ThinkTech Hawaii with HOT

HOT On ThinkTech Hawaii

ThinkTech Hawaii founder Jay Fidell has featured HOT in three of his digital media platform’s videos this summer. Each informative video has featured an in-depth interview with a member of HOT. Watch them to learn more about opera in Hawaii and about our upcoming production of Bizet’s Carmen!

HOT Board Member Lynne Johnson talks Carmen

Coaching our Opera Stars

The Magic Of Producing an Opera

ThinkTech Hawaii, streaming live on the Internet from 11:00 to 5:00 pm every weekday afternoon, Hawaii Time, then streaming earlier shows through the night. ThinkTech Hawaii’s mission is to raise public awareness for a better Hawaii and to be the leading digital media platform promoting civic engagement in Hawaii. 

ThinkTech Hawaii is a Hawaii 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2000 in order to provide a platform for civic engagement and raise public awareness about the importance of tech, energy, diversification and globalism to the future of Hawaii. ThinkTech offers simultaneous live stream audio broadcasts of its programs, which can be found at

Arts in Education Week

National Arts in Education Week

September 11-17 was National Arts in Education Week! Our nationally recognized education outreach program reaches more than 25,000 students on Oahu and Neighbor Islands annually. 

View the infographic to see how many students and schools were reached with last year’s Opera Express and Residency programs. 



Organized student groups from Elementary School through High School can attend the final dress rehearsal of each opera as the exclusive student-only audience. Parents may also choose to expose their children (up to 18 years of age) to the opera with a Family Order. Tickets are just $7!


HOT’s Opera Express program visits Elementary and Middle Schools throughout the state to bring kid-friendly versions of some of Grand Opera’s most-loved masterpieces to students. Four performers put on complete shows, with a set, costumes, props, and even student volunteers!


HOT sets up “residency” at select schools to help the school produce a mini-opera with students in singing roles, creating sets and weaving math, literature and other lessons into the curriculum.


HOT’s Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio provides voice training for young artists pursuing careers in opera.


With the success of the HOT’s Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio, HOT created the Orvis Young Studio to provide opportunities for singers grades 7 through 12.



  • Children sharing in the joy of opera. Our nationally recognized education outreach program reaches more than 25,000 students on Oahu and Neighbor Islands annually.
  • Professional symphony musicians. HOT contracts professional musicians up to 10 weeks each year.
  • The only opera company in the state of Hawaii… and the only opera company that gives you the opportunity to see live opera and operetta.
  • The future of opera. We believe in the cultivation and nurturing of young artists through our Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio programs. Several studio alumni have grown into professional singers on national and international stages.
  • Our community. HOT supports Hawaii’s economy by utilizing local resources – from the carpenters in the scene shop to young singers in the educational outreach programs.


If you would like your school to participate in our Education programs, please call Erik at 596-7372 extension 207 or e-mail him at


Web Maintenance Sept. 6, 6pm – 10pm

Regularly scheduled web maintenance to replace a firewall may interrupt ticket transactions and page viewing on the HOT web site from approximately 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 6.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Please stand by during that time period and the website will be back online as soon as possible. 

Mahalo for your patience!

#HOTSpeaks: The HOT Chorus, Continued

Though they are often in the backdrop of a production, the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus is at the forefront of what makes HOT’s productions world-class. Time and time again, visiting artists are impressed with the dedication, the diversity, and the deep bonds that make up the local, volunteer-based chorus. In this month’s and last month’s #HOTSpeaks, we share their stories. 

Oaklea Rowe: Soprano

Oaklea Rowe joined the HOT Chorus and Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio earlier this year. Her first opera as a chorister with HOT was last season’s production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. But before the production, she was no stranger to opera. For nearly a decade, Oaklea lived in New York and sang opera professionally – even touring to companies in South America and Italy. But before moving to Hawaii, she stopped singing for a few years.

“I had stopped singing, because I just got burnt out or something. Then I heard about the studio,” Oaklea, 39, said. “I didn’t know much about it, but I felt like it was something I wanted to be involved in.”

Since then, Oaklea said she’s made a couple of really good friends in the chorus and studio. Along with music, she also loves fashion. When she’s not singing, she’s working at a boutique in Honolulu. Bizet’s Carmen will be Oaklea’s next production with HOT, and she said she’s excited for it.

“It’s about making music together and making the production the best it can be,” she said.

David Del Rocco: Baritone

David Del Rocco still vividly remembers his first opera with the HOT Chorus, although it was 12 years ago. He had always been a singer, but he never imagined he’d be singing in an opera chorus. It wasn’t until a couple of David’s friends from his church choir auditioned for the chorus that he considered trying out himself.

“I thought, ‘Well, if they can do it, I can do it!’” He said. “I realized that, you know, regular people can do this, too. You have to be a good singer, but, you don’t have to be a full-on opera singer to be in the chorus.”

Since then, David has been a part of many operas, from Puccini’s Turandot to Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. The upcoming production of Bizet’s Carmen will be his second time performing in the opera as a chorister. The opera has brought David several opportunities and friends, he said, but he has also brought something new and special to the opera. Outside of the chorus, David teaches Hawaiian Studies and dances hula. A few years ago, he decided to teach the opera singers in that production’s principle roles to dance hula after the show, alongside other choristers who play Hawaiian music. Now it’s a tradition.

“The vast majority of the principles who come over from elsewhere are so down to earth and so willing to party and learn new stuff,” David said. “And the chorus is great for that.”

Larry Whitson: Bass

Larry Whitson wanted to be in the chorus as soon as he knew it existed. But he never believed he could really do it. Classical music had been his passion since childhood, and singing in an opera was a dream of his long before he joined the chorus 12 years ago.

“When I read that the chorus was a volunteer chorus and I could do it, I just knew right away that I wanted to do it,” Larry said. “The first time I didn’t get in. But the next time I did. The biggest excitement for me was the first time I stood on that stage in the Blaisdell and looked out over that grand, empty concert hall and realized I was going to be able to perform there.”

Larry has also been a part of several HOT productions in the chorus, including Camille Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah and, most recently, the 2017 production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. The next time he will perform onstage with HOT will be for this season’s February production of Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in April.

“Each year – not even just the first time – every time I get up on that stage, it’s just a magnificent thing,” he said.

Diane Koshi: Mezzo

Diane Koshi doesn’t entirely share Larry’s enthusiasm for opera, but she does have a love for music and music education. Diane worked with the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus for 20 years and taught music with a number of other organizations before retiring. Now she directs the music department at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.

“I sing in the opera because I teach,” Diane said. “I think my students need to see that their director is involved and can do what she’s asking them to do. I’ve never fallen for opera, but I appreciate it as an art form because it encompasses all the arts.”

Despite not having fallen for opera, Diane has been in the HOT chorus for almost 25 years. Her upcoming performance with the choir in Bizet’s Carmen will be her fourth time singing the opera’s music. A few of the HOT productions that she especially enjoyed being a part of were Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Even as a seasoned music educator, Diane said she still learns new things in the chorus.

“What I enjoy most about working in the opera is the opportunity to hear different musical ideas from the maestro,” she said. “It’s a different philosophy. They share different techniques than what we usually hear.”

Bonnie Chock Burke: Alto

Surprisingly, another chorister has been part of the chorus even longer than Diane. Bonnie Chock Burke joined the HOT Chorus in 1992. And she has been a volunteer with HOT even longer – since the late 1970s. She’s worked in the box office, she’s been assistant stage director, she’s worked with costumes, she’s picked artists up from the airport, and more. And she doesn’t even currently live on Oahu. Bonnie has flown in from the Big Island for each of the many productions she’s been a part of.

“Some people think I’m crazy. They’ll say, ‘Why do you do it?’” Bonnie said. “And I say, ‘Every time there’s a rehearsal and an opera, there I am with my $500 seat.’ I can see the singers spitting. It’s worth it. Being backstage, you get to hear these professionals sing and practice. It’s just incredible to me to have that opportunity for free.”

On the Big Island, Bonnie enjoys hiking and bird-watching. But she’ll soon be moving back to Oahu, and she said she plans to be in all three of this year’s choral productions with HOT.

“All the people who come to perform for HOT say it’s incredible to see all these volunteers in such huge numbers,” Bonnie said. “I’m so proud. I know without all the volunteers we would never have opera in Hawaii.”


Support HOT with Foodland’s Give Aloha

Each year Foodland sponsors Give Aloha, its Annual Community Matching Gifts Program for Hawaii’s nonprofits!

During the month of September, Maika`i members are invited to make donations to HOT of up to $249 using the code 77600 at checkout.

Opera is the most expensive of the performing arts to produce. Even with the popularity of our productions, our ticket revenues cover less than 35% of our operating budget each year – a typical challenge for opera companies. Your gift provides the much-needed dollars necessary to close the gap between operating costs and revenue.

When you contribute to HOT your investment in the community far exceeds the operations of the company and our Grand Opera season activities.


  • Children sharing in the joy of opera. Our nationally recognized Education Outreach Program reaches more than 25,000 students on Oahu and Neighbor Islands annually.
  • Professional symphony musicians. HOT contracts professional musicians up to 10 weeks each year.
  • The only opera company in the state of Hawaii… and the only opera company that gives you the opportunity to see live opera and operetta.
  • The future of opera. We believe in the cultivation and nurturing of young artists through our Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio programs. Several studio alumni have grown into professional singers on national and international stages.
  • Our community. HOT supports Hawaii’s economy by utilizing local resources – from the carpenters in the scene shop to young singers in the educational outreach programs.

Click here for more information on Foodland’s Give Aloha Program.

Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus Enrollment

Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus Enrollment

Join in laying the foundation for the next generation of opera supporters and choristers!

The Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus is holding open enrollment for students grades K – 12 on Saturday, August 19 and Saturday, August 26.

Since 1961, HYOC has been partnering with the Hawaii Opera Theater to provide children for the grand opera stage in singing or non singing roles.  HYOC will have 15 students in the cast of Bizet’s Carmen in October, 2017. The most recent appearance of HYOC singers in a HOT production was in La Boheme (October 2016).

Visit the HYOC website for more information on enrollment.

HYOC is Hawaii’s longest running and most advanced community youth choir. The Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus offers a full spectrum of music education. It welcomes students in grades K – 12 from any school on Oahu. Each year, HYOC serves approximately 1200 students from nearly 100 schools, either through weekly involvement with the Saturday Program or in participation through outreach and festival programs. Participants range from absolute beginners to Hawaii’s finest young vocalists and musicians.

Blythe Kelsey as Ursula

Three HOT Staffers Win Po’okela Awards

The Hawaii State Theatre Council’s Po`okela Awards are presented to recognize and acknowledge excellence in local theater. Honorees were announced on Monday, August 7th, at the Ko’olau Golf Club during the Awards Ceremony.

HOT Staffers took home three 2017 Po‘okela Awards in three separate categories for their work with local theater companies.

* HOT Education Coordinator Blythe Kelsey received an award for Featured Female in a Musical for her role of Ursula in “The Little Mermaid” at Diamond Head Theatre

* HOT Director of Artistic Administration Barett Hoover was presented with an award for Sound Design & Engineering for his work in sound on “UchinaAloha” at the Kumu Kahua Theatre

* And HOT Production Coordinator Jordan Sasaki was awarded Ensemble Performance in a Play for her role of Lysander in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Hawaii Shakespeare Festival

Three cheers for the marvelously talented staff of HOT

View all 2017 Po’okela Award recipients.

HOT Orvis Opera Studio Live in Concert with Maestro Tim Shaindlin

HOT presents the Orvis Opera Studio: Live in Concert with Maestro Timothy Shaindlin, on Saturday, August 12, at the Mae Z. Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa. This free event is offered by HOT’s Education Department.

Doors to the public will open at 7:00pm; performance at 7:30pm. Both on street and limited parking are available at Mae Z. Orvis Auditorium, University of Hawaii at Manoa Music Department. Please call 808-596-7372 to RSVP.

Singers from the Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio will perform in this free concert featuring opera arias and other classical music favorites led by Maestro Timothy Shaindlin. The event is the culmination of two weeks spent with Maestro Shaindlin.

Maestro Timothy Shaindlin has been on the faculty of the Yale School of Music since 2008. He has also served on the music staffs of the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, San Diego Opera, and multiple world-renowned companies. Additionally, Mr. Shaindlin has played in classes and coachings for some of world’s most beloved voices, including such artists as Carlo Bergonzi, Sherrill Milnes, Joan Sutherland, Regine Crespin,Beverly Sills, Birgit Nilsson, Luciano Pavarotti, and Frederica von Stade.

Along with his work as a Coach and Teacher, Mr. Shaindlin has had engagements on the podium with the Wolf Trap Opera Festival and Chicago Opera Theatre. He most recently conducted HOT’s production of The Mikado (2014).

Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus

#HOTSpeaks: The HOT Chorus

Though they are often in the backdrop of a production, the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus is at the forefront of what makes HOT’s productions world-class. Time and time again, visiting artists are impressed with the dedication, the diversity, and the deep bonds that make up the local, volunteer-based chorus. In this month’s #HOTSpeaks, we share their stories. 

Marcia Wright: Mezzo

Chorister Marcia Wright has been singing for and working with the HOT Chorus for more than 15 years. The first HOT production she sang in was Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma. Since then, she has sung in about a dozen other productions, including Puccini’s Tosca, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Verdi’s Aida. When asked what the HOT Chorus means to her, she answered, “singing with people of excellence.”

“I remember my very first rehearsal at Kawaiahao Chuch. We opened the book and we launched right in, which is very different from any church choir I’d ever been in. And the sound was so glorious that I burst into tears just sitting in the middle of all those incredible voices and kind of wondering what I was doing there. It really just opened up my world and my social life.”

Marcia is retired, and while she’s not working with HOT on a production, she spends a lot of time with her church in Kaneohe. It was at the church where HOT’s Head of Music Beebe Freitas had originally recommended Marcia for the HOT choir. Though the most recent production she sang in was four years ago, Marcia remains active with HOT in the wardrobe department.

“I always look forward to the opera season rolling around,” Marcia said. “I enjoy encouraging a number of people I know through church.”

Falefia Jr. Brandon Fuamatu: Baritone

Falefia Jr. Brandon Fuamatu, 24, hadn’t discovered opera until he began studying music at UH Manoa. But once he found it, he came in swinging – literally. During Brandon’s first production with HOT – Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman – he sang while swinging from a rope. The experience, along with singing for HOT’S Orvis Opera Studio, helped influence Brandon’s decision to pursue opera as a career.

“I think the HOT Chorus is such a great example of what Hawaii has to offer to the arts, because the chorus is in itself a melting pot within Hawaii of different people who come together for music and for the love of opera,” Brandon said. “You always hear people saying, ‘There’s no chorus like our chorus.’ They’re so amazed by how diverse our chorus is ethnically and culturally, and even with our backgrounds. It’s a volunteer chorus, so I’ve sang along with lawyers, teachers – people with all kinds of different professions and backgrounds.”

Brandon recently moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where he will be continuing his pursuit of music study at Westminster Choir College. But the HOT Chorus will always have a special place in his heart, he said.

“It’s never going to be the same singing with any other chorus,” he said. “There’s such a specific way we treat each other and respect each other. It’s more of a family than it is a chorus.”

But that’s not all Brandon will miss.

“Our cookouts are pretty world famous for all of the singers who come to Hawaii from the mainland. We don’t fool around with food here in Hawaii,” he said.

Jaime Craycroft: Soprano

Jaime Craycroft also didn’t discover opera until college. Growing up in the North Shore, Jaime said she was removed from the opera scene HOT had created in Honolulu. But when her professors shared opera with her in college, she found it came natural to her. Her first opera with HOT was Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in 2014. Since then, she has sung with the chorus in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and, most recently, in last season’s production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. The chorus, for Jaime, has brought many opportunities in her career.

“What I really appreciate with the HOT chorus is the professionalism,” said Jaime, 38. “Your first rehearsal you need to have everything learned already. We don‘t spend much time correcting notes or language, and I appreciate that. I am thankful for being able to be myself vocally and being able to be with such fun and vocal people. Everyone there is a lot of fun.”

When Jaime isn’t singing with the choir or with the HOT Orvis Opera Studio, she enjoys Flamenco dancing and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She recently graduated from UH Manoa and plans to teach music and generate her own choir for youth in Wailua.

“I want to inspire and motivate other mothers and students to continue to follow their aspirations to sing on that glorious stage,” she said.

Angeliki Scordilis: Soprano

At 17 years old, Angeliki Scordilis is the youngest member of the HOT chorus, but her entire life has been surrounded with opera. She was only 6 months old when her father brought her to see a HOT production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The first opera Angeliki remembers listening to and enjoying, however, was a Metropolitan Opera recording of Mozart’s The Magic Flute when she was about 5 years old. Her combined experience in the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, which she joined at 4 years old, and the HOT Chorus have brought her onstage for quite a few productions, including Pagliacci’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, and, most recently, Puccini’s La Boheme – her favorite opera.

“It’s a little strange being the youngest member of the adult chorus, because I grew up with everyone,” she said. “And so all the people, they’re like my aunties and uncles. And now instead of watching them, I’m singing with them. The HOT Chorus is like a family. Being able to sing with them– it’s just, like, a very powerful experience.”

When she’s not singing opera, Angeliki is often studying Greek culture and music. She traveled to Greece for the first time this past summer. In the coming year she will leave her home where she grew up in Honolulu and travel to Colorado for college. She dreams of being an English teacher, but she said she’ll always enjoy opera singing.

“I’ll miss being a part of HOT productions,” she said. “It’s been something that I’ve been a part of since I was really small.”

Chris Walsh: Alto

Chris Walsh has been an alto singer with the HOT Choir since 1984, when she sang in her first production of Verdi’s La Traviata. She has since sung in nearly all of the “ABCs” of opera, she said, from Verdi’s Aida to Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress. As one of the most the most experienced choristers, Chris said she’s now reached “Kupuna status” within the choir. The productions she’s been a part of have taken her through every emotion – from feeling like her heart was “torn out of her chest, thrown on the floor, and stomped on” after singing in Puccini’s Turandot to laughing hysterically after a wall fell over unexpectedly on the set of a production of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah, revealing a group of sheepish and embarrassed choristers. But as a child, Chris hated opera. It wasn’t until she sang with HOT that she began to enjoy the art form.

“I’ve really gone through the whole spectrum of despising opera to having it be a critical part of my life,” she said. “I have met a great deal of wonderful people, have had incredible life experiences, made lifetime friends – the chorus means an awful lot to me. And it’s a joy having so many diverse people come together for a common goal.”

Off the stage, Chris works for a commercial diving company. She also enjoys cooking, weaving lauhala, and gardening in her yard in Aiea.

“I plan to keep with the chorus,” she said. “I’ll keep singing and supporting these efforts and enjoying watching new singers launch into careers.”


Read more chorister stories in the August edition of #HOTSpeaks.

Hawai'i Arts Alliance Study

Study: Hawaii Arts and the Economy

The Hawai’i Arts Alliance has released the 2017 report on The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Cultural Organizations & Their Audiences in the state. HOT is proud to have contributed to this study. 

Read the National and Hawaii State summaries.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 is a year-long nationwide study that highlights the impact that nonprofit arts & culture organizations have on our economy through job creation, tourism, direct & indirect spending, household income, and government revenue. 

In the state of Hawai‘i, spending by nonprofit arts & cultural organizations and their audiences totaled $205.6 million. Nonresidents made up 7.9% of attendees, and spent 155% more per person to attend an event, due to the surrounding expenses of lodging, meals, and transportation. Nearly 45% of nonresident attendees indicated that the primary purpose of their visit to the state was “specifically to attend this arts/cultural event”, indicating the power of the arts to drive tourism.

More information about the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study can be found here.