Written by Emily Mullins
The real meaning of Christmas is often lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and Ken Makuakane wanted to do something about that. To uplift the spirit of peace, love and joy, the award-winning musician and program associate of the United Church of Christ's Hawai'i Conference brought together a group of top Hawaiian musicians and artists for "A Hawaiian Christmas," a one-hour television special to air on NBC affiliated stations across the country this holiday season.
"In the program, Hawai'i Conference Minister, the Rev. Dr. Charles Buck, says it best when he says, 'The Christmas season is the gift of peace, joy, love, hope – the kinds of things that need to be shared widely,'" Makuakane said. "So how do we share this message with the world in a nondestructive, non-defensive way? It is through the gift of music."
Filmed at Honolulu's Kaumakapili Church UCC, the program will feature well-known Hawaiian artists including Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, Afatia Thompson, Obrian Eselu, John Cruz, Ginai Hill, Roddy Lopez, Jeff Rasmussen, Riya Davis, and Alden Kaiaokamalie. Hawai'i State Senator and member of Kawaiaha'o Church UCC Brickwood Galuteria will narrate the event, which will include special appearances by Buck and Kaumakapili Church Pastor the Rev. Richard Kamanu.
"There are interviews with some of these artists who reflect about their childhood Christmas memories," Makuakane adds. "[Kaumakapili Church] was recently remodeled and is the perfect backdrop for the show."
The program aired on local Hawaiian television stations last year, but the conference is excited to share Hawaiian Christmas traditions with a wider audience this holiday. "A Hawaiian Christmas" is being made available to NBC stations through the National Council of Churches and the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a partnership between the ecumenical community and major television networks.
"It is very exciting for us to be able to get our word out to UCC churches in Hawai'i and other places," said the Rev. Diane Weible, Hawai'i Conference associate minister. "We're excited to shine a spotlight on the UCC."
The program will air on NBC affiliated stations this holiday season. Please check your local NBC affiliate for broadcast dates and times.