This weekend was such a blur with so many things going on. Graduation at Konawaena Saturday morning. Helping to produce the 40th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and emceeing. 4:30am the next morning, being out at the 5th Annual Honolulu Ekiden. Celebrating the wonderful career and legacy of Coach Dave Shoji as hopefully gets to enjoy retirement (Canʻt wait to see him in the crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center enjoying with Mary). It was an exhausting weekend, and it was the busiest weekend of the year for me.
Iʻm finally sitting down to reflect on the wonderful award bestowed upon me this past Saturday night; Itʻs the “Aloha Is” award given out by the Keale family in the name of Actor, Entertainer, Teacher,Beachboy, Radio Announcer “Uncle” Moe Keale. Hawaii Recording Artist, Fixture on the original Hawaii Five-0. He was also a radio announcer on KCCN 1420 AM, where I got my first radio start in Honolulu.
Uncle Moe was 100% Hawaiian and came from Niʻihau. He would start entertaining in Waikiki, then the Tropical Club in my hometown of Kailua-Kona. He was recruited for a New York City gig. He was with a part of the legendary Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii. He would win Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards on his own with the solo releases that would follow after he left the Sons of Hawaii. He would be a “hands-on” co-owner of the Lomi Shipʻs Keiki Waʻa at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki and Windward Mall.
After suffering a near-fatal heart attack in April 2001, he would go on to raise $260,000 for the American Heart Association to have portable defibrillators strategically positioned around the state.
I know that this award is given to those that give back to the community and our Hawaii Music Industry. The past awardees sit on a committee that nominates and selects by ballot, just like the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards of a general ballot, and a final ballot. Some of those on the committee include Melveen Leed, Kuʻuipo Kumukahi, Haunani Apoliona, Carole Kai, George Kahumoku, Brother Noland, Nina Kealiʻiwahamana, Jerry Santos, Kimo Kahoano, Frank Delima, Aunty Genoa Keawe and Eddie Kamae; just to name a few.
I am deeply humbled by this honor and was in complete surprise that I was named. On the night of the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, only my family and myself had no clue. I guess I should feel good in knowing my crew can keep a secret if needed 😛
Itʻs also been explained to me that I will join this committee to “elect” the next recipient and will do so for the rest of my life, to which I am ecstatic and feel blessed and privileged to do.
I also need to mention this is not a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award even though I have been congratulated by many for having “won a hoku”; I have not recorded a song or an album; but to me this award means so much; it is my equivalent to a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award, given by my colleagues and cherished by me. (and if youʻve heard me sing, you probably already know Iʻm a LOOOONGG ways away from ever getting a NHH award LOL)
I am honored to be in this wonderful group of people that continue to do great things for our community in so many ways; and also to continue my giving back as well.