KPO features Hawaii’s unstoppable youth in ‘En Pointe Brilliance’

  • From left, Davan Sagara, Isabella Liu and Kiana Kawahara. (Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra/Courtesy Photo)

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO) continues its 2018-19 concert season with “En Pointe Brilliance” at the Kahilu Theatre at 4 p.m. Sunday. The concert features performances by the winners of KPO’s annual Madeline Schatz-Harris Youth Concerto Competition.

Accompanied by the full Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra, second-time winner Isabella Liu’s expressive rendition of Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterful “Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major,” op. 15, mvt. 1; flutist Kiana Kawahara’s performance of Cecile Chaminade’s rhapsodic, romantic “Concertino for Flute and Orchestra,” op. 107; and trumpeter Davan Sagara’s energetic, exciting version of “Trumpet Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra,” a showpiece for trumpeters by Alexander Arutunian, will make this an event not to be missed. Also on the program are Amilcare Ponchielli’s whimsical “Dance of the Hours” and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” (suite), Op. 20a.


Joining the orchestra on stage during “En Pointe Brilliance” are dancers from West Hawaii Dance Theatre &Academy, as well as guest principal dancers Shaina Leisbson and Joseph La Chance, who will perform during the Ponchielli and Tchaikovsky pieces.

Maya Calilio, one of West Hawaii Dance Theatre &Academy’s students, wears a double hat, as she will perform both as a dancer and as a violinist in the production. Calilio is a sophomore at the Makua Lani Christian Academy in Kailua-Kona.

Leibson has had an over 15-year career as a professional ballet dancer. She has been a dancer with several companies including Alberta Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Ballet San Jose where she performed for eight years. Leibson was a soloist dancer with Ballett im Revier in Germany and spent five seasons as a principal dancer with Bay Pointe Ballet which was based in the San Francisco area.

La Chance’s performance highlights include: Von Rothsbart in Balanchine’s Swan Lake, the Third Regiment in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Le Corsaire pas de deux, Dracula in W. Earle Smith’s Dracula and Sugar Plum Cavalier in W. Earle Smith’s Nutcracker.

Choreography for the production is by West Hawaii Dance Theatre’s founder and artistic director Virginia Holte, assistant director, Midori Satoh, and instructor Ann Marie Pargett.

“En Pointe Brilliance” is the second collaboration between the KPO and West Hawaii Dance Theatre this season, as members of KPO provided music for West Hawaii Dance Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” in December.


After getting to know Holte and learning about her studio’s mission to provide education and training for students of multiple dance and theatre disciplines, Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra artistic director Brian Dollinger programmed this concert specifically to create an opportunity for this type of collaborative performance.

Tickets for “En Pointe Brilliance” are $50/$40 /$30/$15 and may be purchased online at, or through the Kahilu Theatre box office by calling 885-6868, or visiting in person at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, Hawaii 96743.