Hawaii News

VIDEO: Saxophonists celebrate UH Bands 100th anniversary with world record attempt

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The hardwood was packed with 150 saxophonists performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī” on Feb. 24 prior to the University of Hawaiʻi men’s basketball game against Long Beach State at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

The performance was in celebration of 100 years of the UH Bands history, but they also were attempting to set a new world record.

“Having all these saxophones ranging from sixth grade to 70 years old was amazing,” said Gwen Nakamura, UH-Mānoa assistant director of bands and alumna who also performed with the group. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime performance in honor of the UH Bands 100[th] anniversary.”

Nakamura plans to submit the video recording to Guinness World Records in an attempt to break the world record for a dedicated saxophone performance of the national anthem and “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī.”

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Many of the musicians were UH students and alumni.

“I was excited to see so many saxophonists gather together to make music,” said Hoku Matsushita, a fourth-year music education major at UH-Mānoa. “I was glad to see that our community in Hawaiʻi is filled with energy and love for music.”

The UH Bands partnered with the nonprofit Hawaiʻi Saxophone Foundation for the performance. The foundation is dedicated to raising the level of awareness and education of the saxophone in Hawaiʻi.

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Todd Yukumoto, a renowned saxophonist, alum and longtime UH-Mānoa saxophone lecturer, is the organization’s president.

“What we were trying to do is bring awareness to our foundation and to help celebrate 100 years for the UH Bands, so it was a win-win,” said Yukumoto. “We want to build a community of saxophone players and we’re doing it slowly. But having an event like this can really help bring it to the public eye.”

Click here for more information about the UH Bands 100th anniversary.

A group of 150 saxophonists recently attempted to break the world record for a dedicated saxophone performance of the National Anthem and Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī. (Photo courtesy of University of Hawaiʻi)
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