By Leland Kim
WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The show must go on. Thursday night, island entertainers took center stage in the absence of Hawaii's own Don Ho. The legendary entertainer passed away last weekend.
Those who knew him still mourn his loss, but the mood Thursday night was joyful; a celebration of Don's life and legacy.
And for a group from the mainland, it was a trip of a lifetime.
These folks from South Carolina are life-long Do Ho fans.
"I think he's a real beautiful man," said Dot Culbreth, who is visiting from Landrum, South Carolina. "I think he has a fantastic voice. I always wanted to see him."
Culbreth and members of her church group have enjoyed Ho's music most of their lives.
"He's an icon for his era," said Kaye Essey, who helped organize this trip for the Motlow Creek Baptist Church. "For our seniors, that was a special time in their lives."
But when he passed, it sent a shockwave throughout the world.
"I don't even think he knows how loved he was," said Donalei Ho, one of his daughters.
Ho's longtime stage partner Jackie Lei-Cadinha wishes he was here.
"I miss everything about Don," she said. "I'm just so privileged to have known him and been my friend and mentor for 20 years."
For the folks from South Carolina, this trip was worth it, just to see the show.
"Everybody knows Do Ho," said Essey. "You don't have to live in Hawaii to know who Don Ho is and appreciate his work."
Don's daughter Donalei wishes she could say these words to her dad.
"What I always tell him," she recalled. "'I love you, daddy. I love you, daddy.'"
A man loved by millions throughout the world.