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Come On Up for ‘Ulupalakua Inspires

Celebrate the beauty that has captivated artists for generations.

May 31, 2012
The Maui Weekly

Maui's Winery and 'Ulupalakua Ranch Store invite the public to come on up to beautiful Upcountry Maui for "'Ulupalakua Inspires" on Sunday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Early summer brings the renowned purple blossoms of jacaranda and agapanthus to 'Ulupalakua, inspiring musicians and artists alike to create their magic beneath the cool shade of 100-year-old trees. At this free community event, jazz musicians from around the island and beyond will showcase the musical "artwork" of jazz.

Well-known smooth jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa will headline the day with a live performance on the winery grounds from 2:45 to 4 p.m. Kashiwa, a former member of the popular jazz fusion group the Rippingtons, is a master of soprano, alto and tenor sax, as well as flute and EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). He formed his own band, Coastal Access, in 1999, and more recently toured with a trio called the Sax Pack. He has recorded nine albums and composes, produces and teaches music.

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With jazz music floating on the breeze, visitors to Maui’s Winery can walk up the path to the King’s Cottage Tasting Room and see history in the making--or rather, remaking.

Performing with Kashiwa will be local favorite Mitch Kepa, who will precede him onstage with the Mitch Kepa Band from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. A talented guitarist and singer, Kepa has been playing jazz, rhythm and blues on Maui for over 30 years. Rounding out the band are Gene Argel on keyboards, Shea Makana Argel on percussion, Renato Guastone on drums and Ed Conors on bass.

Throughout the day, Joel Katz will bring the nostalgic sounds of Hawaiian steel guitar back to the ranch store.

Beginning at 12:15 p.m., Fulton Tashombe will perform with Kelly Covington. Tashombe uses the latest in sound technology to produce a contemporary orchestral sound, drawing on his background in classical music training as well as a wide range of musical forms from jazz to R&B.

The Baldwin High School Jazz Band, the "Sapphires," will perform from 11 a.m. to noon. This year's band, taught by Stephen Rodrigues, is a jazz combo comprised of six seniors enjoying their last performances together before graduation.

With jazz music floating on the breeze, visitors to Maui's Winery can walk up the path to the King's Cottage Tasting Room and see history in the making--or rather, remaking.

Award-winning Maui artist Tim Garcia is hard at work transforming the "Hula Circle," a ring of ancient cypress trees recently brought down by strong winds. Planted in the 1870s, the trees formed a space where the "Merrie Monarch," King David Kalakaua, would sit and watch hula dancers perform during his frequent visits to Rose Ranch. Garcia is now carving the 9-foot trunks into exquisite sculptures that capture the movement, grace and beauty of hula.

"The trees represented more than history--they also embodied the hospitality of 'Ulupalakua," said Paula Hegele, Maui's Winery president. "Here, the ancient art of hula was once again performed and enjoyed. They danced! It's one of the many aspects that makes 'Ulupalakua so special."

Once inside the Tasting Room, visitors will have two more treats in store. The first is a display of the gorgeous artwork of Randy Jay Braun, one of Hawai'i's most popular and beloved photographers. The second is the chance to sample the winery's limited estate wine: the 2010 Plantation Red Maui County Syrah. The beautiful, dark purple wine exemplifies Maui's unique terroir with a blend of 90 percent Syrah and 10 percent Carnelian handpicked from the slopes of Haleakala. In addition, the last 100 bottles of the 2009 Plantation Red will be released on this day. A free tour of Maui's Winery, beginning at 10:30 a.m., will share some of the area's unique history.

The picturesque setting is perfect for relaxing in the shade to enjoy a delicious lunch from 'Ulupalakua Ranch Store Deli & Grill. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Chef Will serves up an array of tasty lunch offerings--classics like burgers and chili, along with specials like Kalua Pork Tacos and 'Ulupalakua Elk Shepherd's Pie. Visitors will also have a sneak preview of the grill's new menu to come later this summer: try succulent Kalbi Ribs with Chili & Miso Sauce, or the unbelievable Imu Burger--an Elk or Beef Burger topped with Housemade Kalua Pork and a Sweet Sake & Green Onion Coulis.

What better time to "come on up" and have a taste!

(No dogs, coolers or alcohol allowed on the grounds, please.)

For more information about Sunday Drive events, call (877) 878-6058 toll-free. To learn more about 'Ulupalakua, visit or



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