A battle of the bands over the Hawaii Five-O theme song - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A battle of the bands over the Hawaii Five-O theme song

University of Hawaii Marching Band University of Hawaii Marching Band
Gwen Nakamura Gwen Nakamura
Andrea Wong Andrea Wong
Marc Arakaki Marc Arakaki
USC Trojan Marching Band USC Trojan Marching Band

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Football players weren't the only ones with their game faces on Thursday. A battle of the bands was brewing before the big game between the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California.

Both programs got calls from CBS Television – asking them to take part in a new promotional campaign for the remake of the TV series, Hawaii Five-O. They were asked to perform the iconic theme song that will be used in TV, radio, web, and newspaper advertisements. The show premieres Monday, September 13th.

When Hawaii's band took the field at the half, CBS' cameras were there to shoot its Five-O performance.

"They even have a little cam that one of our lead trumpets is going to wear during the halftime as he marches around and everything," UH Assistant Band Director, Gwen Nakamura, said before the game.

Over the years, the tune has become UH's unofficial fight song, and bandmembers know it like the back of their, well, horns. So some wondered why a mainland school – with no connection to the song - would be part of the ad campaign.

But USC isn't just a pigskin powerhouse. It's a musical force, as well, with one of the more famous collegiate bands in the country. CBS cameras also followed them as they played the theme song and marched along the beach at Waikiki.

"My parents grew up watching the show so when we're driving, my dad will sing it and stuff, " says flutist Andrea Wong. " So, when we're playing it, it's just nostalgic, I guess."

Wong and a handful of other USC bandmates originally hail from Hawaii, but their allegiance lies with the red and gold.

Despite growing up in Honolulu, senior tuba player Stacee Stricker says, "I am a Trojan at heart."

In the battle of the bands, Hawaii's musicians say they don't mind others ‘borrowing' their song for the ad campaign.

"I kind of hold it near and dear, just because it's Hawaii Five-O, " explains drum major, Dani Muneoka. "I personally don't have a problem (with USC performing it). It would be kind of nice to hear their version, though!" she says with a laugh.

But UH bandmembers can get a little territorial over the tune at times.

"It was a national TV show, and it still will be. So, it just shows, I think, that they're jealous. They're just jealous of us being in Hawaii and seeing this everyday," drum major Marc Arakaki says, tongue-in-cheek, as he motions to the sunshine.

USC has already performed in one viral promotion for the show. Look for the next series of ads to run within the next two weeks.

In the end, the two schools won't need to duel it out, afterall. CBS says they will be in separate advertisements.


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