Hawaii Youth Symphony

HYS’s Combo Program Finds Their Groove at The Combo Winter Showcase Concert on Dec. 19

HONOLULU – Hawaii Youth Symphony (HYS) and students from the organization’s newest program, The Combo Program, will be grooving to the beat of their own drums, guitars and jazz instruments at The Combo Winter Showcase concert on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at Studio 909.

“It has been an exciting year for us at HYS as the launch of The Combo Program closely aligns with our organization’s mission to broaden avenues for students to experience music and we’re delighted to introduce them to additional genres outside of classical music,” said Randy Wong, President of Hawaii Youth Symphony. “At HYS, our vision is to not only make music accessible to all young people, but to provide them with guidance and the skills needed to become better musicians and well-rounded individuals.”

The Combo Program first opened its doors earlier this summer to intermediate and advanced music students playing jazz and rhythm instruments (i.e. guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, piano, sax and trumpet). Students grades 8-12 wishing to explore other genres beyond classical music such as popular, commercial and jazz music styles were welcome to audition without any prior jazz or improvisational music experience. Under the direction of Dean Taba, Program Director of The Combo, the students’ upcoming winter showcase will feature performances of jazz and popular music pieces such as Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun,” and holiday favorites like “Merry Christmas Darling” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

“Our students have made great progress this year and they are thrilled to share their passion for music with friends, family and audiences at The Combo Winter Showcase,” said Dean Taba, Program Director of The Combo. “From neighborhood garage bands to high school music rooms, it gives me great joy to see such an eclectic group of students grow together as they learn to expand their musical capabilities.”

Opportunities for The Combo students include gaining experience in an orchestral pops setting, performing with popular vocalists and musicians and mentorship from influential musicians and industry professionals for those interested in pursuing a career in the music business. At The Combo Winter Showcase, students will be accompanying renowned jazz vocalist, Shari Lynn, as she sings songs of the Great American Songbook.

“The focus of The Combo Program is to hone in on students’ music performance skills,” said Dr. John Devlin, Music Director of Hawaii Youth Symphony. “As music educators, we recognize the significance of providing students a chance to collaborate with extraordinary artists such as Shari Lynn and the powerful impact these opportunities have on a young person’s perspective and appreciation for music and the arts.”

The Combo Winter Showcase will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Studio 909, located within the Musicians Association of Hawaii. Admission for the showcase is open and free for the general public.

A ten-time Poʻokela Award-winning actress and Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominee, Shari Lynn is one of Hawaii’s leading champions of the Great American Songbook and has made her mark as a singer, actress, writer, producer, and educator. She often appears at Medici’s in Manoa and Blue Note Hawaii.

For more information on The Combo Program and Hawaii Youth Symphony, visit

About Hawaii Youth Symphony
Established as a non-profit organization in 1964, the Hawaii Youth Symphony promotes and celebrates the importance of music study on academic achievement and social-emotional development, through its mission to develop youth to their fullest potential through orchestral music. Its programs service youth through orchestral music education, performances and community engagement. Each year, the organization serves more than 600 students ages 7 through 18 from over 100 schools statewide. For more information, call (808) 941-9706 or visit

About Dean Taba
A highly regarded studio and freelance musician, Dean Taba began his musical studies on the piano at the age of six and played French horn in the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school jazz band that introduced him to the bass and improvised music. After extensive studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a refinement of his skills on both the acoustic and electric bass, Dean relocated in 1984 to Los Angeles to become one of the city’s most in demand musicians.

As a respected clinician and educator, Taba has recently performed and recorded music with artists such as Jeff Lorber, David Benoit, Mark Murphy, Jake Shimabukuro, Andy Summers, Sadao Watanabe, The San Francisco Symphony, Hiroshima, Rick Braun, The American Jazz Institute Orchestra, Dave Koz, Jeff Richman, Pauline Wilson, The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Ho, Bill Watrous and many others.

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