The workmen are putting the finishing touches on A'ali'ikuhonua, Seabury Hall's new $7 million performing arts center.
Its completion is an exciting and important addition to the performing arts arena on Maui. Seabury Hall wants this extraordinary facility to be shared and utilized by the community.
The name "A'ali'ikuhonua" came from a chant Keali'i Reichel created for Pardee Erdman, the center's donor and Maui's most generous philanthropist.
Designed to look like a barn to blend in with the Upcountry ambiance, the $7 million, 10,000-square-foot, 150- to 500-seat multi-purpose theater and 2,000-square-foot dance studio/dressing room/green room replaces the former gymnasium, which was used as a performance space for more than 15 years.
Photo: Paul Janes-Brown
Designed to look like a barn to blend in with the Upcountry ambiance, the 10,000-square-foot, 150- to 500-seat multipurpose theater and 2,000-square-foot dance studio/dressing room/green room replaces the former gymnasium, which served as a performance space for more than 15 years.
Flansburgh Architects of Boston, who designed the art center and another building on the Makawao prep school campus, has a long relationship with Seabury Headmaster Joseph Schmidt.
According to their Website, an economical pre-engineered steel shed structure was used to offset the costs of state-of-the-art theatre technology systems that include a tensile wire grid above the house and stage. Schmidt said that this is the only one in a school in the state, and this system will enable entire classes to be taught onsite above the theater.
A courtyard between the theatre and dance studio can double as workspace by day and outdoor performance space in the evening. A proposed tree-lined pathway will lead the audience from the parking area along the outdoor courtyard, where they will be able to view student work as they walk to the covered terrace and main lobby.
The main lobby has been equipped with museum strips so it can become a gallery for student, faculty and visiting artists' works.
The lobby also includes a snack bar.
In the theater, portable platforms and retractable bleachers enable the space to be converted into proscenium, thrust and arena stage arrangements, as well as a large floor area for school dances and receptions.
Headmaster Schmidt emphasized that the space was designed primarily as an educational facility. He envisions TEDx-type lecturers being Skyped on the state-of-the-art projector system, which will allow the entire student body to be present and to interact with the lecturer.
Instead of air conditioning, louvered side paneling, vents and silent fans will keep air moving and the space comfortable. A unique system has been employed to minimize the sunlight going into the building and prevent light pollution into the community. Schmidt said that the lighting had been designed to emit a glow from the building.
To celebrate the opening of this great new performing space, Seabury will present "Re-unite" with some of its most distinguished alums and current and former faculty on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29, at 7:30 p.m.
Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning artist and Seabury Hawaiian studies Kumu Napua Makua will open the show with a chant, followed by a hula from her award-winning halau, Halau Na Lei Kaumaka o Uka.
Choral Director Stephen Haines, former Music Director Lisa Owen and Band Director Richie Franco will present ragtime.
Then the founder of Seabury's Creative Arts Department, Paul Wood, will team up with Todd van Amburgh, the current director of fine arts, to revisit scenes from "Live, Tonight! At the Globe!"
Returning alumni will include the internationally acclaimed mezzo soprano Kimball Wheeler ('68), about whom the New York Times said, "sang her extensive solo with grand line and opulent tone."
Two '86 alums will reunite when New York jazz composer Isaac Raz accompanies acclaimed Bay Area jazz singer and teacher Juliet Green, who grew up on the Seabury campus. Her mother and my late wife, then known as Betty Green, was one of the first faculty members when Seabury was still an all-girls school.
Professional harpist and singer Molly Baukham from Seattle ('93) will also join in.
More recent alums in the performance include Amelia Nelson ('02), and dancers Angela Fong ('04) and Julia Cost ('05), who is in Berkeley. Rachael I Berman ('07) from New York, Europe and Israel, and Rachel E.Berman ('07), who is currently cast in the world premiere musical, "The House of Finnegan" at the El Portal Theatre in Hollywood, will also star in the production, as will Casey Kalmenson from LA ('06), who recently released her first CD.
The lobby will be alive with alumni art for sale from Quincy Dein ('08), Angelina Hills ('00) and R. Kikuo Johnson ('99), whose work appears in the NY Times magazine. Also on exhibit will be work by Valentin Miro-Quesada ('11), Zachary Pezzillo ('10), Lina Sena ('10), Sam Trimble ('82) and Martha Haulani Vockrodt ('69).
"Re-unite" promises to be the event of the season. For more information, go to www.seaburyhall.org. For reservations, call 573-1257.