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70th Anniversary Celebration Begins with Holiday Concert

Christina Yasutomi

Hawaii Baptist Academy's first community Christmas concert, "The Sound of Heaven Touching Earth," was held December 14-15 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Photo by Derrek Miyahara for Island Digital Imaging.

Hawaii Baptist Academy kicked off its 70th anniversary celebration by hosting a two-day community Christmas concert at the Hawaii Convention Center, December 14-15. 

“This event began as an idea many years ago. Every December, our families are very busy attending multiple events, such as the band concert, choir concert, fall play, etc. I also couldn’t think of a better school to share the Christmas story with our island community other than Hawaii Baptist Academy. So in honor of our 70th anniversary, we decided to have one big concert featuring all of our performing arts students,” said President Ron Shiira ‘75. 

More than 1,000 guests attended the concert each night, with Saturday's show selling out at nearly 1,600. The performers included all of the school’s choirs, the Wind Ensemble, Halau Hula o Kalama Ula, the high school drama class, the Hoomana sign language and praise team, some specially selected elementary students to reenact the Christmas story, and a special performance by New Hope Music and Halau of New Hope alongside of HBA’s halau.

“The Christmas concert was absolutely amazing and unforgettable since all of the different parts of HBA's performing arts came together. Everything really hit me when we performed our last song of the night, ‘How Great is Our God,’ because everyone was on stage. I truly felt that we were all connected as one school. So although this concert took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, I can't be more grateful that we all got this opportunity. It was especially fun to perform alongside my friends from various parts of the performing arts department,” said Kristin Lau, choral member.

Community Christmas concert highlight video by Mark Ganialongo '94.

Prior to the concert, guests enjoyed the student showcase and art gallery entitled, “A Portrait of Faith.” The showcase featured interactive science exhibits hosted by the elementary Lego robotics team and the high school engineering program. Guests enjoyed a “river walk” lit by trees with lights put together by elementary art teacher Katie Small, and student various student art pieces. On Saturday, Jam 4 Jesus, an elementary worship band, sang songs and Christmas carols. 

In addition to featuring HBA’s talented students, the event raised funds for the school’s financial aid fund. The school also honored The Salvation Army’s Hawaiian and Pacific Island Division with a gift of $8,500. 

“We wanted this event to be an opportunity for us to give back to our community. We chose The Salvation Army to be our community partner because they share the same mission as our school, which is to share the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Shiira.

Hawaii Baptist Academy presents $8,500 to The Salvation Army's Hawaiian and Pacific Island Division at the school's very first community Christmas concert. Left to right: Billie Takaki Lueder '94, director of institutional advancement; Ron Shiira '75, president; Major Jeff Martin, divisional leader for The Salvation Army's Hawaii and Pacific Island Division; and Jennifer (Hee) Oyer '97, chief development officer for The Salvation Army's Hawaii and Pacific Island Division. Photo by Derrek Miyahara for Island Digital Imaging.

The event was emceed by Tisha Falcon Lehfeldt, who is the weekday morning radio host on 95.5 The Fish. The concert was directed and produced by New Hope Oahu (NHO), led by John Tilton, administration pastor for NHO, and Justin Smith ‘97, evangelism pastor at NHO.