I'm at the Hawaii Theater, and I can't believe my eyes.  In front of me are 3 gorgeous women that need no introduction...  Carole Kai, Melveen Leed and Nohelani "Nohe" Cypriano.  They are the female leaders of the entertainment industry in Hawaii, known collectively as the Local Divas.

Loyal Garner made up the fourth member of this elite group of artists.  Sadly, she passed away this November.  Her singing talents and warm personality earned her the memorable title of "Hawaii's Lady of Love" and will be missed by all who were familiar with her hit songs.  My personal favorite?  Blind man in the Bleachers.

I am here to watch the Divas rehearse for their upcoming concert titled "This One's for You, Loyal".  They will be performing on December 19 at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel's Hawaii Ballroom from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  The original show (shaped and directed by Loyal herself) was scheduled for November 29th and was rescheduled after Loyal's passing.  This performance will be an heartfelt tribute to the life and times of Hawaii legend Loyal Garner from her closest friends.

Mel Cabang, though not an official Diva yet, will be offering his comic wit to December 19ths concert audience as well.  He has been close friends with the ladies for many years, and after trading smiles, hugs, and verbal quips he's ready to start rehearsing.

The sound of an ABBA song fills the room as 3 graceful women start to swirl on stage.  They are being choreographed by Peter Rockford "Tau" Espiritu of Tau Dance Theater in Aiea.  He started the theater in the early 1990's, and really got it moving in 1997.  Since then, he and his group have been cranking out show after show and is now at the forefront of Hawaii's performing arts and theater community.  Tau lends his talent for dance and stage direction to this rehearsal, giving a small pointer here and a teeny instruction there to the Divas.  His method is laid back and his effect is subtle, but it certainly seems to work as the girls (and Mel too!) work the stage to perfection.

The question is, 1) is Tau a great director? or 2) are the Divas just that good?  The answer, 3) all of the above.

When talented individuals get together, they make things look so easy.  The session goes on without any major glitches and only stops when one of the gang thinks up another joke to throw in to the routine.  I can't stop laughing, as each of the four try to top one another with a punchline, pratfall, or funny face.

Seeing these four get together is like seeing four high school buddies interacting together.  As I share laugh after laugh with this wild bunch, it becomes clear to me that they aren't so much a "group" as they are a family.  The closeness is evident, and the comradeship is obvious.  These women have FUN together... throw in Mel Cabang and it becomes a riot.

"I'm the crazy one...", Melveen says as she goes over a comedy cab driver routine with Mel.  She can definitely hold her own when it comes to comedy, and catches Mel off-guard with a burst of quick ad-lib one-liners.  "That's some great stuff Melveen", Mel says as tries in vain to stop chuckling at Melveen's immigrant taxi cab driver impersonation.

Suddenly, Carole Kai takes a dive on the floor for the team... The pratfall (one of her own improvisational ideas) effectively stops the rehearsal as we all can't stop laughing.  She's wearing an expensive business suit too (someone get that girl a lint brush!)  Seems she's been hanging around Augie and Lanai quite a bit lately (She produces Jan Ken Po which airs every Sunday), and it's beginning to show.  We quiet down only to see if she's alright, then bust out laughing again once she starts brushing floor dirt and dust mice off of her skirt.

When the divas finally recover from Carole's >splat<, Nohe begins to sing along with the taped soundtrack.  Her voice sounds so great, even when she's just 'messing around' at rehearsal.  Instantly, I'm reminded of why she possesses multiple Hoku awards.  "Ey, no one told us there would be cameras today!  I'm not dressed up like Carole is!  "  That's okay Nohe, you're still a beauty and your voice is no ka oi!

411 Conclusion: What more can I say about these women?  Beautiful, talented, funny, nice... The list goes on and on. Each member has achieved success on her own.  Each member is in fact a beloved part of entertainment in Hawaii.  On December 19th at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom, these women will be showcasing their ample skills and aloha.  Portions of the ticket sales will go towards the Loyal Garner Medical Fund, to take care of some of the tremendous costs incurred by Loyal's treatments.  If you want to be entertained "Diva Style" and feel like a part of the family, come down to the show on the 19th... Humor, Song, Memories and Emotions will be traded that Wednesday night.  Don't miss a minute of it!  If you need tickets, please call 922-4422 today for best seating.  This one's selling out fast.  From what I saw today, the show will definitely be a winner!


A sneak peek of "This One's for You, Loyal"