Todd Yokotake '84

Distinguished Service to HBA (2015)

Todd Yokotake ‘84, or simply “Mr. Yo,” has shaped the lives of hundreds of students at HBA, primarily through music. He is best known for his ministry, the Soldiers of Light (SOL).

Todd’s interest in music began at the age of four when he started piano lessons. His love for music flourished under the direction of Marian Kerr, a gifted piano teacher who retired from the University of Hawaii. He also admired the talents of Randy Hongo, a local missionary who shared the gospel through music and hula.

Todd graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in music education, followed by a master’s degree in music from Sam Houston University.

Todd began teaching at HBA in the fall of 1990. Shortly after, then high school senior May Wong approached Todd to start a music ministry. Comprised of eight members, they called themselves the Soldiers of Light. Their first performance was at MAC (Mainland Advisory Council) Week. From their humble beginnings, the group has expanded and become one of the most prominent groups to represent the school. In 1992, SOL became part of the school’s curriculum. In 2003, they added a halau.

Todd also directs the Concert Choir for students in grades nine through 12 and the Middle School Choir. Additionally, he teaches AP Music Theory and has taught Hawaiian Studies. From 1990 until 2003, he was student council advisor.

Today, the Soldiers of Light performs at Southern Baptist churches on Oahu, neighbor islands and the mainland, and at public venues such as Ala Moana Center Stage. The group performs 12 to 15 concerts each school year.

Todd resides in Kaneohe with his wife, Carleen, a speech professor at Leeward Community College, their son Reese, a sixth grader, and their daughter Ellie, a third grader. Both children attend HBA.

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