Lifelike sculpture of beloved Waikīkī entertainer recognizes his longtime residency at the iconic island destination
HONOLULU, 2017-Aug-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — During his prolific career in the 1960s, Don Ho was the must-see musician at International Market Place in Waikīkī, drawing record-number audiences of both Hawai‘i residents and international visitors. To commemorate Ho’s tremendous contributions to Hawaiian music and history, the reimagined International Market Place, set to celebrate its one-year anniversary on August 25, unveiled a one-of-a-kind bronze statue of the performer on Sunday, Aug. 13.
“We are incredibly grateful to all who were involved in the creation of a timeless piece that honors Don’s legacy at International Market Place,” said Ron Loch, vice president of planning and design for Taubman. “Careful consideration went into where the statue would be displayed, so we positioned it to welcome guests with warmest aloha as they enter the center from Kalākaua Avenue.”
The statue debuted on what would have marked the entertainer’s 87th birthday. Together with members of the Ho family, hundreds of admirers gathered beneath the 160-year-old banyan tree at International Market Place. Longtime friends and fellow musicians including Henry Kapono, Melveen Leed, Marlene Sai, Nina Keali‘iwahamana, Kimo Kahoano, Nathan Aweau, Joe Mundo, Angel Pablo, and James Dela Cruz performed in a kanikapila jam session and musical tributes to Ho. Ho’s family members also joined the festivities, which were attended by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Governor David Y. Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige were also in attendance.
“Don was the essence of Hawai‘i, the embodiment of aloha. He won the world over with his passion for community, his fellow servicemen and of course his love for music and his charming charisma. We are incredibly proud of his legacy,” said his wife Haumea Ho. “This is Don’s homecoming, to a place he loved dearly, and we are honored that through this memorial he will continue to share his aloha for decades to come.”
Designed by O‘ahu-based artist Kim Duffett, the 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound bronze sculpture depicts Ho in the 1970s, and was created to convey his warmth, charisma and carefree aloha that charmed audiences. Duffett conducted substantial research on Ho’s life, gathered historic photos and talked story with the singer’s family members and countless friends to gain inspiration. “I wanted to create a signature performance pose as if Don was beckoning someone in the audience to join him on stage, as he often did,” said Duffett, who also is a musician and participated in the kanikapila.
During his International Market Place residency at Duke Kahanamoku’s lounge, Ho revolutionized the Waikīkī showroom scene with a simple, good-time lounge show that spotlighted his laid-back and affable personality. He scored a worldwide hit with “Tiny Bubbles,” earning him a national recording contract and an assemblage of best-selling albums, television appearances and his own namesake network variety series.
Don Ho’s statue dedication is part of the month-long celebration of International Market Place’s one-year anniversary (August 25). Other events and promotions include the Island Vibes Summer Concert Series, Waikīkī Nights: Duke Kahanamoku Movie Night in partnership with the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku and Duke’s OceanFest, a chance to earn HawaiianMiles and a special performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band.
For more information visit www.shopinternationalmarketplace.com/events; Instagram: @intlmktplace and in Japanese @intlmktplacejp; Facebook: facebook.com/IntlMktPlace and in Japanese at facebook.com/IntlMktPlaceJP.
About International Market Place
Located in the heart of Waikīkī, International Market Place is a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment destination featuring a curated mix of upscale and lifestyle brands, and the first Saks Fifth Avenue in Hawai‘i. The shopping center is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Operating hours for restaurants and department store will vary. For ease of access, the center provides 700 parking spaces and convenient valet parking. For more information, visit shopinternationalmarketplace.com and in Japanese ja.shopinternationalmarketplace.com.
NOTE: The book “Don Ho: My Music, My Life” (Watermark Publishing, 2007) by Don Ho and Jerry Hopkinswas utilized as a research source for this release.
Assistant Marketing and Sponsorship Director
International Market Place
Director – Account Services
Anthology Marketing Group
808-539-3428 (o) / 808-349-3746 (m)
Source: Taubman Centers, Inc.