2019 Five Star Aloha Gala
The Hawaiʻi Chamber of Commerce of Northern California presented its 17th Annual Five Star Aloha Gala on Friday, May 31, 2019, at the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel at Union Square in San Francisco. This is our organization’s signature event and serves as a venue for honoring individuals and organizations with our Kūlia I Ka Nuʻu (Strive for the Summit) Award for contributions in promoting the Aloha Spirit throughout Northern California and beyond.
The 2019 Five Star Aloha Gala honored Andy Bumatai with the Kulia I Ka Nuʻu Award.
Andrew Jackson Bumatai, of Hawaiian, Filipino, French and German descent, was born in Germany, but attended Waianae Elementary, Intermediate and High School in Hawaiʻi. After a brief career in sales, Bumatai tried his hand at stand-up comedy in 1977, appearing between sets for the legendary Frank De Lima at the Noodle Shop in Honolulu. He then replaced Rap Reiplinger in the comedy group Booga Booga for about a year. Returning to a solo career, Andy Bumatai received a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award, the Hawaiian equivalent of a Grammy Award, in 1979 for “Most Promising New Artist” and went on to win three more Na Hoku awards, for “Best Comedy Performance” in 1980, 1981, and 1995. During this period, he performed stand-up comedy extensively on the mainland and in Hawaiʻi, with an occasional stage, television, or film role. Bumatai also created a number of TV specials for Hawaiʻi’s KGMB, most notably “High School Daze” and “All in the Ohana.” More recently, after a bout with throat cancer, Bumatai has revived his stand-up career, as well as hosting a couple of online YouTube programs.
Program and Details
17th Annual Five Star Aloha Gala
Friday, May 31, 2019
5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Westin St. Francis Hotel – Union Square, Golden Gate Room
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Attire: Formal or business attire, black tie-optional.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES: RICK QUAN
Rick Quan is a two time Emmy award winner. He currently works at ABC7 TV as a fill in sports anchor and as the field reporter for it’s “After the Game” college football show. Before coming to San Francisco, he was a sports anchor for the ABC affiliate in Honolulu. Rick also runs his own video production company and recently produced an award winning documentary on legendary dancer Dorothy Toy.
HAWAIIAN MUSIC ARTIST: STEVEN ESPANIOLA
It’s rare when an artist arrives on the scene offering a refreshing new spin on a traditional genre of music. Steven Espaniola is that artist. Raised in Aliamanu, Hawai‘i and now residing in the California Bay Area, Steven is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in kī hōʻalu (Hawaiian slack key guitar), ‘ukulele, upright bass, and leo kiʻekiʻe (traditional Hawaiian falsetto). Of Hawaiian, Filipino, and Spanish decent, his ethnicity is as diverse as his unique sound which preserves the integrity of the traditional with a flourish of the modern. His debut recording entitled Ho‘omaka, “to begin”, features a mesmerizing collection of traditional and original Hawaiian mele recorded by Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning producer Dave Tucciarone. Ho‘omaka will be sure to transport the listener to the Hawai‘i of yesterday with soaring falsetto vocals, nahenahe slack key guitar and rhythmic ‘ukulele. Steven Espaniola’s highly anticipated debut album will carry you on a musical journey you won’t soon forget. In 2007, Steven’s musical efforts earned him the recognition of “New Artist of the Year” at the Hawai’i Music Awards. (www.stevenespaniola.com)
HAWAIIAN MUSIC ARTIST: FAITH AKO
Faith Ako, a longtime resident of Northern California, has been performing and preserving Hawaiian Music for more than a decade. She has brought her deep soul tones and island blends to appreciative audiences throughout the greater Bay Area, Southern California, Boston on the East Coast and her home state of Hawai’i. Her first breakthrough album, Kukahi, earned her two Hawai’I Music Awards. Her second album, Papaku, garnered further accolades as it earned a Grammy entry in the Hawaiian genre category in 2010. Her third album, a grand recipient of the Kūlia I Ka Nu‘u Award, (Strive for the Summit Award) along with the beloved Mayor Ed Lee’s San Francisco’s Certificate of Honor Citizen Award has most definitely proven that aloha lives. (www.faithako.com)
MUSIC ARTIST: UKULENNY
Lenny San Jose, aka Ukulenny, is an ‘ukulele performer, educator, and jam leader based in Oakland, CA. He began his ukulele career in 2009 on the Bay Area Rapid Transit, playing his uke back and forth on his daily commute. Since then has gained over 60,000 YouTube subscribers, and performed in Festivals in the Bay Area, Sonoma Wine Country, Reno, Los Angeles, and San Diego. As a sponsored Kala Ukulele Artist, he creates video content for their Learn to Play Program, and facilitates Uke Circles across America. (www.ukulenny.com)