Wood Craft

Ben Wood

Kamahele has
emotional aloha party

The best came at the end of an emotional aloha party for Sonny Kamahele Tuesday at the Halekulani when Sonny, 82, sat down with Genoa Keawe, soon to be 85, and harmonized with her as Alan Akaka played guitar. It was one of those magical moments with two of Hawaii's most respected performers simply doing their thing. Genoa also sang on stage earlier. The House Without a Key was packed with well-wishers and entertainers who came to give Sonny the warm sendoff on his last night at the hotel. Many performed. Hotel G.M. Fred Honda gave Sonny a farewell speech. Others who performed -- backed by singer-musicians Sonny, Akaka and Scott Furushima -- were singers Melveen Leed, Karen Keawehawaii, Kaipo Asing, Kama Hopkins, Gary Aiko and hula dancer Kealoha Kalama. Sonny sang along with them. The trio's hula dancer, Kanoe Miller, did her beautiful hula. At the post-party gathering, sisters Lillian Garfolo and Grace White, originally of Waipahu, who are visiting from Lodi, Calif., and Pikake Enos danced hula as Genoa sang. Sonny was close to the late Benny Kalama, with whom he performed going back to the old "Hawaii Calls" days. Benny's daughters, Lehua Kalama and Judy Landford, attended. Cookie Isaacs, widow of steel guitarist Barney Isaacs who played music with Sonny and Benny, was also on hand, as were Hawaiian music authority Harry Soria and singer Mihana Souza. An emotional Sonny said, "Plenty aloha" ...

Missouri ceremonies

The USS Missouri Association is holding its 30th reunion here. Former crew members and their families, 375 strong, will hold ceremonies marking Japan's official surrender ending World War II that took place on the ship and for the battlewagon's two tours in the Korean War. Tomorrow, Bill Morton and Bud Clevenger, who served on the ship; Dottie Finn, widow of association founder John Finn, and Melinda Cherneski, widow of retired Capt. John J. Cherneski, Jr., a commanding officer of the Missouri, will drop a wreath from the ship in memory of deceased crew members. Melinda, a recent Hawaii resident, said she was "extremely honored" to be taking part in the ceremony ...

Hawaii Opera Theatre Artistic Director Henry Akina was taken to his birthday dinner at La Mer Tuesday by opera lover Nanna Bradford. Nanna's husband, George, was on the mainland but the wine came from his cellar. Nanna chaired last year's Opera Ball with Cathy Foy. She brought Henry another bottle of wine prior to a HOT meeting the following day, which actually was Henry's birthday ... Local boy Bill Olds is now managing the 29 Palms Marine Base officers club ...

New York, New York!

Ballet Hawaii is in a New York state of mind. The company is taking a Manhattan approach to its first Black & White Ball, Sept. 21 at the Hilton Village's Coral Ballroom. Entitled "New York, New York," the ball is chaired by Anne Namba. Ballet Hawaii Prez Susie Schull is co-chair. Three Broadway performers will be showcased in the entertainment program. Ticket cost is $175. Call Judy Muncaster, 521-8600, for reservations ...

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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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