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Grammy Foundation Award Winning Honoka’a High School Jazz Band at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani invites the community to its first annual Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert on Friday, March 10, 6-7 p.m. The event features the musical stylings of nationally recognized, Honoka’a High School Jazz Band.

Under the direction of Gary Washburn, a dedicated teacher, accomplished jazz artist, the band is considered one of the top in the nation. The ensemble consists of advanced music students who uphold a long tradition of excellence at Honoka’a High and Intermediate Schools.

The Jazz Band has played on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” and opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were recognized by the State Legislature. They do a yearly multi-concert tour of Oahu to celebrate National Jazz Appreciation Month, and their 14th CD (an annual fundraiser) has just been released. In 2011, they received a national Grammy Signature Schools Award.

The Moonlight Mele Jazz Concert at The Shops at Mauna Lani is free, and all are welcome.  For more information, visit www.shopsatmaunalani.com, or call (808) 885-9501.

Honoka’a Musician Gary Washburn to be Inducted Into Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame

As members of the legendary 60’s dance band, “The Shadow Lake Eight,” Gary Washburn, Music Director of award-winning Honoka‘a High School (HHS) Jazz Band, son Mocha Washburn, an HHS alumni, and brother Kent of Los Angeles are set to be inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on November 16, 2013.  Following the induction, the band will perform in concert at The Jazz Depot in Tulsa.

Kent and Gary Washburn at the premier of Gary's original music, "Earth Life: October Full Moon," in Honokaa -- Sarah Anderson Photography.

Kent and Gary Washburn at the premier of Gary’s original music, “Earth Life: October Full Moon,” in Honokaa — Sarah Anderson Photography.

A family musical journey that began in Oklahoma and traveled across the country, the Washburn’s have made names for themselves individually and together—as educator, composer, producer, record executive and superlative musicians—over the last 50 years.

Gary Washburn

Gary Washburn joined The Shadow Lake Eight in 1962 at the age of 15 when he was still in high school.  After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Music, he received a Masters degree from University of Hawai‘i, and pursued a Doctorate in Music at Boston University.  He worked in Los Angeles as a writer/arranger for Motown, then moved back to the Island of Hawai‘i where he became a composer, musician and school teacher.

His award-winning concept of high school band is unique, geared toward teaching students how to become popular music performers, and many have moved into the entertainment industry.  In 2010, Gary was awarded the “Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award” and in 2011 his program received an award from the Grammy Foundation for its unique and outstanding band program.

“I don’t do marching bands,” said Washburn. “What good is that going to be for musically inclined students in this day and age?  I teach them how to compete in today’s real music market—Rock and Roll.”  In 2013, Washburn was named “A Living Hawaiian Treasure” by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i, and proclaimed by the Hawai‘i State Senate.

Even with his extensive education, Gary attributes his successes as an educator and performer to the years he spent playing with the Shadow Lake Eight. “That was my real education and what I use as the basis to teach kids the real value of music,” said Washburn, who resides and teaches in Honoka‘a with wife Linaka Morton-Washburn.

Mocha Washburn

Son Mocha is the latest addition to The Shadow Lake Eight, joining with them in 2013 for a reunion concert in Ponca City in June.  With early musical training from his father, Mocha played in the HHS Jazz Band until his graduation in 1996.

Mocha Washburn will join father and uncle in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.  Photo courtesy Kent Washburn

Mocha Washburn will join father and uncle in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy Kent Washburn

He attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, graduating with a degree in Philosophy and a Music minor in 2000.  He then went to Hollywood and attended the prestigious Guitar Institute of Technology at Musicians Institute for two years, graduating with honors and receiving the Tommy Tedesco Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Student.  As his personal preference is live performance, as opposed to studio work, Mocha eventually moved to Austin, Texas, known as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” where he plays with various local groups and performs regularly as a solo artist at numerous venues.

Kent Washburn

Brother Kent Washburn joined The Shadow Lake Eight in the fall of 1960, and remained with the group, functioning as the leader from 1962 through 1967.  He then began traveling, playing in various lounge acts in such places as the Stardust in Las Vegas, and Harrah’s Club in Reno and Lake Tahoe.  He eventually became a successful record producer, cutting artists for RCA (Charles Drain and a girls group called The Love Set), Warner Bros (The Hypnotics), and Motown (Hi Inergy, Major Lance).  He hit pay dirt with Hi Inergy when they topped the R&B charts in 1977 and their album “Turnin’ On” achieved Gold Record Status in 1978.

Kent left Motown in 1979 and started a Gospel label with a gentleman named Philip Nicholas.  That label was called Command Records, and through the years garnered Billboard’s Album of the Year Award (Gospel) on the album “Dedicated”, recorded by the group Nicholas.  His productions also received three Grammy Nominations, (“Dedicated” by the group Nicholas, This Is My Story” by Vernessa Mitchell, and “Worthy” by Rodney Friend.)  He is married to Barbara, has a daughter, Sandy and a granddaughter, Taylor.

Kent currently lives in Los Angeles and works for Milan Entertainment in LA as Senior Vice President of Finance and Royalties, and is currently working with Soul Intention Records in the United Kingdom to re-release record productions in Europe. The first release “I Got To Have You” by Otis Williams peaked at #3 on the Soul/R&B charts in England; the second, “One Way Ticket” by The Hypnotics, was released in 2012, and additional releases are scheduled for fall. Also in 2013, Kent’s entire Gospel catalog was re-released on his EmKay Records label, through Milan Entertainment, distributed worldwide by ADA, the independent label distribution arm of the WEA system.

In November of this year, using the same distribution network, Kent will release brother Gary’s original composition, “Earth Life: October Full Moon,” an eight-piece suite of contemporary classical music for two pianos and percussion.

The Shadow Lake Eight

In 1958, Jimmy Trease, a student at Oklahoma State University (OSU) had a vision to put together a band made up of college students and spend the summer playing the Shadow Lake Resort in Noel, Missouri.

Shadow_Lake_Eight:  Circa 1963-64, the Shadow Lake Eight was considered one of the best dance bands in Oklahoma.  Gary Washburn far left, Kent Washburn, far right.  Photo courtesy Kent Washburn

Shadow_Lake_Eight: Circa 1963-64, the Shadow Lake Eight was considered one of the best dance bands in Oklahoma. Gary Washburn far left, Kent Washburn, far right. Photo courtesy Kent Washburn

“Jimmy Trease & The Shadow Lake Seven” spent the summer playing at the Resort, and went back to OSU with a plan to generate bookings during the school year. After adding a bass player, “Jimmy Trease and The Shadow Lake Eight” invited all the social chairmen from fraternity and sorority houses to a free dance in hopes of getting them to hire the band for social functions. They were booked solid every weekend.

The band returned to Shadow Lake Resort the following summer and broke all attendance records.  Over the next year, they continued to evolve, adding and changing musicians and expanding their range of music.  In 1960, the band advertised for a baritone sax player and auditioned Kent Washburn, who became the last addition to what is today affectionately referred to as “The Original Shadow Lake Eight Orchestra.”  Gary Washburn joined the band as a pianist in 1962, and they enjoyed a successful run of social events, night clubs and summer bookings for years.

In 1965, they became friends with Charlie Daniels, (at that time Charlie and The Jaguars), who helped get them booked into the Vanguard Lounge in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  That gig led to others in the area, where they played on their own and also backed up major artists Roy Hamilton, The Angels and Johnny Nash. They eventually met booking agent Gene Snyder, who, along with Vi Snyder, owned the Joni Agency in Louisville, Kentucky, a very aggressive and dynamic booking agency at the time. Working with the Joni Agency, the band played nightclubs in and around St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville and elsewhere in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast.

What brought the band to its end was the Viet Nam War.  In the summer of 1967, they were offered a chance to go on the road as Brenda Lee’s traveling back-up band.  But within two weeks, Kent Washburn was drafted.  The band decided to call it quits, although several members did join up with Brenda Lee and traveled with her for years until she retired from the road.  Gary Washburn returned to school, eventually moving to Hawai‘i where he built a Grammy Award-winning music program in Honoka‘a on the Big Island.  Kent Washburn ended up in the music business, eventually moving to Los Angeles and working as a record producer for Motown, RCA and Warner Brothers.

In 1994, original band members gathered for a reunion concert in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the following year, Jimmy Trease himself arranged a reunion concert at the Shadow Lake Resort where it all began.  In 2013, the band again reunited in Ponca City Oklahoma, and Mocha Washburn joined them on guitar, and on November 16, Gary, Kent and Mocha will join other legendary musicians in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and enjoy a reunion concert with the Shadow Lake Eight.  For more information about the Shadow Lake Eight, visit www.shadowlakeeight.com.

The Washburn’s look forward to the highly-anticipated release of Gary’s original music, “Earth Life: October Full Moon,” coming soon on EmKay Records.  For more information, visit Earth Life: October Full Moon on Facebook or Amazon.com.

Honoka’a Concert to be Recorded for Worldwide Release

Honokaa People’s Theater will become a soundstage on Saturday, October 27, when Gary Washburn, director of Grammy-winning Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band, premiers his original musical work, “Earth Life: October Full Moon.”  Performed by Washburn, Alex Czerny, Doug Johnson and Noa Eads, the concert will be recorded live by Ira Shigaki for EmKay Records, a Los Angeles based label, and distributed worldwide thru the WEA distribution system. Video Footage will be shot by Terry Warner of Duck Pond Productions.

Noa Eads, Gary Washburn and Alex Czerny, and Doug Johnson. Photo by Sarah Anderson

Inspired by a solar eclipse, “Earth Life: October Full Moon” is a suite for two pianos and percussion, using various musical styles, including traditional and contemporary jazz, funk, pop, ethnic and in some passages, classical.  Washburn began working on the composition in 1976 when he attended the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire on an Aaron Copeland Fellowship—however he has, within the last month, added a new movement to the suite.

“The music just came over me while I was working and practicing one night,” said Washburn.  “I had an idea based on the Biblical passage about ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ and the music was just there for me to write.  It’s the kind of ‘programmatic music’ inspired by non-musical ideas, that I like to write.”

The eight-part suite will be performed by four of Hawai’i Island’s most outstanding musicians.  Percussionists Doug Johnson and Noa Eads deploy two dozen different instruments throughout the piece—drums and bells of all sizes, gongs, cymbals, chimes, maracas, rattles, a rainstick and more.  Johnson, an accomplished marimba player with such prominent groups as the Olliephonics, Tropical Vibrations and others, has been playing music since he was a boy and is also a teacher of piano, guitar, drums and vibes.  In fact, “Uncle Doug” was Noa Eads’ first music teacher.  Eads, son of talented artist and yoga teacher Calley O’Neill, was also a student of Washburn and is now drummer for the popular band “Nonami” and the hot new Legacy Jazz Band, under Washburn’s direction.

Pianist Alex Czerny has been playing since he was four years old.  Originally from East Berlin, he came to Hawai‘i in 2008 with intercontinental reggae/rock band “The Durgas,” and tours with them every summer in Europe and Asia.  The rest of the year he is a piano tuner, one of only three on the island, and teaches all styles of piano to private students.  (AlexPianoUnlimited.com)

Composer, teacher and musician Gary Washburn has been the driving force behind award-winning Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band for over 30 years.  An innovative music program that never sits still, the Band has received an award from the Grammy Foundation as one of 36 “Grammy Signature Schools,” 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.

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 jazz by Washburn.

The audience will have a unique, one-time opportunity be part of the creative experience, and “Earth Life: October Full Moon” 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 is $10 adults, $7 kupuna, $5 keiki and students, available at the door.  For more information, visit www.facebook.com/EarthLifeOctoberFullMoon or email catherinetarleton@gmail.com

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 www.facebook.com/EarthLifeOctoberFullMoon or email catherinetarleton@gmail.com

 

Honoka’a High School Selected by the Grammy Foundation as a Signature School

Honoka’a High School Band Director Gary Washburn will accept a special Grammy Award for the school, in Honoka’a Thursday

Honoka'a Band

Honoka'a Band at the State Capital

Media Release:

The GRAMMY Foundation® (www.grammyfoundation.com) today announced that 36 schools nationwide have been selected as GRAMMY® Signature Schools (www.grammyintheschools.com) for 2011. Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year. GRAMMY Signature Schools are made possible in part through the generous support of Best Buy, Campbell’s Labels For Education program, the Ford Motor Company Fund, Gibson Foundation, and the Hot Topic Foundation.

“The GRAMMY Signature Schools program exemplifies the GRAMMY Foundation’s commitment to fostering excellence in music education in public high schools,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation. “With the generous support of our partners, we’ve been able to grant the largest number of GRAMMY Signature Schools awards in recent history, with 36 public high schools in communities across the United States receiving this recognition. I am especially proud that this year in the Enterprise Award category for economically underserved schools, we have announced the largest number of recipients in the GRAMMY Foundation’s history.”
Each of the 36 GRAMMY Signature Schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant to benefit its music program. The top seven schools are designated Gold recipients. The best of the Gold recipients is named the National GRAMMY Signature School. The National GRAMMY Signature School will receive $15,000, and the six remaining Gold schools each will receive $5,500. Two remaining GRAMMY Signature Schools recipients will receive a grant award of $2,500 to benefit their music programs. In the Enterprise Award category, which recognizes efforts made by schools that are economically underserved, 27 schools will receive a grant of $5,500 each.
The Complete List of 2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools:
2011 National GRAMMY Signature School ($15,000)
Pioneer High School — Ann Arbor, Mich.
 
2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools Gold ($5,500 each)
Allen High School — Allen, Texas
David Douglas High School — Portland, Ore.
Flower Mound High School — Flower Mound, Texas
Neuqua Valley High School — Naperville, Ill.
Plano West Senior High School — Plano, Texas
Waubonsie Valley High School — Aurora, Ill.
2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools ($2,500 each)
Davis Senior High School — Davis, Calif.
Marin School of the Arts at Novato High — Novato, Calif.
 
2011 GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Award ($5,500 each)
Allendale High School — Allendale, Mich.
Arizona School for the Arts — Phoenix
Bessemer City High School — Bessemer City, N.C.
Bladensburg High School — Bladensburg, Md.
Boston Arts Academy — Boston
Canyon Crest Academy — San Diego
City Neighbors High School — Baltimore
Claude High School — Claude, Texas
Eminence R-1 High School — Eminence, Mo.
Emmirich Manual High School — Indianapolis
Glencliff High School — Nashville, Tenn.
Hamilton High School Academy of Music — Los Angeles
Honoka’a High School — Honoka’a, Hawaii
Iroquois High School Magnet Career Academy  — Louisville, Ky.
J. Graham Brown School — Louisville, Ky.
James Madison High School — Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mariposa County High School — Mariposa, Calif.
Middletown High School — Middletown, Md.
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts — New Orleans
Perry-Lecompton High School — Perry, Kan.
Rocky Mountain High School — Fort Collins, Colo.
Santee Education Complex — Los Angeles
Scotts Valley High School — Scotts Valley, Calif.
South Albany High School — Albany, Ore.
Springville High School — Springville, Iowa
Stewartville High School — Stewartville, Minn.
Unity High School — Mendon, Ill.
HHS student Gabriel Ramirez, Miles Okumura, band director Gary Washburn (Photo Catherine Tarleton)

HHS student Gabriel Ramirez, Miles Okumura, and band director Gary Washburn (Photo Catherine Tarleton)

About Gary Washburn

  • Gary has been teaching at Honoka’a High and Elementary School for 34 years
  • Recently awarded  a “Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award” by the National Society of High School Scholars.
  • He has also released a CD of original compositions, “A Life In A Day” by the group Justin Thyme, a jazz-fusion album produced by Milan Entertainment and ex-Motown producer Kent Washburn.  The album is a project to fulfill a National Endowment for the Arts Grant awarded to Gary.

About the HHS Band:

  • Last year the band recieved a NAMM Award (National Association of Music Merchandisers) as one of the best communities in the US for music education.
  • Recognized on NPR “From the Top”
  • Just completed their annual tour of Oahu to celebrate “National Jazz Appreciation Month”. They performed 7 concerts during the 4-day tour, including the Shriners Hospital and “Dots” dining club, Windward Mall, Ala Moana Center Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center and finally the Honolulu Academy of Arts in celebration of the Academy’s 84th birthday.
  • Opened for the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace where they were presented Certificates recognizing their accomplishments by the House and Senate.
  • Recorded their 10th CD which will be available the end of July or early August.