Page 2 - MidWeek - July 13, 2022
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         2 MIDWEEK JULY 13, 2022
     The Final Session
Let your thoughts carry you back to the birthplace of your truth.
     — Dodinsky
     LSo Many Choices
The saga of returning to the artist’s roots is a widespread tale and is as old as time. Many of my teachers and colleagues have taken that road home. It is also my story.
ots of people are running for lots of offices locally. This is due, in part, to mandated re- districting, which occurs every 10 years after
I was very far from home seven years ago, having trad- ed Oʻahu’s sunny beaches for Michigan’s snow-covered dunes. The five years of study- ing with Bright Sheng were coming to an end. A protégé of Leonard Bernstein and a MacArthur Fellow (among many honors), this conduc- tor-composer-performer’s music channeled his heritage and experience of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
ancient skyward-bound force reaching back and forward into time. Now embracing, and em- braced by, my ‘ohana, I at last felt the mana of my teacher’s parting words. I had found my place, identity and purpose; I had found my way home.
Michael-Thomas Foumai lectures at the Academy for Creative Media at University of Hawai‘i – West O’ ahu. His music spans the commercial to the avant-garde and has been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Sympho- ny Orchestra, American Com- posers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra.
Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
a national census has taken place. Every state Senate seat is up for grabs this year, whereas normally only half of those seats come up for election every cou- ple of years, since senators serve four-year terms and terms are traditionally staggered.
With so many choices and yet so many issues to confront, what’s a conscientious citizen to do? Well, No. 1 is vote! Since you have a couple of weeks before you’ll receive your ballot in the mail or opt to go to a voting site, now is the time to ask questions, dig deeper, probe. Because everyone running will happily and boldly tell you what he or she wants to do and what needs to get done, but the devil, as they say, is always in the details. The vital question to possibly ask to help you make your selection process simpler is to find out just how candidates will do what they say they plan or want to do.
The Raise Hawaiki show premiered in 2019. PHOTO COURTESY KAIPO KIAHA
Back in Honolulu, I joined the faculty at the University of Hawaiʻi and began composing a choral-symphony to celebrate Hōkūleʻa’s Mālama Honua homecoming. I thought (out of shame for my ignorance) that the necessary research of look- ing into my Polynesian roots would be uncomfortable. The reality was astonishing and em- powering. The sheer persever- ance in reclaiming Polynesian wayfinding was breathtaking. The more I learned, the more
Growing our economic base beyond tourism, in- creasing affordable housing, “the keiki are our fu- ture,” getting rail costs under control, decreasing homelessness and making sure others in need don’t fall through the cracks, improving our education system, dealing with an aging population, keeping younger generations from moving away, securing a greener future, indigenous rights, mitigating coastal erosion, encouraging entrepreneurship, finding one more use for duct tape ... the list goes on and on. Just like two years ago, and two years before that.
In our final session, Bright did not talk about technical things but asked about my fu- ture plans. I floundered, mum- bling awkwardly. In response,
I learned that there was a role for me in the Polynesian stories to be told. Setting to music the words of Nainoa Thompson and Eddie Aikau produced Raise Hawaiki. Its March 2019 premiere brought together 10 institutions statewide with the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orches- tra. The performance marked my true homecoming and an awakening. Triumphant horns opened the symphony, their
he encouraged me to look inward, toward home: “Your music needs to say something unique to you.”
New Century Schoolbook bold (scaled H 73.6)
assertively compelling was the music being called forth.
with Michael- Thomas Foumai
             Pandemic be damned, many issues have been tossed around like an overdone Fourth of July burger on the grill for years, or decades. If you’re happy with your voting choices, then your job is done. If you believe that change is good, OK, but just remember, change is good only if it’s good change. Change for change’s sake is an iffy proposition, at best.
    So that brings us back to you, the voter, and your current opportunity to ask for or research details from candidates (or their websites) on how they, in 2022 and beyond, are going to make those hard, but nec- essary, decisions that will help to resolve issues that seem to have stacked up like rush hour traffic on H-1 heading leeward at 5 p.m. every day.
        Think about it ...

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