Meet our new HSGA President
Frank Della-Penna
Washington DC, US

Frank started on Hawaiian steel guitar at the Harlin Brothers Studio in Indianapolis. In New York City, Frank studied Hawaiian guitar with vaudville artist Roy Smeck, and nose flute and other Hawaiian rhythm implements under Calvin Ho. On Okinawa, he studied samisen under Teruya Kinyehi.

In the mid-90’s, Frank hosted and produced a public radio show, devoted to Hawaiian music and culture. He has a vast library of recordings, ranging from early wax Edison cylinders to CDs. Frank initiated a visit to the University of Hawaii with Kamaka Tom on behalf of Dirk Vogel to monitor their progress on digitizing the Vogel collection. Frank is a long-standing member of both HSGA and Aloha International. He has served on the Board of Govenors for the Hawaii State Society and performed for several years with the Aloha Boys, the Halau O’ Aulani and has performed in the U.S. Capital for the Kamehameha Lei Drapping ceremonies.

As a current HSGA board member, he has brought new members into the club, arranged for the publication of the Inaugural advertisement in the Hawaii State Society ball program, publicized HSGA outside of the U.S. by answering foreign inquiries, drafts Board minutes and serves on the Scholarship Committee. Frank is passionately commited to expanding the reach of HSGA, to better serving its members, and to fostering HSGA collaboration with other organizations devoted to Hawaiian music and culture around the world.

As an accomplished steel guitarist, Frank teaches steel guitar to young and older musicians alike and frequently performs at steel guitar conventions with great aclaim. Frank’s favorite guitarists: Isaacs, Ho’opii, Ah See, Feet Rogers, Aiona, Puaonaona Almeida, Kelii, Castro, Pahinui and Bright. He served 6 years in the Marine Corps and retired after 38 years of service in state and federal law enforcement agencies. Frank resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq.


Must see! On 5/30/17, PBS aired an episode of their American Epic series featuring the story of Joseph Kekuku.
Watch it here!