JUNE CHUN / 1947-2008
Teacher groomed students for stage
According to her brother, June Chun only appeared onstage once during her long involvement with musical theater, performing in "Flower Drum Song" back in the 1960s.
"June was more backstage, a teacher," recalled brother Rodney Chun. "She was the lady who groomed little kids into seasoned performers. She could find musical aptitude in anyone."
June Kam Hu Chun Hsia, 60, who died March 25, was best known for her school Musical Moments with June Chun on Kalakaua Avenue, as well as a variety of musical programs in schools and pageants. Her students became regulars in Hawaii musical theater and beauty contests, at one time even performing with Michael Jackson at Aloha Stadium.
"June was a very fun person and a great, strict teacher," said John Rampage, artistic director of Diamond Head Theatre. "Always in control. She practiced what she preached and was a powerhouse backstage. She always came through, and her students are stars, thanks to her."
Pianist and teacher Emmett Yoshioka said that Chun was one of his first students. "She had such tremendous energy and dedication. She took care of my own three daughters, musically, piano lessons and voice. Two are still performing. (Chun) liked working with young people -- she made kids who were students feel comfortable onstage as performers, which made them prepared to go on to bigger and better things."
"She was a special woman who really believed there was a goodness in music," said designer Amos Kotomori, who often worked with Chun during pageants. "Music, as she taught it, was a kind of transcending therapy that led to self-confidence and success. More than a piano teacher -- June taught the lessons of life."
Chun graduated from St. Andrew's Priory and received a masters in music from the University of Hawaii. She also worked for Yamaha Foundation Japan and was a volunteer at Kapiolani Community College and St. Francis Hospital.
Survivors include son Robert Hsia, daughter Kyla Hsia, brother Rodney Chun and sister Qonnie Laughlin. Taoist services are at 9:30 a.m. May 10 at Borthwick Mortuary, with English services at 11:30 a.m.