Local artists picked to entertain in nation's capital - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local artists picked to entertain in nation's capital

Momi Kaahawaiola Momi Kaahawaiola
Eric Keawe Eric Keawe
Alan Akaka Alan Akaka

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Local artists get a big invite, as they're tapped to represent the state on the international stage at the Hawaii State Society's first-ever Presidential Inaugural Ball in January. The event is aimed at honoring the islands, but a possible appearance by Hawaii-born Barack Obama is sure to steal the spotlight.

Dating back to the 1940s, the Aunty Genoa Keawe Ohana has embodied the character, culture and traditions of the islands.

As a valued local treasure, this musical group is ready to make the state shine.

It's Hawaiian music and all smiles for the Aunty Genoa Keawe Ohana, picked to be part of a select group to take center-stage at the Hawaii State Society's first-ever Presidential Inaugural Ball.

"I said, 'by golly, sure I want to go.' It's an honor for our President," said group member Momi Kaahawaiola.

The group was asked to perform this past summer, but news of President-Elect Barack Obama's big win escalated their excitement.

"It really didn't settle in until later when everyone was talking about the inauguration. I said, hat's going to be a big deal, that's going to be a big event, and we're going to be there,'" said group manager Eric Keawe.

But not too many others will be. A crowd of 600 is expected and the event is already oversold.

With pride from the late Aunty Genoa, the group's founder, it's these humble melodies that the entertainers hope will show the audience ideals of the Hawaiian culture -- like understanding and humility -- that could cure the world's problems.

"With haa haa, people would more willing to work with other's viewpoints. With the aloha, although they may have their own agenda, still they can work together," said group member Alan Akaka.

For this group, its about more than just music. They hope to arrive with entertainment, but leave the entire crowd with the spirit of aloha and the importance of this unforgettable time in U.S. history.

The event is in such high demand that its $200 tickets are being scalped on the internet for more than $1,200.

The Hawaii State Society urges you not to bid, since there's a good chance those are illegitimate. The ball is scheduled to take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on January 20th in the Nation's Capital.

It will be a black-tie affair with many of Hawaii's government, civic, corporate and entertainment leaders scheduled to attend.

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