Hawaii Performing Arts Festival Kicks Off New Year With Ukulele Superstar, Jake Shimabukuro

Hawaii Performing Arts Festival Kicks Off New Year With Ukulele Superstar, Jake Shimabukuro

For fifteen seasons, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) has continued to bring world-class music to Hawai'i Island. The festival, which was founded in 2005, has established an international reputation as a premiere training and performance program for aspiring young artists worldwide. Each season, HPAF assembles an exceptional international roster of artists who offer a wide range of performances to the Big Island community.

In preparation for its 2019 Summer Festival - HPAF's Fifteenth Anniversary Season - Executive Director Justin John Moniz welcomes ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro back to the Big Island to kick off this year's momentous occasion. Praised by the New York Times as a "master of the ukulele," Jake Shimabukuro is no stranger to Big Island audiences. His heartfelt and captivating performances have cultivated quite the following both locally and worldwide.

"We are really thrilled to be presenting Jake again this season," says Moniz. "Jake is one of the most exceptional and innovative ukulele players of our time, and has agreed to return for our annual scholarship fundraiser. All proceeds from his performance will assist aspiring young artists from Hawai'i Island, as well as those worldwide, to study and perform during HPAF's 2019 Summer Festival."

Last season, HPAF awarded $82,275 in scholarships to local, national, and international aspiring young artists. For the first time in the festival's history, 58% of students received scholarship and financial assistance to offset the cost of attending the festival. More specifically, HPAF offered assistance to 100% of local Hawaiian talent. Nine local young singers from Hawai'i Island, studied, trained, and performed alongside HPAF's internationally acclaimed roster of faculty artists.

"There really is no better artist who better represents our mission than Jake," says Moniz. "His commitment to the local community, music education, and empowering our youth are the ideals on which our festival was founded some fifteen years ago. For the past decade and a half, HPAF's programming has been a testament to that, both through our extensive community outreach endeavors and educational initiatives across Hawai'i Island."

Hawaii Performing Arts Festival will present Jake Shimabukuro on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 2:00pm at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort [62-100 Kauna'ao Dr, Waimea, HI 96743]. Tickets are $85.00 (General) and $100.00 (Premium) and are available for purchase by visiting: http://www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org/upcoming-events/

This event is made possible by the generous support from The Holland Foundation and The Westin Hapuna Beach. For additional information, please contact jjmoniz@hawaiipaf.org.

ABOUT Jake Shimabukuro

Almost everyone in Hawaii has strummed a ukulele at one time or another. But at the age of 14, Jake Shimabukuro realized that he was doing something a little different with the four-stringed instrument - OK, a lot different.

Shimabukuro's wholly unique approach to the ukulele started early. As a youngster growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, Shimabukuro started playing the instrument at the age of four, learning the basics from his mother, Carol, and then developing his craft further by studying the likes of musical masters such as Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon. As he matured, Shimabukuro also found inspiration from guitar players, drummers, pianists, and singers. Even athletes helped fuel the intensity of his artistic fire.

In 2005, Shimabukuro's touring career really came to life with a video on YouTube. "I didn't even know what YouTube was at the time, so I was totally surprised when people started telling me they'd seen a video of me playing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps,'" he says. "Before I got a chance to check it out myself, the video had gone viral and a lot of music industry folks seemed to know about it. It was crazy!" Shimabukuro's deeply beautiful and original take on George Harrison's love ballad, one which captured colors and moods never associated with the ukulele before, opened the floodgates - now legions of new music lovers had to hear this instrumental marvel - and the 2006 release of Gently Weeps (produced by Mac McAnally), which mixed his own originals with equally adventurous versions of "Ave Maria" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" was an unqualified success.

Shimabukuro's records have topped the Billboard World Music Charts on numerous occasions, and as a live performer he has become one of the hottest tickets around. He's played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House, and has dazzled audiences at music festivals including Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock Festival.

Along with his tremendous professional achievements, Shimabukuro's personal life is filled with riches: He's a loving husband and proud father of two boys. While balancing career with family, he also remains firmly rooted in his commitment to community, frequently performing at schools in Hawaii and overseas, urging youngsters to find their passion and live drug-free.

HPAF is a non-profit organization whose missions is to offer a world-class music training and performance program in the inspirational setting of Hawaii, and to improve the education and elevate the spirit of all who participate, especially the local community.

Now preparing for its fifteenth season on the Big Island, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival brings together talented young musicians from Hawaii, the U.S., Canada, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Europe to Hawaii Island between late June and late July to study, grow and perform with professional musical performer/teachers. The results are astonishing.

During the 2019 Festival - June 24 through July 21 - more than fifteen live concerts and fully staged performances will be presented, giving the students invaluable experience and the privilege of appearing on stage with some of the top musical artists in their field. Performances are held around Hawaii Island.

Between Summer Festivals, HPAF offers its High Season Series, featuring exceptional performances by visiting artists like Jake Shimabukuro, ULTIMI - Three Tenors, Amy Hanaiali'i, as well as the popular Stradivarius concerts. The festival's major benefit concert, held each winter, features a celebrity performer and raises funds for scholarships and festival activities. HPAF's Annual Online Auction also provides much needed financial support.

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