There was a lot to celebrate at Kawananakoa Middle School Saturday night, and it did so with a concert featuring Kalapana.
Kawananakoa in lower Nuuanu, is celebrating its 90th anniversary and the grand opening of its new, state-funded, $15 million concert hall that seats more than 600 and black-box theater that can seat about 100.
There’s a state-of-the-art sound system and air conditioning.
One lawmaker who represents the area says the effort to get a new auditorium spanned decades.
“It’s really great, when I was at Kawananakoa in 9th grade, we actually started to help the renovation of the auditorium,” said Hawaii State Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland. “We actually had a fundraiser 40 years ago, so finally after that time we’ve been able to do it. The legislature, the people of Hawaii, have contributed to this wonderful place.”
The school’s band director Jason Chin says the vision is for community events to be held here, as well as school events.
“This is like a dream come true, not just for myself, but for so many students who passed through these doors,” Chin said. “Myself, a former student of the school, so it’s exciting to see this place really come alive.”
He adds the school is still fundraising for moveable seating platforms so it can re-conform the theater as a performance dictates.
The middle school’s old auditorium was demolished in 2015.