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Sharing Mana‘o

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

I’m not saying I do great work as an emcee, but I truly love doing it, and no, it doesn’t feel like work at all, especially when it’s for a nonprofit group or charity fundraiser. I’m humbled by the dedication and passion of the people at the heart of these various causes and thankful for the privilege and pleasure of taking part in their events.

The wide variety of gigs I’m blessed with gives me the opportunity to meet folks from the dozens of circles that make up our greater community of Maui Nui. Last Sunday, emceeing the 14th annual Maui ‘Ukulele Festival at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, then the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui’s 50th Anniversary Gala, I gained a deeper appreciation of our forebears and renewed faith in our future generations.

At the MACC, longtime ‘ukulele teacher and impresario Roy Sakuma promoted local youths, including the students of Seabury Hall and Kalama Intermediate School, and Maui ‘Ukulele Sisters Regan and Brianna Timmins, who were thrilled to be billed with big names like Paula Fuga and Kanekoa.

Later, at the JCSM event, I witnessed a gracious and glitch-free transition of leadership from one generation to the next, as the group honored 96-year-old Yukie Ueoka, one of its founding members, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Gerald Izumi, son of the Society’s first president, the late Edith Izumi, ended the evening with a toast to the next 50 years.

From Japanese, Okinawan and Hawaiian culture preservation to workers for worldwide peace and volunteers for visual and performing arts, September brought me a feast of opportunities. This month promises to be just as fulfilling.

I’m especially excited to participate in the first Pride Festival presented by Aloha Maui Pride, Oct. 6-13. AMP is a nonprofit organization that celebrates and supports the LGBTQ community here on Maui. Pride Week kicks off with a ceremonial blessing and brunch at Nalu’s South Shore Grill on Sunday. I’ll be emceeing the AMP It Up Music Night at Diamonds Ice Bar & Grill on the 10th, as well as the Pride Festival on the 12th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Kihei.

The week includes many more activities: Gay Youth Skate Night, a morning hike, a sunset cruise, Kanikapila Dinner Show with Sistah Robi Kahakalau and Anthony Pfluke, and, of course, more parties. Mayor Michael Victorino will read a proclamation in honor of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Information on all of the Pride Festival events may be found at www.alohamauipride.org.

And while we’re on the subject of community events, Maui’s biggest is right around the corner. The 97th Maui Fair kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday at the War Memorial Complex. The LGBTQ+ community will be represented by nearly a dozen organizations, including AMP, Maui Aids Foundation and Iao United Church of Christ, marching together in the traditional Fair Parade on Thursday afternoon.

Each night of entertainment is sponsored by different Maui radio stations; I’ll be emceeing Friday evening, representing KAOI Radio. The KAOI group includes the two stations I’m currently on (The Buzz 107.5 FM and our new Hawaiian music station, KEWE 1240 AM and 97.9 FM), as well as Q103. The variety of formats is reflected in Friday’s musical lineup for the night: Jordan Soon, Halemanu, Amy Hanaiali’i, Homestead & Bradda Waltah, and Nuff Sedd. It will be a long night, but it’s OK; I won’t be working. I’ll be doing what I love and loving what I do.

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.