Famous Hawaii musicians come together for Kona Choral Society benefit concert

  • Alx Kawakami, Johnny Valentine, Blayne Asing and Henry Kapono will be performing together the songs of C&K on Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort to benefit Kona Choral Society. (Blayne Asing/Courtesy Photo)
  • Henry Kapono, Johnny Valentine, Blayne Asing and Alx Kawakami will be performing the songs of C&K on Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort to benefit Kona Choral Society. (Henry Kapono/Courtesy Photo)

KAILUA-KONA — Four Hawaii music stars will align this weekend for the benefit of West Hawaii’s own group of accomplished singers.

Henry Kapono, Johnny Valentine, Blayne Asing and Alx Kawakami will be performing the songs of Kapono’s former band, Cecilio &Kapono (C&K), at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Royal Kona Resort. The one-time event is a benefit concert for the Kona Choral Society, a nonprofit choir made up of over 100 singers from Hawaii Island.

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Kapono already makes a monthly trek to the Royal Kona Resort to perform, and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring his friends from Oahu over to help his friends in the Kona Choral Society.

“We’ve been wanting to bring the songs of C&K to Kona, and it’s a great opportunity,” Kapono said. “It will be a great night, all the songs that people love and that we love. And coming in with Blayne, Johnny and Alx, it just puts everything into a new perspective because they sound amazing. The whole group together, it sounds like a record.”

Kapono has won multiple Na Hoku Hanohano awards, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for Best Hawaiian Music Album. He was co-founder of popular Hawaiian music duo Cecilio &Kapono, and has had a solo career since the 1980s.

As the leader of Saturday’s group, Kapono has brought the musicians together before to support good causes throughout Hawaii.

“We just love to do those kinds of things that Henry supports. That’s how we support him,” Asing said. “And it’s always fun to give back to smaller organizations.”

Asing already has an impressive resume for a young artist, including the 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano award for Most Promising Artist. Valentine and Kawakami are also well- known musicians with many years of experience under their belt.

“I think it’s more or less a testament to the Kona Choral Society to be able to garner the support of these musicians,” Asing said. “I think it’s such a wonderful thing that we can all participate in something like this.”

Valentine said the group wants to support organizations like Kona Choral Society so that nonprofits in Hawaii can continue to succeed. He said whenever the group comes together to play, “it’s like magic.”

“I wish the people could actually feel what we feel,” Valentine said. “If you’re just in the audience, you’re just seeing the outside to what’s going on. But when we’re on stage, and we hear the harmonies and we’re trying to replicate the record, this magic goes on in my brain. It’s like euphoria.”

Kona Choral Society rehearsals are Wednesday evenings at the Kealakehe Intermediate School’s band room, and no audition is necessary to join. The organization typically plays two concerts a year, one in December and one in the spring, and because they are a nonprofit, they rely on donations and events such as the one Saturday night to keep going.

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“That’s why we’re given the gift to play music. It’s not just a job, it’s something we should be able to share with everyone,” Kawakami said. “If it helps benefit something like the Kona Choral Society, that’s our duty to make it happen. So these kinds of benefits are always a yes in my book.”

Info: Tickets for “The Songs of C&K: A Benefit for Kona Choral Society” are $75 for VIP seating and $45 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at konachoralsociety.org.