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Why is the Big Island a Super Retirement Choice?

Waikoloa Hilton shares with us its extensive collection of Asian art.

One of the many things that is special about the Big Island is that it’s such a community-oriented place to live.  So many segments of the community come together to support arts events and institutions.  Right now I am wowed by the response of all the people who are helping out with a March 17 benefit for the Kamuela Philharmonic (KPO). (Yes!  We actually have more than one orchestra on this small Big island!)

KPO presents phenomenal free (!) concerts at Kahilu Theatre three times a year, and also does outreach into the community to help students with music education. They have a bare-bones budget, and the March 17 gala is the first time they’ve asked for big help putting on a big event.

I am astounded by the amount of support the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is giving.  (It probably helps that our headliner is John Keawe, world-renowned slack-key guitar master.) The KPO has to cover part of event costs due to union requirements, but the Hilton, led by Executive Chef Jacques Monteil, is giving the room rental, organizing the complex paperwork regarding food and liquor donations, doing graphics and marketing, and supplying food and setup people.  It is so inspiring to experience such a source of personal AND corporate enthusiasm for the community and for the arts.

I’m writing about this because I bet that people who consider retiring here or buying a vacation home don’t suspect the depth of the cultural opportunities that are available.  Nor are they likely aware of how most of it is generated by the efforts of their potential friends and neighbors. Mainland non-profits often have a wide variety of sources from which to request operational support – not so where we live.  These are very much bottom-up maintained institutions – from the community choirs and theatre to orchestras to art shows to Hawaiiana presentations such as hula shows, craft demonstrations, and the VERY popular Full Moon Talk Story nights at the Mauna Lani Resort.

Anyone who is considering moving here should take the time to look around at local bulletins boards and discover the wealth of culture they will be able to enjoy.  You too may one day be able to say “lucky you live Hawaii”!

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