The 32nd Annual Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival was held Sept 27-29, 2018 in Fort Collins, Colorado, featuring Bobby Ingano and Alexis Tolentino
The 2019 Festival will be held Sept 19–21, 2019 with
Special Guest John Ely! Details forthcoming.
The festival is for players of all levels, and those who just enjoy listening!
For the past 31 years, HSGA has held an annual gathering where members showcase their musicianship, learn from each other, jam, take part in a workshop or two, and listen to world class Hawaiian Steel guitar.
President’s Message — A Summary of This Year's Festival by Frank Della-Penna
Our guest artists Bobby Ingano and Alexis Tolentino gave excellent performances. Bobby played beautifully, with spontaneous sounds of birds tweeting, sirens wailing, and choo choo trains whistling during lapses in oratory and as accents during music.
Alexis stunned the audience with her superb performance of Whispering Lullaby using double and triple harmonics. An all-around musician and HSGA scholarship graduate, Alexis played ukulele, double bass and of course performed the hula.
Jeff Au Hoy played double bass, ukulele, guitar and vocals, did a marvelous job in working with our guests from China.
Collaborative practice sessions between HSGA musicians Jeff Au Hoy and Joe Zayac and our visiting Chinese hula dancers resulted in extraordinary performances at our luau show.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the skill, beauty and grace of the members of the DANCE HULA STUDIO CHINA led by its founder and director Cindy (Yan Ying). Cindy, also known as Moanike’ala, is the first and only woman to teach and perform hula in China. Moanike’ala was observed practicing with her dancers along with Jeff and Joe at the hotel, perfecting their dances and music accompaniment for the luau and other performance sessions to the great delight of the audience.
NianZu Wang of China surprised the crowd with some old-time performances of Hawaiian steel guitar standards. We hope that DANCE HULA STUDIO CHINA and steel guitarist NianZu Wang can return again next year.
About Our 2018 Festival Guests
BOBBY INGANO was born in Lanai City, on Lanai Island. Through the family’s radio, he was introduced to rock-and-roll and steel guitar. He spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals being treated for Polio. It was here, out of boredom, that he picked up the ukulele and started to play.
Bobby is a natural, coming from an extremely musical family—everyone from his parents to his siblings, and most of his nieces and nephews, played either the ‘ukulele, guitar, bass or steel guitar. His grandfather played old swing and filipino music, his uncles and father played jazz guitar and his brothers play blues.
Bobby’s motto, which he learned from his teacher, David "Feet" Rogers, original slide steel player of the renowned Sons of Hawaii, “Never put yourself above anybody else. We are all equal. And always, ALWAYS play from your heart!"
It is this wisdom that Bobby now shares with young steel guitar players and other young musicians. He has adopted this to be his way of life. When Bobby plays, be it the electric or steel guitar, he plays with such humbleness and enjoyment, that you can't help but sit back, relax and smile.
Regarded by many as Hawaii’s best steel guitar player, he is one of the most in-demand lap steel players in Hawaii, Bobby has played with the top names in Hawaiian music including Bill Kaiwa, Kekuhi Kanehele, Martin and Cyril Pahinui, Jake Shimabukuro, Ho'opi'i Brothers and BB Shawn.
Bobby Ingano released a debut CD, Steel Reflections under the Flying Solo Music record label. Bobby's Hawaiian steel guitar artistry is featured on the Dancing Cat release, Martin Pahinui's Ho'olohe and most recently on a long overdue, second solo CD release of contemporary selections called Stranger Here. He is also a regular contributor and participant at clinics, steel guitar conventions, and music festivals.
Bobby performed on George Kahumoku’s 2006 compilation CD: Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar -Live from Maui and again on the 2007 compilation CD: Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (Daniel Ho Records), both of which won Grammy® Awards for Best Hawaiian Music Album. He was on the Grammy®-nominated compilation The Spirit of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (2008 Daniel Ho Records) and again the newest compilation CD: Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Vol 2 (2009 Daniel Ho Records) again a Grammy® Award-winner for Best Hawaiian Music Album!
Alexis Tolentino starting playing the Hawaiian Steel guitar as a child. Shortly after picking up this instrument she was awarded a music scholarship from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association. She has studied with Alan Akaka for 6 years.
Alexis has been featured in the Mele Mei Kila Kila Steel Guitar series for the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame where she played with Bobby Ingano and Greg Sardinha. She also has performed in the Maui Steel Guitar Festival, Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival, and the Kauai Steel Guitar Festival, where she was a featured performer. Alexis has played with legends and Na Hoku recipients including Ku'uipo Kumukahi, Haonani Aliopona, Issac Akuna, Wayne Shishido, Karen Keawe Hawaii, Kirk Thompson of Kalapana, Randy Lorenzo of Country Comfort and World Renowned saxophonist Michael Paulo.
An addition to her music-filled life has been dancing hula for Aunty Leimomi Maldonado at Ka Hale I o Kahala hula halau. In 2011 Alexis represented her halau as their soloist and she had "Uniki" as "Olapa" with Aunty Leimomi in 2015.
Alexis loves the sound that the Hawaiian steel guitar produces, and believes it to be unlike any other stringed instrument. And since she dances hula she remarks that the steel brings so much more richness to the music. She aspires to one day make albums and become a professional entertainer. She hopes to share her music and hula all over the world, so she can share her love of the Hawaiian steel guitar.
Hilton Fort Collins Hotel, 425 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526
2018 ticket prices:
Non-member/public: $25 per day or $70 for 3 days
HSGA members: $20 per day or $60 for 3 days
Students with College ID — FREE
Thursday, Sept. 27
Stage Schedule—Updated Saturday, Sept. 22
About the Stage Performances
Musicians sign up to play a 25 minute set of steel guitar. It's kind of like an open stage - but pre-planned with assigned playing slots each day. HSGA members get priority on all showcase stages.
All styles are welcome, but you will hear a lot of Hawaiian music. We want you to share your music. This is typically not a pedal steel showcase. The art of Hawaiian style steel playing on electric lap steels, resonator guitars, and acoustic instruments is the main focus of our event and organization.
If you wish to play on stage, you must register in advance—there are a couple of openings remaining. If you want to do a set on stage during the weekend, please sign up as you purchase your ticket online. For those registering by mail, paper registration forms will be included with the HSGA member newsletter.
Playing slots are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. We'll try and take your preferences into account. All stage playing slots are planned and scheduled by the festival committee. All players will have 25 minutes to perform, and must bring at least two sets of charts for the backup musicians. You will need to round up your own backup folks from volunteers at the festival. Don't worry - there will be many folks willing to play guitar, or uke or bass for you. Or you can bring your own backup folks. AND, all performers MUST purchase either a day or weekend pass.
NOTICE FOR PLAYERS: All playing sessions are being professionally video recorded and uploaded as public to YouTube for use on the HSGA website and social media accounts. Unless artists decline, these videos will be used in the future to document our organization's events for learning and sharing. Please see Tony Fourcroy or Chris Kennison before the end of the festival if you wish to decline sharing your video with HSGA.
About the Saturday Night Luau
Join us at 6:00pm for cash bar and social hour. At 7:00 enjoy a Polynesian-style dinner, then sit back and enjoy the Luau Floor Show at 8:00pm.
We’re planning on having the same menu for the lūʻau this year. The lūʻau dinner last year was ono! The Hilton has a new chef, but he’s from Hawai‘i so we're expecting a great meal again!
We’re booked into the smaller ballroom this year so space for the lūʻau will be limited to about 70 people. You might want to get your tickets early. Of course, you can always just show up and register for the festival and lūʻau at the door.
Note: There is a separate charge for the luau. Luau admission is not included with your festival registration. No student discounts given on luau dinner. Guests are encouraged to wear their finest Aloha wear! Lots of fun - do NOT miss it. Luau is open to the public, too, as is the entire festival.
Block Room rates are available at the Hilton Fort Collins if you book before September 2. Call the Hilton Fort Collins at (970) 482-2626 and mention the "Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association Room Block" or follow this link to book online. Group code AHS.
DIA in Denver is the fly-to location. Many options exist out of DIA for transport to Ft. Collins. There are shuttle services, and rental cars.
Green Rides Airport Shuttle
Transportation to and from the airport to the Hilton. Reserve your ride online now or call them at 970-226-5533 and mention the HSGA Steel Event.
Can I join HSGA?
Please consider becoming a member of HSGA if you are not. Membership gets you a regular quarterly newsletter and price breaks at convention hotels and events.