The Maui Pops Orchestra introduced more than 1,000 elementary school children to the world of classical music at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Oct. 11.
The orchestra, led by conductor Jim Durham, helped the children relate to orchestral music by using different instruments to create sounds and music related to weather and the ocean. Special guest Uluwehi Guerrero, a well-known Maui performer and kumu hula, gave a short presentation about the importance of the natural elements to Hawaiian culture and how they connect to Hawaiian music and poetry.
A study guide provided to teachers before the concert allowed them to prepare their students to get the most out of the experience and to process it after the concert. Much national research shows that arts education is an important part of early learning, yet most Hawaii public school students receive little or no education in music. Without these concerts, some of these children might never receive a proper introduction to such music.
Students attending the concert were from Kahului, Kula, Pomaikai, Princess Nahienaena and Haiku elementary schools; Maui High and King Kekaulike high schools; and Emmanuel Lutheran, Sacred Hearts, Carden Academy, Kamehameha Schools, ROOTS and Maui Preparatory Academy.
Funding for the concerts came from the Atherton Family Foundation, the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, the Jose L. Romero Memorial Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation and the Maui Pops Orchestra.