A sold out 18th annual Sunset Jazz fundraiser attracted more than 350 people to the Great Lawn of La Pietra - Hawaii School for Girls on Sunday, September 17,
Veteran entertainer and director of the event, Mrs. Shari Lynn, who is also La Pietra's music teacher was delighted with the turnout for the fundraiser. "Forty percent of our girls are on scholarship and this goes a long way to helping them," said Lynn.
The theme for this year's Sunset Jazz was to celebrate the Centennial of Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song." Lynn, along with respected local jazz singers Ginai Hill and Rene Ebalaroza, started the evening with songs made famous by Fitzgerald.
The highly popular Danny Couch was also in the lineup, as well as salsa band, Eddie Ortiz and Son Caribe.
Young tenor Charles Mukaida, the first recipient of the Jimmy Borges music scholarship, was invited to sing two songs. He was there to honor the memory of Borges, who was a featured performer at 16 Sunset Jazz events. Borges passed away in May 2016 of lung cancer.
La Pietra 11th grader Angelina Augafa made her stage debut singing "Blue Moon" and caught the attention of the entire audience.
"My impression is that everyone is wonderfully happy here and they're supporting the school in a way that just makes everyone feel good," said Dr. Josh Watson, first-year Head of School.
Watson said the response to event was overwhelming and was especially gratifying to him.
"The Great Lawn held the maximum number of guests and it was a good sign for the profile of the school and the cause the event supports."
"I heard so many compliments about what a great musical lineup we had!" said Watson. "We owe a lot to our music director, Shari Lynn, who has numerous connections in the community."
Lynn said, "Every year you want to do better than the previous year so I thought about more of my friends in the music community and I am so fortunate that when I call them they say yes."
The evening began with Lynn joined by Hill and Ebalaroza with a cute and energetic rendition of Fitzgerald's "A Tisket-a-Tasket."
Lynn went on to delight the crowd with a demonstrative "Miss Otis Regrets" Ginai did a rousing version of "Hard-hearted Hannah." Ebalaroza brought the audience to life with "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing."
Couch delivered a warmly entertaining show late in the evening that included his sentimental signature song, "These Islands."
Lynn said she was grateful to have Eddie Ortiz and Son Caribe, which she called "the great Latin jazz party band," conclude the evening.
The ensemble reinvigorated the gathering and inspired about a dozen couples to dance on the grass under the lights.
Lynn said this is one her most memorable sold-out Sunset Jazz events, along with 2011. "That was when Jimmy Borges came back from a fight with cancer. People could not wait to congratulate him on his zest for life and they could not wait to hear him sing. He gave so much to us at La Pietra. He will always be with us."
Mahalo to all our parent, faculty and staff volunteers for supporting this event! We couldn't have done it without you! Also a special mahalo to our ticket purchasers and table sponsors:
VIP Table Sponsors
Lauran '76 & Myrna Bromley
Tony & Wendy Crabb
Dawn & Duncan MacNaughton
Katie Musto '94
Debbie Weil-Manuma '75 & Frank Manuma
Premium Table Sponsors
John & Randi Silleck '69 Conway
Dr. Colleen Finnegan '76
Layton Construction Company, LLC
Rescue Air Systems
Sterling & Joy Yee
Accel Party Rentals & Design
Elite Parking Services
"That Girl Can Cook" Catering
*Indicates multiple table purchases