Wood Craft

By Ben Wood

Cayetano gives Borges
a shirt ‘off his back’

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano gave Jimmy Borges the "shirt off his back" at Honolulu Symphony Board Chair Carolyn Berry's New Year's Eve party at the Halekulani. Actually, the ex-guv brought in the shirt for life-of-the-party Jimmy after trying it on at home and deciding against it -- with a nudge from wife Vicky. Jimmy proudly displayed the shirt. Symphony conductor Sam Wong and wife Hae Young were at the affair. Noting Sam is just 40, Jimmy said, "I've got shoes older than that." Symphony Pops conductor Matt Catingub said the theme for this year's Symphony Ball May 17 is "As Time Goes By." Sam will come on first with the Symphony, then Matt will lead the orchestra in everything from jazz to pops. On New Year's Eve, the Symphony performed under Sam leading up to the New Year and then Matt got things swinging with a smaller band. Matt was modest about being named one of the Star-Bulletin's "10 Who Made a Difference." Others at the party were Symphony officials Stephen Bloom, Jim Mancuso and Donna Bebber. Former U.S. diplomat Al Adams and Dr. Kalani Brady attended. Carolyn's daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Larry McMarlin, flew in from North Carolina. They were married here three years ago on New Year's Day ...

On Jin's musical feast

On Jin Kim, owner-chef of On Jin's restaurant, surprised Christmas Eve guests by singing Christmas carols and classics. Beside being skilled at preparing excellent dishes, On Jin is a trained operatic soprano with bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the American Conservatory of Music. She was worried about singing for her guests. "I did not sing in five years and I was very nervous about it," she said. "Last night I was making desserts until 2 o'clock in the morning." On Jin, accompanied by pianist Eric Schank, did not have to worry. She was in fine voice and will sing on Friday nights at the restaurant ...

Penny Kalii, who has friends from Honolulu to Hilo, surprised many of us by marrying Keawe Vredenburg on Dec. 15 in what Penny calls a "very small, low-key ceremony" at Waimea's Imiola Church. "Keawe is a good Hilo High boy, a true delight and the one I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with," Penny said ...

Fancy food and service

Pacific Club chefs and staff outdid themselves at the Chaine des Rotisseurs Kauai/ Oahu chapter's holiday dinner. The wait staff served dishes in unison with impressive precision. It took hours of practice to get the timing down pat. Other high points were the singing of Christmas carols by former Miss Hawaii Candes Gentry, Sherry Chock-Wong and Joseph Caldrone, all Larry Paxton's music students at UH, and vocals for dancing by Augie Rey. Candes' mom, Nora Meijide, was photographer. Bruce Liebert is new chapter leader, succeeding Carole Brooks ...

Local boy Stan Takahashi's Dec. 23 death at age 70 was a major loss for Hawaii's hotel industry. Stan, a Farrington grad, with hard work rose from a hotel clerk's position in 1952 to the Sheraton executive level. In 1989 he joined Kyo-ya, owner of five Sheraton Hotels in Hawaii and two on the mainland, as chief operating officer. Stan was respected by both labor and management ...

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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