August 6, 2012

Aloha Festival 2012

After debuting at the Ukulele Festival in April, we were approached by a halau that needed musicians to back them up at this year's Aloha Festival. The last few months have been an introduction to the world of this halau, in specific, and to playing for dancers, in general.

Our first reaction was surprise, and excitement. What good luck to have this experience! And how great to debut at the Aloha Festival as a support act and not as as a featured group with its own time slot. Kinda perfect.

Rehearsals were interesting. Due to our summer schedules, our band wasn't able to be in the same place to rehearse for around 8 weeks. Whoever was available came to our weekly rehearsals and whoever was available came to rehearsals with the halau. The kumu was pretty flexible about the changing sound we were able to offer. At one point, when a rehearsal with the halau conflicted with my rehearsal with our girl band, mrguy played mrsguy for the night and sang my parts for the halau while I sang my parts with the girl band. Whew.

The Hawaiian band was *so* not in the same place that one of us had to fly in from out of town for the day to rehearse and play and then out the next, after our performance.

The dress rehearsal was fantastic, in its own way. It was in a large instructional space at a small Japanese preschool in a church. The corner we occupied was shared with various fish, turtle and tarantula tanks. The turtle was very curious as we played, and his water supply was very loud and splashy. At the end of the rehearsal my bag was splattered with turtle water :)

Yesterday was the big day. The grand mammoo came to see us, which was really touching, and friends from work also came (so cool!). The sound crew was very professional, but had been given the completely wrong info about our band's needs. The sound ended up being great. Imagine! My own sound coming out of the monitors! The halau did a great job and we did a great job, although I was nervous during the first number and wasn't able to sing as forcefully as I wanted on my solos.  Every once in a while, while performing, I'd see something that made me happy, like the next band, quietly waiting their turn on the second stage, cheering us on, or the sound guy wandering past us, eating malasadas. After we were done, one of the elder members of the halau told me that my falsetto is beautiful and sounds very Hawaiian. This is the highest compliment that I could be given, since I sometimes feel self-conscious about being a haole girl playing Hawaiian music in this community. So far people have been very kind.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur of eating, shopping, hugging and traveling. The band is all busting to get together again. The 18th is the band's 2nd anniversary, and we have a million goals we want to work toward together this year.

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