Wood Craft

By Ben Wood

Saturday, September 25, 1999

Beebe’s night to remember

BEEBE FREITAS, the talented pianist and organist for so many of Hawaii's cultural organizations over the years, was given an unforgettable surprise party Sept. 17 at First Presbyterian Church. BeebeMug shot has been the church organist for 30 years. It was Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus Director Nola Nahulu's job to get her to the church on time. Pastor Dan Chun greeted Beebe, and the Honolulu Symphony Brass Quartet blared her arrival. The crowd of 300 cheered. Taking part were the First Presbyterian choir, HOT Chorus, Kamehameha Alumni Glee Club, Honolulu Symphony Singers, organist Buddy Naluai, Sweet Leilani singers, a barbershop quartet and pianists Herb Mahelona and Beebe's daughter, Roslyn Catracchia ...

Liberty House scores

Liberty House pulled off a master stroke by getting Alan Wong to open a restaurant in the Ala Moana store. Both John Monahan, the Liberty House prez, and Alan were beaming at last Saturday's opening. "We hope we can show our customers we can do other things and show them the same kind of food service they have enjoyed at King Street (Alan Wong's) for the past four years," Alan said. Mary Louise Blackburn, singing "Akaka Falls" and "Waipio," was a highlight ...

The $1 million whirlwind renovation of Aaron's, formerly Nicholas Nickolas, came in on sked and the beautiful view restaurant has reopened. Aaron Placourakis and partner Al Souza showed the "new" spot at receptions Wednesday and Thursday. Jiro Noguchi is a third partner. Key personnel are operations director Scott Osterhout, maitre d' Skip Lambert and Souza's son, Al III, manager ...

Neiman Marcus kicked off its Festa d' Italia with a fabulous fashion show featuring its fall evening collection and a special collection by Anne Namba. The show in the Mariposa and buffet on the store's second floor was a benefit for the Hawaii Opera Theatre. Neiman Hawaii chief Al Tomonari and HOT's Henry Akina greeted guests. Taped opera music was played during the show. The room was decorated with long-stemmed roses, and rose petals were strewn on the floor ... Tomorrow's Race for the Cure, a 5K run-walk and 1-mile family fun walk, got off to an early start with a sponsors' reception at Neiman Marcus' Mariposa Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and Mayor Jeremy Harris pitched in to support the race, a fund-raiser to fight breast cancer. Vic Watumull and Ginnie Coggins Kim are race co-chairs ...

HONOLULU Symphony Ball chairwomen Judy Muncaster and Ginny Lloyd presented the Symphony with a $238,000 check before Tuesday night's program at the concert hall. Next year's ball is May 13 ... The Danny Kaleikini Foundation Golf Tourney Oct. 6 at Pearl Country Club will benefit Lunalilo Home and Oahu Junior Golf. Mirage International is the tourney's major sponsor. Mirage Prez Al Faccinto will take part. Call 533-4572 ...

Remembering Benny

The Hawaiian music industry suffered a big loss Tuesday with the death of Benny Kalama. Benny's last regular spot was with the Islanders at the Halekulani's House Without a Key. After performing Tuesday night, Islanders Alan Akaka, Sonny Kamahele and Kaipo Asing tossed their red carnation leis into the ocean and cried. Guests wearing leis did the same ... No Wood Craft for the next two or three Saturdays as I will be recovering from surgery ...

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets
of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of
people, places and things every Saturday.
E-mail him at

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