An Enchanted Evening
On Saturday evening, August 11, the Hawaii State Bar Association held its Annual Dinner Fundraiser at the Hawaii Convention Center.
The next morning, a flood of congratulatory emails, text messages, and phone calls were sent to staff members of HSBA and the many volunteers who gave so much of their time, talent, and uncompensated hard work to make the evening an overwhelming success. It was truly a night to be remembered. The common theme of reviews by our bar members is that the evening was not only entertaining, it was very moving.
The Judges Kanikapila was made up of the Just Us Band: Circuit Court Judge Keith Hiraoka on bass guitar, District Court Judge William Domingo and Family Court District Judge Kevin Morikone on acoustic guitar, and, as the de facto spokesperson for the entertainment portion of the program, Circuit Judge Riki May Amano (ret.), who played the Kamaka ukulele given to her when she graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1976 by her beloved husband Don (whom she married when she was 17 and he was 18). At the end of the evening, Don Amano sort of renewed his vows with his silent auction winning bid for a concert KoAloha ukulele which he gave to Riki. HSBA Vice President Greg Frey's winning bid obtained a beautifully handcrafted Kamaka ukulele. Both ukulele were signed by our featured entertainer, Jake Shimabukuro.
Before Jake came on, we were entertained by the Just Us Band, complemented by backup singers Marissa Machida and Ryan Markham. Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna showcased their considerable vocal talents in a medley of songs, including oldies from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Circuit Judge Gary Chang and I did our part with our game version of the Drifters’ Under the Boardwalk, with the audience joining in.
And then Jake came on, and with Just Us and the singers, performed the Ka’au Crater Boys’ Are You Missing Me? Jake then did an impressive repertoire with his old music partner Judge Hiraoka. And then, after the stage was cleared, Jake played solo magnificently for almost an hour. Always the nicest, most humble and considerate performer, Jake dedicated a very touching medley of Akaka Falls, Schubert’s Ave Maria, What a Wonderful World, and Over the Rainbowto all the neighbor island residents who suffered, and to the attorneys who helped, in Kokua Kauai and Kokua Puna. He finished by asking the audience to get in touch with their inner Freddie Mercury as he led us through a sing-along to Bohemian Rhapsody. While younger bar members happily sang as Jake played, some of us older folks lip-synced along, trying not to reveal our inner cluelessness.
Jake received a prolonged standing ovation.
Throughout the evening, David Hayakawa did an outstanding job as our master of ceremonies. Hawaii State Bar Foundation President Curtis Saiki thanked the members of the Bar for their support in serving the underprivileged, and announced this year's selected grantees.
The musical evening began with a moment of silence for our brothers and sisters of the HSBA who passed away during the year, followed by a moving performance of The Queen’s Prayer, beautifully sung by Dianne Brookins. It concluded with everyone joining hands and filling the ballroom with our stirring rendition of Hawai’i Aloha.
My deepest thanks to all who were present, as well as to those who could not make it, for your heartfelt support and contributions of good will, as we continue to demonstrate—as more than one person put it—that we are truly family.
Aloha and Mahalo Nui Loa.
- Howard K.K. Luke, HSBA President