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Crescendo

Ignace "Iggy" Jang

Monday, September 27, 2004


Kalapana and Elliman
star in Symphony Pops


Quick, can you name the two original members of Kalapana who are still in the band? If you guessed D.J. Pratt and Malani Bilyeu, hats off to you. Chances are you've been following the band for the last 30 years. With hits such as "For You I'd Chase a Rainbow," "Night Bird," and "Going, Going Gone," Kalapana has been a major force in the local music scene for 30 years. The band recently completed a successful Japan tour, and we're honored that they're celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend with the Honolulu Symphony Pops.

Honolulu Symphony Pops

Celebrating Kalapana's 30th anniversary, with Yvonne Elliman and maestro Matt Catingub

Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Tickets: $25 , $35, $45, $55 and $70

Call: 792-2000 or Ticketmaster at 1-877-750-4400

But that's not all the entertainment maestro Matt Catingub and the orchestra have in store. Yvonne Elliman will also be joining us on stage. Do you remember such hits as "Love Me" and "If I Can't Have You" from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack? That song was such a hit ... I grew up hearing its melodies, and it became forever anchored in my head. Mind you, I was across the planet in France.

It's not just the tune that brings backs memories; this song brings back the sights and sounds, even the fragrances, of a place and time. Together with Yvonne, we'll showcase many of the beautiful songs she's recorded, including the poignant "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith, whose band members included Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton.

Our contemporary Pops concerts aren't just a trip back in time, but an invigorating journey too. Catingub has written all new orchestral arrangements for Kalapana and Elliman -- an ambitious writing project for any composer -- and we'll premiere 17 new orchestrations at the shows, including a few new songs written by Elliman and arranged by Matt.

ELLIMAN, WHO grew up in Hawaii, moved to London after graduating from high school. She began singing at the Pheasantry Folk Club in London's trendy Chelsea district. The Pheasantry, which, as its name suggests, was once used as a location to raise pheasants for royalty, had by the '70s become a trendy night club. It was the venue for early shows by Lou Reed, Queen and Hawkwind, among others, and it was at the Pheasantry that Elliman was discovered by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

Lloyd Webber offered her a leading role in his new rock opera, "Jesus Christ Superstar," which brought her instant fame. After gaining controversial recognition and selling millions of albums, "Jesus Christ Superstar" opened on Broadway, where Elliman played the role of Mary Magdalene to packed houses.

Undoubtedly, her greatest chart success came with the release of "Saturday Night Fever." The Bee Gees wrote a few songs on the soundtrack for her, and "If I Can't Have You" quickly climbed the charts. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 89 on Jan. 28, 1978, and reached No. 1 15 weeks later.

WHEN KALAPANA joins us on stage, you'll hear all your favorite songs, plus a few great surprises. With bassist Kenji Sano and keyboardist Gaylord Holomalia adding to the current lineup, Kalapana has won a strong and significant following along the Pacific Rim. They perform regularly before sold-out audiences in Japan, the Philippines and the mainland. As Star-Bulletin writer John Berger has said, many musical trends have come and gone since Kalapana first played together, but their hits have remained beloved island classics.

It was only a matter of time before Catingub would invite the group to perform with us, and all that was needed was his creativity to arrange Kalapana's charts for the orchestra. It'll be the band's first time performing with a symphony, and they're excited by the thought of having more than 50 musicians playing their music in unison.

When you think about it, there's a bit of a mystical aura surrounding the Honolulu Symphony Pops. We've had a great number of entertainers perform their first orchestral shows with us. For singers and musicians accustomed to more casual venues, it can be quite a sight to see the full orchestra together on stage. It often represents the meeting of two worlds. Many have said they were impressed by our professionalism because we're always ready on time, tuned, and eager to start playing. In contrast, we've welcomed pop artists who weren't always strict with the clock, some who needed a lengthy sound check with the sound engineer (which classical musicians don't really need), and others who unfortunately dropped their guitars right before a concert! In that case, someone had a Phillips screwdriver handy, so the show could go on.

All this free-flowing artistry comes through in concerts with the Pops, and we've been impressed in turn by each guest artist's spontaneous creativity. It all balances out beautifully in the end for the enjoyment of concert-goers. This weekend, we're hoping our nostalgic double bill will have you dancing in your seats.




Ignace "Iggy" Jang is the Honolulu Symphony's concertmaster. His column will appear on the Monday prior to each concert of the season to illuminate works to be performed. E-mail comments and questions to Jang at suggestions@honolulusymphony.com





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