David Y.Ige | HIDOE Press Release: Pearl City Cultural Center Renamed for Famous Group Manager Michael D. Nakasone

HIDOE Press Release: Pearl City Cultural Center Renamed for Famous Group Manager Michael D. Nakasone

Posted on June 25, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

PEARL CITY – The Pearl City Cultural Center on the campus of Pearl City High School has been renamed the Michael D. Nakasone Performing Arts Center in recognition of the renowned orchestra master’s contributions to music education and orchestral programs across state at a celebratory concert today. Nakasone’s illustrious career spans five decades and includes public and private schools and some of Hawaii’s most celebrated ensembles. Nakasone, 77, started as a band director at Wahiawa Intermediate School in 1968 and later led music programs at Mililani High School, Pearl City High School, Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony, Royal Hawaiian Band, Punahou School, Kamehameha Schools and, currently, at the University of Hawaii at West Oʻahu. He is widely considered Hawaii’s most influential and respected band manager.

“This incredible honor is meant to honor the efforts of many,” said winner Michael Nakasone. “It is a tribute to the community leaders, government leaders and legislators who have continued to support this wonderful resort, to the teachers and administrators at all levels who have given their wholehearted support, to the many parents and band promoters who, across decades have dedicated the energy, time and finances to support their young musicians, and above all, it is a tribute to the students who have given their time and talent to produce musical excellence.

The name change ceremony included honors from Governor David Ige; former governors. Ben Cayetano and John Waihe’e; Meaning. Michelle Kidani, Bennette Misalucha and Clarence Nishihara; Representatives Gregg Takayama, Sylvia Luke, Roy Takumi and Henry Aquino; former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann; Honolulu City Council member Brandon Elefante; Superintendent Keith Hayashi; Deputy Assistant Superintendent Heidi Armstrong; and Complex Area Superintendent Keith Hui.

The program also featured moving musical tributes from a select 100-member ensemble comprised of current and past members of Nakasone’s most distinguished bands and members of the Nakasone family. Nine guest bandleaders who collaborated with or were former students of Nakasone conducted his favorite musical numbers and included current and former band managers from Pearl City High School, Mililani High School, Moanalua High School, the Royal Hawaiian Band and the universities of Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to have their name on this building, to inspire the next generation of group students to dream of all they can be and let no one or anything stop them. to pursue their dreams,” Governor David Ige said. “On behalf of the people of Hawaii and the people of Pearl City, thank you so much for your dedication, for your inspiration, and for teaching us to be truly world class in all that we do.”

Nakasone’s dedication to students has extended to all schools throughout his career, as evidenced by his leadership of the Leeward District Band Festival, the Oʻahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) Band Festival, and his continued assistance to other school principals. school groups in the development of their concert and marching band programs. . He also helped parent booster clubs from other schools coordinate and fundraise for their group trips. His work leading Pearl City High School’s summer marching band clinics has also led to the participation of middle and high schools from all over the islands.

“His tireless efforts have helped develop music programs across the state at every level, from students learning their instruments and how to play in a band for the very first time, to our top public and private school programs and programs our state’s most historic and respected bands, Mike has been able to connect every organization he has touched and bring them together for the benefit of music and music education in Hawaiʻi,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “He is a humble man who will never take credit for himself, but countless families across Hawaiʻi have been touched by his dedication to our students and his passion for education.”

Born and raised in Hilo, Nakasone graduated from Hilo High School and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. His status as a master teacher has been credited to his continued professional development, participation in music workshops and symposia, and constant interactions with the world’s top musicians, benefiting his professional growth and that of his colleagues. students.

His distinguished track record includes induction into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors (2020), Oʻahu High School Marching Band Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), Honpa Hongwanji Living Treasures of Hawaiʻi award (2013), High School Band Directors Inducted into the National Association Hall of Fame (2012), the Governor’s Fine Arts Award (2005), the Hawaiʻi Music Award Lifetime Achievement Award (1998), the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education State Teacher of the Year (1996), and the Legion of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Honorary Inductee (1995).


Derek Inoshita

Communications Specialist

Hawaii State Department of Education

Office: (808) 784-6200
E-mail: [email protected]

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