Kahilu Theatre Sunset Concerts Kick Off at the Auberge Mauna Lani

The past two Sunday evenings have been absolutely magical. A month ago, the management of the Mauna Lani – Auberge Resort Collection generously offered the just-opened CanoeHouse restaurant and lawn to the Kahilu Theatre for a sunset concert series. While we are still restricted from having concerts per se, the Hawaii County Mayorʻs office concurred that an outdoor fundraiser would be allowed under current Covid-19 restrictions, as long as it adhered to physical distancing requirements and limited number of attendees.

Kahilu Theatre reached out to Big Island resident artists and presented Brother Noland and Mark Yamanaka on two successive Sunday evenings. The crowd could choose between lawn seating nearer the stage, or enjoy a five-course tasting menu at the restaurant.

Brother Noland performs at sunset

Brother Nolan performs at sunset at the oceanfront CanoeHouse on the grounds of the Mauna Lani – Auberge Resort

Blossoming of Partnerships between the Kohala Coast Resorts and Waimeaʻs Kahilu Theatre

As my devoted readers may remember, I have sponsored the Kahiluʻs “Gold” concert series for the past five years. Much like the current sunset events, the Gold Concerts take place outside of the Theatre itself, in private homes at the Kohala Coast Resorts, and tickets sell at a higher price point with proceeds going to the Kahilu Theatreʻs Arts Education program.

Auction at Kahilu Gold event

This year I got pressed into service for a live auction to raise additional funds at the two Kahilu Gold Concert events

I am passionate about the way the Theatre brings performing arts into the schools as well as offering classes and performance opportunities on stage. But right now with doors closed since March, general operating support will keep the foundation afloat to offer a reduced season of live performances for our community (knock on wood) back in the Theatre for the 2020-2021 Season.

Meanwhile, the Sunset Concert series at Mauna Lani is going to continue as a monthly event, and the Mauna Kea Resort, which has been a faithful sponsor of Kahilu Theatre season after season, is eager to open its doors to artists and events as well.

Adapting Live Performance to the “New Normal”

Although the majority of the attendees at the two recent fundraising events were in the over-60 higher risk category, the protocol was impeccable and everyone seemed to feel comfortable with their safety. The Auberge is not open to the public so the Kahilu Theatre fundraiser attendees, Mauna Lani staff, and of course the artists and techies, were the only people on site. Brother Noland waved his room key at the audience and joked about being the first and only guest. We had our temperatures taken before being allowed to park our cars. Tables and lawn chairs were pre-assigned, properly distanced, and socializing between groups was discouraged.

Physically distanced lawn chairs at Mauna Lani Kahilu Sunset concert

Physical distancing with assigned seating on the lawn provided a level of comfort for attendees once they removed masks.

The sound system is excellent, the sunset is of course amazing, the artists were so happy to be playing for a live audience that they just kept going twice as long as they were hired for. The menu was different each evening and kudos to Chef Matt and his wife and manager Yuko and the entire staff, mainly long time employees familiar to those of us who have been regular CanoeHouse patrons over the years.

It feels soooooo good to be outside listening to music in that setting. I plan to be back for the next event featuring Blayne Asing on August 9th, and some of my favorite clients who recently bought an investment property have agreed to join me for a closing dinner.  By the way, if you canʻt be here in person yet, the events are streamed live on Kahilu Theatreʻs Facebook page.

See you there!

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