Hawaii’s first-ever high school virtual honor band

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A total of 50 students from 24 different high schools across four islands came together virtually — after over a year with no in-person band performances — to finally create music.

These musicians were brought together by the University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa Bands.

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“And while our music teachers have come up with remarkable teaching accommodations, we wanted to provide an opportunity for young musicians throughout the state to come together and meet composers, work with our applied studio faculty, get to know some wonderful pieces, and make music together through a virtual platform,” says Jeffrey Boeckman, UH director of bands.

Each student recorded their parts solo and the clips were edited together by local company Oʻahu Films.

“I think we’ve all been discovering the power of the arts and the power of music in our own lives over this past year, most notably in its absence,” says Boeckman. “And goodness, for us not to have access to that, that has been one of our goals is to find a way to connect with other humans through music, even if it’s virtually.”

Award-winning artist Raʻiatea Helm even spoke and performed with the young musicians to share the importance of Hawaiian band music and its connection to Hawaii’s history.

“You know, it’s our kuleana to look at experiences and chose how to move, how to grow,” says Helm. “And a song like Kaulana Nā Pua, it may not affect them yet in a way where it would create this powerful resonance, but that is the beginning of their journey.”

These virtual performances were made possible thanks in part to the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.  

To watch both of the band’s performances, click here.  

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