CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Roy Sakuma, master of ceremonies for the Honolulu Zoo's summer concert series, plays for the elephants -- Vaigai, left, and Mari. The zoo's annual "Wildest Show in Town" series begins Wednesday.
Hope & song
Roy Sakuma has a positive message for zoo concert fans
The pace of life and the crush of bad news in the world mean many of us are walking a fine line when it comes to achieving balance in life.
"Many people are running on empty with war, famine, disasters, work and providing for their families. The list is endless," said Roy Sakuma.
"The world keeps giving us more instruction manuals and self-help books. These things are important, but they fall short of what we are all searching for: a deeper and more meaningful life."
Sakuma's answer: hope, delivered by means of a midweek musical interlude at the Honolulu Zoo.
The head of the Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios also serves as master of ceremonies at the zoo's summer concert series, the "Wildest Show in Town." He's given the series a new theme, "Laughter, Love & Hope."
"So many things have inspired me to go this route," he said. "For lots of us it's been a struggle. We need to do more things that bring us hope and happiness. Hope is the foundation that allows you to work your way through things."
Sakuma especially believes in sending these messages to children, and so he'll end each concert with his song "I Am What I Am." Its key message: "I am what I am; I'll be what I'll be/ Look can't you see that it's me all of me."
"The song poured out of my heart," Sakuma said of the words he wrote in 1970. "I was hurting, and the words just poured out of me."
He's received positive feedback from kids as he's performed the song in schools. "They say things like, 'I know what it means to be me, and it's OK. I can stop pretending to be what I'm not.' Or, 'Before I would always put my head down and walk to class ... now I can look up and smile at people.' Now they have a different outlook on how they are living their lives."
Barbara Thacker, volunteer coordinator for the Honolulu Zoo Society, wholeheartedly agrees with Sakuma's approach. "I adore the 'Laughter, Love & Hope' theme. And Roy Sakuma has written a delightful song. It's really a nice unifier for our summer program."
Sakuma also plans to give away about 47 ukuleles in random drawings during the concerts -- half of the instruments going to adults and the other half to children.
The summer concerts are held on Wednesdays as a means of breaking up the monotony of the workweek, he said. The intention is for families to enjoy the music together.
During Sakuma's performance on June 25, extra activities have been added, including a "conservation station" that features an animal bio-facts display including skulls, skins and feathers; a tattoo station; a "feed the animal" game similar to a beanbag toss; and face-painting.
"We are coming together to fill up with laughter," Sakuma said, "fill up with love and fill up with hope."
‘I Am What I Am’
By Roy Sakuma | [ Listen to MP3 ]
People wonder where I'm going
People watch me do my thing
People ask me who I am, here's what I say:
I am what I am; I'll be what I'll be
Look can't you see that it's me all of me
I am what I am I'll be what I'll be
Look can't you see that it's me.
Now myself I'd like to be reaching out, feeling free
Doing good where I can with this in my heart
See them going their own way,
see them doing their own thing
They begin to understand
Now they sing with me
Summer concerts under the stars
Outdoor musical experiences fill the summer months. All of these special events are on weeknights, offering a nice break in the workday routine.
Wildest Show in Town
STAR-BULLETIN / 2006
Kapena opens the concert series at the zoo.
Master of ceremonies Roy Sakuma. Concerts from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays; doors open at 4:35 p.m. Suggested donation $2. Coolers and picnic lunches allowed; Starbucks drinks will be sold for $2. Drawings for ukuleles held at each show. Proceeds benefit Honolulu Zoological Society. Call 971-7195.
» Kapena, Wednesday
» Makana, June 18
» Roy Sakuma and Friends, June 25
» Melveen Leed, July 2
» Manoa DNA, July 9
» Eddie Kamae & the Sons of Hawaii, July 16
» Keale, July 23
» Ohta-san, July 30
» Holunape, Aug. 6
» Jimmy Borges and Friends, Aug. 13
Ke Kani O Ke Kai
COURTESY WAIKIKI AQUARIUM
Kaukahi performs Thursday at the aquarium.
Oceanside concerts held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every other Thursday on the aquarium lawn. Cost is $25, $10 children, free for ages 6 and under. Galleries and exhibits remain open. Food from restaurants such as Hula Grill Waikiki, Yama's Fish Market and Big City Diner sold separately. Call 440-9015 or visit www.waquarium.org.
» Kaukahi, Thursday
» HAPA, June 26
» Jerry Santos and Jay Larrin, July 10
» Eddie Kamae, July 24
» Wille K, Aug. 7
Moonlight Mele on the Lawn
COURTESY TWAIN NEWHART
John Cruz performs June 19 with the Girlas.
Monthly summer concerts are held at 7 p.m. on the Great Lawn. Gates open at 6 p.m., 5:30 p.m. for museum members. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. No outside food allowed; restaurants will provide food at additional cost. Call 847-8290 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.
» John Cruz and the Girlas, June 19
» Darren Benitez and Maunalua, July 17
» The Makaha Sons, Aug. 14
Compiled by Nancy Arcayna