Over the years, the HCC has relinquished its exclusivity to those who could afford it's pricey entrance fee. Today, it embraces a commitment to commuity by offering a jewel of an event as the center piece of it's three day long extravaganza, which is free to the public. It is this commitment to inclusion of all the people of Hawaii which will insure it's success in the future, and it is to this day I turn my attention for my review.
Good fortune smiled upon me as I entered the vast prism-like structure that is the Hawaii Convention Center, for I bumped into one of the "movers and shakers" of the Hawaiian environmental community (Annette Kaohelaulii) who pointed me in all the right directions and then told me she would hunt up VIPs for me to interview. I didn't see her again but I made the acquaintance of a lot of wonderful, caring people. At an event like this, anyone who shows up is a VIP in my book.
We rode the escalator up to the 4thfloor, and stepped into a spacious, sun-dappled expanse filled with the rich and melodious tones of the afternoon's first entertainer (Kawika Kahiopo) - a real veteran of the Hawaiian music scene - charting 30 years of performance in the islands. Kawika soloed on acoustic guitar, alternating between familiar covers and Hawaiian songs. As I listened to him throughout the afternoon, I noted he often made the covers sound more lush and beautiful than the original renditions, including tender versions of "Teach Your Children Well" and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". The announcer noted that not only is he a Na Hoku Hanohano award winner, but a community leader, on the board of both the North Shore Land Trust and the Kokua Foundation.
Kawika Kahiapo on Utube - "Life In These Islands" (Song of the Year Composer)
Not long after my arrival, I found myself literally rubbing elbows with that maven of cetacean murals, Wyland (he couldn't shake hands because they were wet with paint). His part in the festivities was to help the children create an ocean mural; sort of an unfolding performance art piece to entertain the keikis and onlookers, alike. He informed me that he has lived in Hawaii for thirty years now and is enjoying the "quiet life" on the North Shore.
Looking around at all that was going on, I suddenly felt humbled by the task of presenting an article that would encompass the vastness of this event. The vibe was tranquil, with small groups of people drifting among the exhibits, and I followed suit. There were several main booths out in the open area, and (I was later to discover) many more within the adjacent conference halls.
The first booth I drifted past was the National Park Service, the center-piece being a touch screen to educate viewers of Hawaii's park status among the Nation's Parks in areas like landscaping dynamics, birds, fish, climate, etc. and beau coup brochures, maps and graphs for the taking.