U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
Thanks to the generosity BAE Systems, a worldwide partner of the United Service Organization, a free, public concert, Na Mele o na Keiki, “Music for the Children,” is scheduled to be held at the Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific band and local celebrities Danny Kaleikini and Chris Vandercook were on hand Nov. 13 to show their support as the media was made aware of the event, designed to support the Toys for Tots campaign.
The concert will feature the MarForPac band playing holiday favorites along with some local entertainers.
“People can expect to see the full Marine concert band performing all the traditional Christmas songs they can imagine and songs with the guests,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Sherlock, MarForPac band officer.
Along with Kaleikini and Vandercook, other local artists who will be volunteering their time and talent to perform with the MarForPac band include Carole Kai, Jim Nabors, American Idol finalist Jasmine Trias, Jake Shimabukuro and the Honolulu Boy Choir.
“Events like this take our attention away from the commercial aspect of the holiday and bring it back to the giving aspect,” said Vandercook. “For us musicians, music is what we have to give.”
Vandercook said it is an honor to be able to perform alongside the MarForPac Band.
“I am an admirer of the Marine Corps bands,” said Vandercook. “The desire to pursue excellence and the discipline instilled in Marines creates excellent results in musicianship.”
Through the concert, which has been more than a year in the making, the Toys for Tots campaign hopes to raise awareness of the program in Hawaii, according to Chuck Little, MarForPac deputy director of public affairs.
“Music is a universal language,” said Kaleikini. “By bringing together our military ohana (family) and local ohana, the less-fortunate children (keiki) in Hawaii benefit.”
Marines from Kaneohe-based 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, a reserve unit, are scheduled to be on hand to accept donations to the Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots drive.
Marine vehicles will also be on display.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chris Witley, Toys for Tots coordinator. “People can come out and see a free concert while giving less-fortunate children a Christmas.”
The concert is this year’s anchor to the Toys for Tots campaign due to the size and expectations of the event, according to Whitley.
The hall seats 2,100 people, and the Toys for Tots campaign is hoping to receive just as many toy contributions.
The event could potentially make a huge impact on the campaign’s goal of collecting 40,000 toys this year, according to Whitley.
Beginning Nov. 21, free tickets will be available to the public at the Blaisdell Center box office.
There is a four-ticket limit per person.
A limited number of tickets will be available for MCBH personnel through their local Information, Tickets and Tours office.
When those run out, personnel are welcome to go to the Blaisdell box office for tickets.
“I invite everyone to come join us in the spirit of aloha for a night filled with talent to benefit the children of Hawaii,” said Kaleikini.