I’m grateful for…

Aloha my friends! 2014 is my year of gratitude. I know I need to be grateful all of the time but sometimes I get caught up in the challenges of life and forget to be thankful for what I have and the people and opportunities that surround me. I was reviewing some recent pictures and wanted to share with you.

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From Left to Right: Dan Del Negro – Piano, Mark Tanouye – Bass (and Iolani School Alum), Gerald Teramae – Dean of the Iolani Lower School and Joanne Stepien – Assistant Dean of the Lower School

Recently, I had the opportunity to organize some music for a lunchtime event we billed “Jazz With A Friend” for the students of the Iolani Lower School here in Honolulu.  We had such a great time and it was a super way to share the joy of Jazz with young people playing Jazz while they read and shared lunch with their friends.  I have also been working with Gerald Teramae – Dean of the Lower School and Joanne Stepien – Assistant Dean, as well as Iolani faculty member Reid Sagawa, to create and present a cutting edge leadership and bullying and drug prevention program for students 4th-6th grade. We began three years ago and have been growing the program steadily with strong preliminary data supporting its effectiveness.  Thanks Gerald and Joanne!

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Ken Lykes plays keyboards in a new group I have been rehearsing with.

Late last year, I was asked by a local Keyboardist Ken Lykes to join a group he had formed with guitarist Neal Chin and bassist Will Tafolo. We’re creating a fresh sound fusing elements of Jazz, Funk, Latin, Pop, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop and Electronica.  Because of our collective eclectic musical backgrounds, we are able to make it work! We’ve been rehearsing for a few weeks now and they are all very creative and a whole lot of fun to be around.  The group has inspired me to add new “drum toys” to my set up as you can see in the next picture. I will certainly let you know when we will be playing in a venue near you! Thanks guys!

My new set up for more electric, amplified music.  At my recent gig with visiting German saxophonist Arno Hass and local saxophonist Reggie Padilla.
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I am grateful for hair even if it is not my own!

On a recent trip to Ala Moana Shopping Center here in Honolulu, my lady Kayo snapped a pic of me with this goofy hat.  Ahh I remember the days when I had a so much hair on my head I just didn’t know how to tame it! Now it’s coming out of my ears!  Thanks genetics!

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My drum student Yoshie Kishida brought me this wonderful shirt!

This picture was taken at my teaching location in Iolani School where I give private drum lessons. This amazing shirt was designed by the husband of one of my students Yoshie Kishida and I was thrilled to receive it as a very thoughtful gift!  The back of it has ukulele’s not seen in this photo. For more information on these uniquely creative shirts, check out their Facebook page: Out of Hand Hawaii.  Thank you Kishi-san!

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Here with amazing guitarist and friend Jeff Peterson at our last gig together with John Kolivas at the Kahala Hotel Veranda Bar.

Jeff Peterson has a been a long time member of the Von Baron Band and in addition,  one of the most brilliant and sought after slack key guitarists in Hawaii. His six strings take him around the world sharing his Aloha and love for guitar. He can also rip it up on Jazz tunes and we had just such a night at the Kahala Hotel Veranda a few weeks ago.  We will be there again Monday March 3rd 7:30-10:00pm with the leader of the group, John Kolivas on bass. Hope you all can make it! Thanks Jeff and John!

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It just doesn’t get any better than this!

I was out for dinner with my family one night around New Year’s and snapped this photo.  How fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place. Hawaii has been so very good to me. I have been welcomed and embraced for who I am and supported to become who I am meant to be.  Thank you, thank you, thank you my lovely Hawaii!