From Pahoa to the Moon – Rest In Peace Neil Armstrong

Washburn to Debut “Earth Life: October Full Moon”

Gary Washburn, director of Grammy-winning Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band for 30+ years, will debut his original musical work, “Earth Life: October Full Moon” Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Peoples Theater in Honoka‘a.   Performed by Washburn, Alex Czerny, Doug Johnson and Noa Eads, the seven-part suite for two pianos and percussion will be “live recorded” by Emkay Records, Kent Washburn producer, for worldwide distribution.

Gary Washburn, Photo by Sarah Anderson

Essentially a jazz/fusion composition, Washburn uses various musical styles, including traditional and contemporary jazz, funk, pop, ethnic and in some passages, classical.

“I like to write ‘programmatic music,’ i.e., music that is inspired by non-musical ideas,” said Washburn. “Classical Impressionism is an example of programmatic music. I took the idea of mankind’s relationship to the Earth and came up with the titles. Then I began writing my musical impressions of the titles.”

Originally from Oklahoma, Washburn started playing professionally at age 16, touring in the summers with his brother Kent and their band, the “Shadow Lake Eight.” He graduated from Oklahoma State and traveled to University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to earn a Master’s Degree in music composition.  He also did doctoral work in Boston, and in 1976 attended the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire on an Aaron Copeland Fellowship, where he was inspired by a solar eclipse, and began writing what would be “Earth Life: October Full Moon.”

In 1978, he returned to Hawai‘i and began teaching music at Honoka‘a High School, while playing professionally with various groups island-wide, writing arrangements and composing original music.

“I wrote a suite called ‘A Life in a Day’ as a project to fulfill a National Endowment of The Arts Grant that was awarded me, and I performed it to fulfill a Hawai‘i State Foundation of the Arts Grant that was also awarded me,” said Washburn.   “I composed the music in Hilo specifically for the individuals (the group Justin Thyme) who performed the music, much in the same manner that Duke Ellington composed for his band.”  The music was recorded by Washburn and his brother Kent, and released by Milan Records.

Washburn’s new work, “Earth Life: October Full Moon,” will essentially complete the vision that began with “A Life in a Day” over 30 years ago.

During those 30 years, Washburn has been the driving force behind the award-winning Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band, an innovative music program that never sits still.  Last year, the Band received an award from the Grammy Foundation as one of 36 “Grammy Signature Schools,” out of 23,000 eligible nationwide.  In 2010, they won a NAMM Award (National Association of Music Merchandisers) as one of the best communities in the US for music education, and Gary earned a “Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award” from the National Society of High School Scholars.

The Band has performed on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were recognized by the State Legislature; they do a multi-concert tour of Oahu annually to celebrate “National Jazz Appreciation Month,” and their 12th CD has just been released.  His unique teaching style has built a professional reputation as one of the best music educators in the business.  Proficient on most instruments, Washburn is also in demand as a musician, playing with local bands and sitting in with visiting performers.

As a prelude to the “October Full Moon” premier, Gary Washburn, Brian McCree/bass, Bruce David/drums, Paul Lindbergh/tenor sax and flute and Doug Johnson/percussion and vibes will perform additional original music by Washburn.

The concert is a one-time chance to play a part in the creative experience, as the music will be live-recorded for worldwide release on EmKay Records, and will be available digitally on all DSP sites such as iTunes, Amazon, etc., and in CD format thru Amazon’s Disk On Demand program.

Admission to the concert is $10 adults, $7 kupuna, $5 keiki and students, available at the door.  For more information, visit or email


We… Hui for Health Screenings on the Big Island

WE… a hui for health, a program created in 2011 and based on Hawai’i values and local relationships, will be in 16 Big Island communities over the next month to give island residents greater access to health screenings and information to help them understand their role in improving their own health.

Lions receive retinal screening training. Photo courtesy of WE

WE events on the Big Island are made possible through the financial and materials support of many different health-related advocacy groups, government agencies, native Hawaiian health organizations, ‘Ohana Health Plan, Young Brothers and the Lions Clubs throughout Hawai’i, all working together to provide these free health screening events.     Events will be held at the following locations and dates:

  • Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center (near Choice Mart), Sunday, Aug 26, Full WE, including Vision Van,  9am-1pm, Vision Van ONLY, 1pm-4pm
  • Ocean View Farmers Market, Saturday, Sept 1, Full WE, including Vision Van, 8am–12noon
  • Ka’u Resource and Distance Learning Center,  Saturday, Sept 1, Full WE, including Vision Van,  2pm–6pm
  • Maku’u Market, Pahoa, Sunday, Sept 2, Full WE, including Vision Van, 7am–12noon
  • Hilo Bandstand, Friday, Sept 7, Full WE, including Vision Van, 8am-11am
  • Hilo Life Care Center,  Saturday, Sept 8, Full WE, including Vision Van, 8am–3pm
  • Hilo Wal-Mart ,  Sunday, Sept 9, Full WE, including Vision Van,  10am–2pm
  • Hawai`i County Fair, Hilo, Thursday, Sept 13, Vision Van ONLY,  6pm-10pm
  • North Hawaii Education and Research Center,  Friday, Sept 14, Full WE, including Vision Van,  10am–2pm, Vision Van ONLY,  9am-5pm
  • North Hawai`i Community Hospital, Waimea ,  Saturday, Sept 15, Full WE, including Vision Van,  11am–2pm, Vision Van ONLY, 9am-5pm
  • Waikoloa Shopping Center ,  Sunday, Sept 16, Full WE, including Vision Van, 10am–2pm, Vision Van ONLY,  9am–4pm
  • Hawi Banyan Tree , Tuesday, Sept 18, Vision Van ONLY,  9am-3pm
  • Honoka’a Gym, Saturday, Sept 22, Vision Van ONLY, 9am-5pm
  • Parker Ranch Center, Waimea , Sunday, Sept 23, Vision Van ONLY,  9am-5pm

Young Brothers is providing free  inter-island shipping of the Project Vision Hawaii vision van, thereby making these health screening events possible.

Other community partners who have made these special free programs possible include Hamakua Health Center, North Hawaii Community Hospital, Hui Malama Ola `Oiwi, the Department of Health office on the Big Island, Ka`u Resource and Distance Learning Center, Ka`u Hospital, Life Care Center, and many others.
Screenings WE provides include:
Retinal Screening on the Vision Van (Project Vision Hawaii, Lions Clubs of District 50 Lions Clubs International and numerous Optometrists and Ophthalmologists on every island)

  • Lung Function Testing – Spirometry – (Hawaii COPD Coalition)
  • Glucose and Blood Pressure Testing (American Diabetes Association, Entra Health Systems `Ohana Health Plan)
  • Take-Home Kidney Function Test (National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii)
  • Women’s Health and Breast Self-Examination training and Information (The Queen’s Medical Center, Women’s Health and Maternity Services)
  • Hepatitis Risk Assessment and Screening and Safe Tattoo Practices information (Hepatitis Support Network)
  • Hearing Testing and Learning Disabilities Information (Learning Disabilities Association of Hawai’i)
  • Smoking Cessation Counseling (America Lung Association)
  • Family Caregiver Counseling (The Caregiver Foundation of America, Hawaii Chapter)
  • Organ Donor Counseling (Legacy of Life Hawaii)
  • Mental Health Information, Peer Education, and Resource Publications (Community Alliance for Mental Health)
 Free Community Health Screenings:
  • Cancer – Issues with the diagnosis and treatment of Cancer (‘Imi Hale of Papa Ola Lokahi)
  • Medicare Education and assistance (Sage PLUS, Executive Office on Aging, Department of Health, State of Hawai’i)
  • The Department of Health is also offering information on Disaster Preparedness – “Plan 9” for sheltering in place provides a guide to help residents shelter-in-place in the event of an emergency.
  • For healthier eating habits, the DOH has Hawaii 5-2-1-0 providing o simple steps to healthy lifestyles for children and families.
  • Hui Malama Ola Na `Oiwi, Native Hawaiian Health Care for Hawai`i Island, will be providing nutrition education and tobacco cessation awareness education and displays.
Throughout 2012, “WE… a hui for Health” will offer 50 individual days of screening, including many held on Hawaiian Homelands.   WE will cover all six major Hawaiian Islands, providing services to at least 8,000 individuals in lower-income, rural areas of the state, and areas without sufficient medical resources.

Roseanne Barr “Why I am Running for President”

Big Island Mac Nut Farmer and former Hollywood star Roseanne Barr said this is why she is running for President of the United States:


3.9 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes the Big Island While Residents Sleep

I slept right through this one!

Magnitude 3.9
Location 19.013°N, 155.425°W
Depth 38.4 km (23.9 miles)
  • 18 km (11 miles) ESE (109°) from Naalehu, HI
  • 22 km (14 miles) SSE (165°) from Pahala, HI
  • 37 km (23 miles) ESE (106°) from Hawaiian Ocean View, HI
  • 81 km (50 miles) SW (222°) from Hawaiian Beaches, HI
  • 85 km (53 miles) SSW (205°) from Hilo, HI
  • 358 km (222 miles) SE (135°) from Honolulu, HI
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.7 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 0.8 km (0.5 miles)
Parameters Nph= 76, Dmin=15 km, Rmss=0.11 sec, Gp=212°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=1
Event ID hv60387251

Mahalo to the Community – Highway 130 Looks Good!

Community members came out today in force to volunteer their time to help clean up Highway 130 today in Puna here on the Big Island.

The group “Men of Pa’a” actually cleans a section of Highway 130 regularly and have officially adopted a section of the highway.

The Men of Pa’a is organized by “Bruddah Kuz” here in Puna and they do a lot of good work with the limited budget that they do have.

The Men of Pa’a

I lost count of how many “Adopt-a-Highway” bags that were filled with trash along the highway but I would say I must have seen at least over 300-500 bags of trash.

There were at least three police cars that assisted in keeping the volunteers safe so I’m glad that the county pitched in on this project.

Of course it wouldn’t be a community event w/out political candidates getting involved as I saw County Council Candidate Greggor Illagan rounding up his troops and getting involved in the clean up.

County Council Candidate Greggor Illagan getting his hands dirty

I’d like to thank all those that did come out… it really does make a difference in our community.