A bit of Hawaii comes to New Jersey in An Evening with HAPA

Bill Wynne returns to his childhood home of Blackwood to open for HAPA
Bill Wynne returns to his childhood home of Blackwood to open for HAPA

    The beautiful sounds and sights of the Hawaiian Islands come to Camden County College’s Dennis Flyer Theatre, in An Evening with HAPA*, Saturday, March 8, 8 pm. Comprised of New Jersey native Barry Flanagan, Ron Kuala`au, bassist, singer Tarvin Makia, and award-winning hula performer and hula dancer Heali`i Stanley, HAPA burst onto the Hawaiian music scene in 1993, sweeping the local Hawaiian Music Awards and distinguishing themselves by combining soft pop and folk rock with Hawaiian Slack Key guitar and soaring melodies sung in the native island language.

            HAPA’s self-entitled debut CD released in 1993 was the first Hawaiian music CD to be referred to as “World Music” by Billboard Magazine. All follow up CD releases have debuted in the Top Ten of Billboard Magazine World Music Chart. Their music has appeared in countless national TV shows and feature films, and the group was showcased in a PBS documentary hosted by Peter Fonda. The group’s majestic tones of oli (chant) and mele (song), along with the elegant movements of the sacred hula and the exhilarating and innovative sounds of virtuoso slack key guitar have been called a “feast for the eyes, ears, and soul.”

            “I’m thrilled with the opportunity to perform and share HAPA’s music in my native state of New Jersey. Even though I fell in love with the music and culture of Hawaii and make Hawaii my home, New Jersey is always close to my heart,” said Flanagan.

            Opening for HAPA is another musician with local roots, Bill Wynne. Wynne grew up in Blackwood, NJ immersed in Hawaiian music and culture, though not of Hawaiian descent.

            Best known and awarded for his exceptional skill in the traditional Hawaiian art of falsetto singing, Wynne also plays the ukulele, slack key guitar, and steel guitar. He will release a new CD this summer and will make his second appearance on the “Pakele Live” TV series which will be broadcast via the internet from Honolulu.

            “I am so honored to open for a group that has repeatedly revolutionized Hawaiian music over the last 20 years. And I am proud to return to my hometown to perform Hawaiian music for friends and family there for the first time since I moved away in 1982,” said Wynne, who resides in Ewing, NJ.

            The concert will also feature participation from audience members from hula schools throughout the region who will take the stage in a special number with HAPA.

            Mainstage Center for the Arts presents this rare opportunity for a local audience to enjoy authentic Hawaiian music by both HAPA and Bill Wynne. The performance takes place in the newly-renovated, fully-accessible Dennis Flyer Theatre, Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ. For tickets, visit www.mainstage.org,  or call (855) 936-2467, ext 3.Tickets range from $25 to $35.This event is sponsored by Comegno Law Group, P.C.


*HAPA’s name comes from the Hawaiian word for half. Another definition is a person of mixed South Pacific Islander ancestry. If an individual has one parent whom is a South Pacific Islander, and one parent whom is of an ethnicity outside of Pacific Islander, they would generally be considered “Hapa.” HAPA, the musical duo, consists of one man, Ron Kuala au, of South Pacific ancestry and Barry Flanagan, from New Jersey. For more information about HAPA, please visit http://www.hapa.com/


Mainstage Center for the Arts, head quartered at Academy Hall, Blackwood, Gloucester Township, with performances located at Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ is committed to make the arts experience enjoyable for all its patrons. In an effort to make the shows, concerts, events, workshops, classes, and offices accessible to as many as possible, Mainstage offers many services for patrons requiring assistance. For anyone in need of assistance, please notify the office at (855) 963-2467(855) 963-2467(855) 963-2467, ext.3, at the time of purchasing tickets, or at least five days prior to the event you are attending.

Mainstage Center for the Arts, the parent program for Summer Stage, is a 501 © (3) non-profit organization committed to providing a creative, vibrant, and nurturing environment for youth and adults.  This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program is also made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Cultural Trust.


Photo Captions


Ron Kuala`au and Barry Flanagan, of HAPA bring their distinct Hawaiian sound to Camden County College’s Dennis Flyer Theatre, Satuday, March 8, 8 p.m. For tickets, visit www.mainstage.org or call (855) 936-2467, ext. 3.


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Bob Kola February 22, 2014 at 06:51 PM
HAPA does a Hawaiian influenced version of U2's Pride (In The Name Love) that I really like as well as a more traditional version of Eric Clapton's Lady In Red. Also, on my iPod by HAPA: Haleakala Ku Hanohano, Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai, Ku'u Lei-Ku'u Ipo, and Mo'i 'O Lili'u. Hope I can make it to the show.
Ed Fiscella February 24, 2014 at 08:51 AM
Bob, if you have HAPA on your iPod, I most certainly hope that you can attend the show. Nothing like seeing and hearing them live. If you can't see them in Hawaii, the next best thing is bring a little bit of Hawaii here. I heard them perform a fabulous version of John Lennon's IMAGINE. It's really a concert that everyone can enjoy. Hope to see you there.


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