“The festival this summer has something for everybody,” says Genette Freeman, executive director. “A wide variety of music will be offered. We have an all-American brass concert, jazz piano with Phil Kadet, sacred music, and more. And, we’re serving apple strudel at our two German and Austrian concerts!”
Created in 2005 by Genette and now Music Director Val Underwood, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the appreciation and advancement of classical music and musical theater. They do this by bringing 20+ world-class instructors to the campus of Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, to teach intensive courses in singing, directing, piano, and strings.
Students come from all over the country, as auditions are held in major cities—New York, Toronto, Oklahoma City and Los Angeles—and competition is fairly stiff. Financial aid is available to qualified Hawaii Island applicants. HPAF has over the years brought over 450 young artists from around the world, contributing over $3 million to the local economy.
An important part of the education program, and to raise funds, HPAF faculty, guest artists and students present a series of recitals, concerts and stage productions, available to the public throughout the Festival. Performances take place through July in Hilo, Waimea, and the Kohala Coast.
“This year is also special because of an exciting new event, ‘Opera for Kids,’” says Gennette. Plus, we have two world famous operas, ‘Don Giovanni’ and ‘The Mikado,’ and one not-so-famous, ‘Suor Angelica,’ a beautiful and touching short opera by Puccini.”