Chopin, GriegName three songs on your playlist. 1) Bach: Air on a G String 2) Satie: Gymnopedies 3) Chopin: Nocturne op. 72 no. 1Name a favorite food you’ve discovered at BYUH. Spam Musubi - a food that's quick to grab and eat before class starts again. Thanks to The Seasider (BYUH Campus Cafe) for selling spam musubis! hahahaIn which ensembles have you participated? University Chorale. Shaka SteelHow long do you practice every day? At least 2 hours if I can.Do you surf? No. I am not even a good swimmer.Do you have a job? If so, what is it? I don't have a job now but I used to work at PCC (Concessions Department) and BYUH (Purchasing Department). Both jobs were not related to my major but I am very grateful that I was able to learn new things aside from Music. I learned how to do Accounting stuff too!What inspires you? My parents. I want to make them proud of me and return/pay back everything that they have done for me.What are the best things about studying music at BYUH? You get to know different cultures and perspectives from students around the world. I also have great teachers who even studied in England etc.What surprised you about BYUH? Homework and tests. The load was very difficult for some of my classes which are not even major classes.What are your plans after graduating? LDS MissionWhat advice would you give to entering freshman music majors at BYUH? Use every resource that you can find. Library, books, computer labs, music practice rooms, or ask for your teachers' help. Do not hesitate to ask help from others. Enjoy the beautiful paradise of Hawaii. Enjoy while it lasts. Work out your purpose and know you're reason why are you here. Learn to adapt and make friends.Date: 11/10/2016
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August 14, 2019
Josh Wallace: A Day in the Life (Ke Alakai)
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August 14, 2019
Koko Ohira learned of the healing power of music when she performed for earthquake victims in JapanCalled a true musician by her friends, Koko Ohira, a senior from Miyagi, Japan majoring in music performance, has used her saxophone skills to help victims of Japan’s natural disasters.After Japan’s devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Ohira played for victims to spread hope through music. “I went to play music for the victims to give enjoyment. And then I played this song – it’s called ‘Homeland.’ It’s a Japanese folk song. I felt that this song is what we remember about our homeland.”The song became so important to Ohira that she always plays the song to introduce herself and her homeland of Japan. “I was so shocked when I saw the destroyed things. Then I played music and then they cried because they remembered the way everything was before the earthquake and tsunami were happening. I remember thinking, ‘I have to keep playing for them and let them remember our home.’”While the victims of the earthquake had lost everything, Ohira saw how the power of music brought some hope back to their lives. “I recognized how music gives power to live and how music heals people,” she said.After that experience, Ohira set off for college. She said she never planned to come to BYU-Hawaii, but she is glad she stayed because it introduced her to jazz music. “Here, my saxophone teacher said that my classical skill was good, but if I could learn jazz, my skill would become better.”Ohira has learned the new style and is now part of the Salsa Orchestra and Jazz combos at BYUH among other groups. “Jazz music is kind of different [from classical] because I can create my own music or my own melody or a cool solo and I just noticed, ‘Oh this is so good. I can create anything!’ I love it.”Jazz not only helped Ohira’s musical skill, but also her confidence. “When I started the salsa band, I didn’t have any confidence to play saxophone. But Dr. Duerden always told me, ‘You can do this.’ He always gives me a challenge or good advice, so my confidence became stronger. Before I was so nervous to perform in front of people and now I just really, really enjoy my performance.”Ohira’s musical confidence doesn’t always extend to her personal life. “I don’t feel nervous when I perform music, but I’m so shy to talk to people. I don’t know why I’m so shy. I can perform for everyone and I’m okay, but I really can’t talk to people. It’s really funny.”Last semester, Ohira was chosen to perform a concerto with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She said, “It was such a great opportunity. I had played music in Japan, but I was never a soloist. I couldn’t imagine that I would be a soloist.”Kevin Peterson, Ohira’s bandmate and a senior from Laie studying music, said he was proud of Ohira’s solo performance. “Obviously she was fantastic, and it’s crazy because musicians in general are a dedicated group of people. They spend a lot of time practicing, but she practiced that piece forever. I can’t even count the number of times I went into the band room and she was practicing it. It paid off because when she played it, it was perfect.”Peterson described what made her performance so perfect. “She played all the right notes, but more than that, it was just so gorgeous. The way she moves and all the emotion she puts into it, it’s very clear that she’s not just a player: She’s a real musician.”Ohira said she hopes to move on to graduate school, ideally at BYU in Provo. “After I graduate I want to be a teacher and a performer. I don’t want to stop playing, but I love teaching too. I taught some lessons in Japan for a high school student before, and it got me thinking that I could be a teacher.”Peterson gave her a vote of confidence. “I think Koko could go on to do whatever she wants to,” he said. “She’s a phenomenal musician.”Uploaded April 8, 2016Photo by Monique Saenz
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August 14, 2019
BYU–Hawaii's Shaka Steel and Street Band toured the neighboring island of Maui from Feb. 2-5, 2017. The performance-rich tour included five performance events in the space of three days, including gigs in the Lahaina Cannery Mall, the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Kahului, and a musical fireside at the LDS Maui Lani Kahului West Stake Center. Both Shaka Steel (a steel pan band) and the Street Band pride themselves on upbeat performances that get the audiences clapping and dancing. BYUH performers enjoyed the warm reception and enthusiastic applause of the Maui audiences.
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August 14, 2019
In 2005, Melissa Walker earned her degree in Vocal Performance from BYU-Hawaii. Now, after earning two graduate degrees and spearheading humanitarian aid half a world away, Dr. Melissa Walker Glenn returns to BYU-Hawaii as Assistant Professor of Voice. Says Dr. Glenn, “My time at BYU-Hawaii profoundly touched and changed me. I am honored to again be a part of this great school and music program.”
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August 14, 2019
2016 Scholarship Competition Winners (left to right): Mana Kinikini (1st), Ayaka Kinjo (2nd), Sydney Nemrow (3rd), Kaitlyn Bourne and Koko Ohira (Honorable Mention).
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