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Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, December 10, 1999

Cazimeros, symphony
concert brings seasonal
comfort, joy


By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin


VISIONS of Christmas trees, presents, parties, church services, family and "hydraulic cattle" all came together smoothly last night as the Brothers Cazimero opened three nights of Christmas concerts with the Honolulu Symphony in the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Cazimero Christmas concerts are almost as strong a local tradition as their annual May Day shows at the Shell and with good reason. No one celebrates Christmas with more panache that Robert and Roland Cazimero.


Bullet A Cazimero Christmas
Bullet Repeats: 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow (tomorrow is sold out)
Bullet Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Bullet Tickets: $15-$50 Blaisdell box office or
Bullet Call: 538-8863

Robert presided with his usual gracious wit and aplomb as narrator and master of ceremonies. Roland quickly made his presence felt with perfectly timed one-liners on topics as diverse as hair (and/or the lack of it), the Hoku Awards, and the Brothers' uneven experiences over the years working with the Honolulu Symphony.

"Shine on, brother," he said dryly as Robert took the lead spot on "Little Drummer Boy." Robert chose to interpret the comment as brotherly encouragement rather than a reference to their respective hairlines.

The song has long outworn its welcome as seasonal radio fodder but symphony pops conductor Matt Catingub resuscitated it with an imaginative new arrangement. The Cazimeros made it clear that they enjoy working with Catingub and the three of them appeared to be having a great time together.

Robert sang "Drummer Boy" beautifully and then outdid himself with the opening verse of "Away In A Manager." For all their jokes about aging, there was no doubt last night that Robert and Roland are as good as ever.

The mental image of a "hydraulic" cow popped up when Roland pondered the meaning of a reference to "cattle lowing."

Aside from the Brothers' performance it was a great pops concert for Catingub and the symphony. The integration of the Brothers and the symphony was notable throughout. Catingub and the symphony expanded and enhanced the music of the Cazimeros and their special guests, the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club. This is how all pops concerts should be.

The program included classic Christian hymns sung in English, Hawaiian or Latin, as well as some popular secular songs. One of the latter was a Catingub enhanced arrangement of "Jingle Bell Rock" -- the song that just happens to be the hot new track off the Brothers' "Cazimero Christmas Favorites" anthology.

The duo's "adopted third brother," kumu hula Leina'ala Kalama Heine, added a solo hula to a beautiful rendition "Puna Hone." The song has been a Cazimero signature for years and was an exquisite musical interlude.

The women of Na Pualei O Likolehua were featured on another number. The Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club sang beautifully a capella as well as with the Symphony.

The Glee Club and the Symphony actually closed the show with Catingub inviting the audience to join in a Christmas carol sing-along. It was somewhat anticlimactic, but the crowd seemed content to leave the hall singing "Mele Kalikimaka."

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