THE ARTS IN HPUJust a little background about myself. Back in the Philippines, I was very involved in the arts. I acted in professional theater productions--Mostly musicals, painted, and drew. The arts played a huge role in forming who I am today and allowed me to develop great work ethic and discipline.
The arts was actually why I went to HPU. I auditioned for the International Vocal Ensemble and got a scholarship from it.
Based on my experience from back home, here's my review on the art scene in HPU:
First, if you know what some professional productions are like, it's not the same daily, killer rehearsals. It is definitely something that you have to work hard for though. As a member of the International Vocal Ensemble, I personally have to study the songs and make sure I know everything in addition to the six hours we spend rehearsing as a group per week. Sometimes more than that. It doesn't sound that challenging but I wasn't trained in sight reading before I joined the IVE, so that was a bit of a struggle. Our director, Dr. Esther Yoo, is extremely skilled and I have definitely improved under her. She makes sure that everyone in the choir sings as a leader and contributes to the overall quality of the group. As a singer, it forced me to learn quickly in both sight reading and in singing classical music. I've definitely developed from the time I first joined. Aside from that, the IVE is really quite fun. If you like to sing and know how to stay professional while doing it, it's really pleasant. Practically all of the songs we sing are extremely beautiful, some eclectic and others ethereal but the variety in our repertoire keeps things very interesting, fresh, and fun.
We also have numerous concerts every semester. The Christmas concert is always one that should definitely not be missed, and we usually have one major concert in the spring. This summer, we're going on tour to China.
Oh, there's also the International Choir, which is not as intense as the IVE. It is basically a community choir where anyone who's interested can join. This is a good choir to try out before going into the IVE to get a taste of it.
The IVE is not all strictly work however; people are friendly with each other. I found my best friends within the choir, and during the spring, there's a concert called the Moonlit Serenade where students from the orchestra, band and the choir perform any song of their choosing. It's a real display of how much talent there really is in this school. What's a bit discouraging about it though is that even though we do get scholarships (which I am extremely thankful for), there doesn't seem to be that much emphasis in art in general in HPU. This may be an issue of all arts programs in schools, I really wouldn't know, but from the talent that I've seen within the musical groups in HPU, it really is something that should be showcased.The Musical Directors are absolutely amazing, some of the best I've known, and they definitely know how to bring out the best in their students. People put a lot of effort in the art they do, and that effort really does show.
About the orchestra and band, I personally am not a part of it so I couldn't say much about it but from the numerous times we've performed with them, I can say that they are REALLY good. Every time we have a rehearsal with them, I'm always blown away!
The theater can be found in the Loa campus. It's not very big, and is made in a way that encourages intimate shows. The teachers are extremely nice and do their best to make newcomers feel what it's like to be in theater without all the pressure. It is, quite honestly, not all that I hoped it to be though. I took a basic theater class the first semester I was here, and joined one production. The atmosphere is extremely relaxed and so does not have the push and pressure that, I feel, usually brings out the skill and talent in performers like in professional productions. It also doesn't have that feeling of intensity that puts you in 'the zone' for a play. Then again, all of this may just be my personal opinion. I decided to look outside the school for productions, which I did and enjoyed. The HPU theater is a great place to experience theater if you want a relaxing time or if you want a theater experience that is very friendly and relaxed. The head of the department is really nice and she makes sure that all her comments on performances are very constructive. It is something that people definitely should experience. For large (cast-wise or production-wise) productions, there are numerous theater organizations in the island. People are extremely friendly and the pool isn't very big so it's easy to make connections and find new productions. It's amazing how much talent you'll find in Hawai'i.
For the Visual Arts, I honestly can't say anything about this as I have not joined or witnessed any events or galleries on it. I have heard galleries being held in the Loa campus but as I do not have any classes there, I've never seen any. I'm not the person to ask for this part.
I hope this was all informative!