KAANAPALI - The ninth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is being held April 28-30 at Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. This free event features master Hawaiian steel guitar players from around the world performing and teaching the instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii.
Headliners include Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, Japan's Kiyoshi "Lion" Kobayashi, Tadashi Arakawa, Yoshiyuki Endo and Tetsuya Ishiyama, Patti Maxine from California, Greg Sardinha, Duke Ching and Maui steel guitarists Joel Katz and Geri Valdriz.
"The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar and to preserve and perpetuate it," said Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, one of the nonprofit organizations presenting the event.
Celebrities Kimo Kahoano and Kathy Collins will co-emcee both Friday and Saturday evening ho'olaulea programs. Each program will feature a different lineup of players in concert.
Kimo and Leilani Kahoano will broadcast their Aloha Friday Morning show live from the festival on KKNE AM 940.
Kanikapila (jam sessions) follow evening performances, and the public is welcome to participate (bring your own instruments).
Open stage performances take place during both days with music performed by Hawaiian steel guitar bands from Hawaii, the U.S. Mainland and Japan.
Saturday workshop topics will include Beginning Hawaiian Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar Tips, Steel Guitar Styles, Hawaiian-Style Singing and Hula.
On Sunday, Hawaiian steel guitarists will entertain from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kaanapali Beach Hotel's award-winning Champagne Brunch -the only event during the festival that has a fee. For reservations, call the hotel at 667-0124.
New for 2017 is a series of performances featuring select steel guitarists from Hawaii and Japan at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Kahului from noon to 5 p.m.
Preceding the festival, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 26-27, two of Hawaii's great steel guitar masters, Alan Akaka and Greg Sardinha, are conducting the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Camp. Tuition for the two-day camp - an intensive learning experience with the Hawaiian steel guitar - is $200. For more information, and to register, visit www.hawaiiansteelguitarcamp.com.
The festival also includes a community outreach in which participating master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform and teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar.
An exhibit curated by steel guitarist Valdriz will feature vintage lap steel guitars (circa mid-1930s). The guitars will be on display at Kaanapali Beach Hotel and Queen Ka'ahumanu Center.
Presented by Arts Education for Children Group (AECG) and produced by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), the festival is supported by Kaanapali Beach Hotel, the County of Maui, and Hawaii Tourism Authority. Funding also comes from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals
For more information and a complete schedule for the ninth annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival, visit www.mauisteelguitarfestival.com.