PAPA Kids Perform on the East Coast

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - When school resumes in August and the question 'what did you do on your summer break?' is posed, the members of the Palikû Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA) will have plenty to share. The performers will embark on a two-week East Coast Tour, with shows scheduled in New York and Florida. Each performance has a unique focus that will bring memories of a lifetime.

"We will begin the tour with a visit to Firehouse 10 in New York City." says John-Paul Tai, PAPA Director. "The students have been learning about the personal losses that this firehouse endured during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, which also happens to be directly across the street from the firehouse."

The students have collected omiyage to give to the firefighters, and will also share their gift of song. "To be able to visit a place so devastated by the events of 9/11 and connect our islands in the Pacific to the men and women in New York is a priceless moment and one we all will remember forever." The group will then visit the 9/11 Memorial and put lei on the engraved names there. "We cannot anticipate nor truly prepare for the emotions we will be feeling, but we look forward to being able to experience the memorial together."

Following their performance, students will attend three Broadway shows, do two Broadway workshops, and take a backstage tour of the show 'Wicked.' "When the touring company visits Hawai'i in December, we'll be able to say we saw it on Broadway."

After their week in New York, the group, which is 52 in all, will fly down to Florida where their once in-a-lifetime tour will conclude with performances in Disney World. "We figured, we're already 5,000 miles from home, why not make it worthwhile and fly south to the 'happiest place on earth'?"

Two shows are scheduled in Disney World. One made up of hapa-haole hula numbers and one which showcase the contemporary Broadway styles of the group. They will also be treated to front row seats to shows, private thrill rides and personal dining experiences. "We are grateful to Joan Gerber, President of our tour sponsor Shoebox Arts, who has spent many hours working to make the tour a reality." says Tai. "We have had countless meetings, phone calls and emails to ensure that our kids have the best experience possible. The parents have endlessly supported us and the young performers are ready to bring the very best they have to the East Coast!"

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