The Next Elvis?
Since the city unveiled a larger-than-life bronze statue of Elvis Presley at the Blaisdell Center in July, there’s been talk about immortalizing more dead entertainers at the site. But before the city honors another rock ’n’ roll star with tenuous Hawaii ties, we’d like to nominate these six Island standouts, who actually deserve a space in front of the historic arena:
Robert DeMello: For 50 years, he conducted the Honolulu Symphony, which has performed at the concert hall for much of its existence. For more on this subject, see Lion King Eats Symphony.
Curtis Ward: His estate once covered more than 100 acres, including most of Kakaako. The city tore down his house in 1958 to build the Honolulu International Center (HIC), now known as the Blaisdell.
The “Fab Five”:In 1972, the University of Hawaii basketball dream team—Bob Nash, John Penebacker, Al Davis, Jerome Freeman and Dwight Holiday—consistently dazzled crowds at the HIC.
George Andrus: The Kamehameha Schools Song Contest, one of the most anticipated annual events at the Blaisdell, started as a tribute to Andrus, a music teacher at the school.
A Red Cross worker who argued that the HIC should serve the community as more than a sports arena. She envisioned an opera house on the grounds.
Neal Blaisdell: Mayor of Honolulu from 1954 to 1968, he oversaw the HIC’s construction, which was completed in 1964. The center was renamed after his death.