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Top 20 things to do on Maui, Dec 14-23: Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga, Lukas Nelson in benefit concert; Nutcracker; Goat Day; holiday events : Maui Now


This week on Maui, there is so much to do to celebrate the holidays, help raise funds for wildfire survivors and be entertained around the island by comedians, musicians young and old, and even goats.

And, coming soon is the ʻukulele-powered band Kanekoa in its “Make Any Kine Christmas” concert.

Check out Maui Now’s Top 20 list below. And for a comprehensive list of upcoming events – concerts, shows, entertainment community activities and outdoor gift markets – for this week and beyond, click here.

No. 1 – Lukas Nelson, Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga perform in wildfire survivors’ benefit concert at the MACC (Dec. 17, Kahului)

Lukas Nelson (center) and Promise of the Real. Photo Courtesy

A benefit concert — featuring Lukas Nelson, Jack Johnson (Solo & Acoustic), Nathaniel Rateliff, Paula Fuga and Lily Meola, with family and friends Donavon Frankenreiter, Promise Of The Real and more — will take place at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

At the special gathering under the stars called “Lōkahi – a Celebration of Maui,” all performers are donating their fees to local Maui charities to support the community after the wildfires.

It was Nelsonʻs vision of lōkahi to create the event. Lōkahi is the Hawaiian word for people coming together to take care of one another. For more information, go to Maui Arts.

No. 2 – Steve Grimes’ duo in benefit for wildfire survivors (Dec. 15, Kīhei)

Steve Grimes

An evening of stories and songs from Steve Grimes and his Ono Grimes Band takes place at ProArts Playhouse on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The majority of proceeds will benefit the Maui wildfire victims.

The music presentation, organized by Mana’o radio, ranges from “funky to folk, from rumor to humor, from heartbreak to hope.” Grimes is known as a songwriter and luthier, making collectible guitars on Maui for decades. For more information including tickets, go to ProArts Maui.

No. 3 – Alexander Academy presents The Nutcracker at the MACC (Dec. 16, Kahului)

The Alexander Academy presents the full length ballet The Nutcracker on Saturday at the Castle Theatre of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. This ballet features the beloved music by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, with artistic directors Absalon Figueroa and Amelia Nelson. Costumes are by Jennifer Oberg and her Sewing Hui and Alexander Academy.

This classic ballet tells the magical tale of young Clara who befriends a Nutcracker who comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. The Nutcracker turns into a prince and takes Clara on an enchanted journey to the Land of Snow, where they are welcomed by dancing snowflakes in a forest wonderland and then travel to the Land of Sweets where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The prince delights in sharing the tale of the daring battle with the army of rats and all are rewarded with a beautiful celebration of dances.

There are two performances, at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $40 and $50 plus fees. Keiki 12 and under are half price. The Academy is hosting a Toy Drive fundraiser. Donate used or gently used toys. Donations accepted at Alexander Academy 870 Hali’imaile Road, Makawao or at the MACC’s front gate collection tables during performances at the MACC. For more information including tickets, go to Maui Arts.

No. 4 – Nutcracker Sweets (Dec. 15, 16, 17, Wailuku)


This weekend, Momentum Dance Maui and Maui Onstage presents Nutcracker Sweets. Be whisked away with Clara on her magical adventure through the enchanted Land of Sweets in dreams of a fantastical world filled with dancing Snowflakes.

Clara is led to the Land of Sweets where she is greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, enchanted by characters from faraway places like China, Spain, Arabia and Russia, and mesmerized by the Waltz of the Flowers and Dew Drop Fairy. It’s directed by Kathleen McKeon with her team of talented choreographers including Katie Higuchi, Camille Romero, and Jackie Dowsett.

This year’s production features more than 50 actors and dancers in a unique storyline written by theater expert Camille Romero and costumed by the Kathleen Schulz. The performances are on Friday at 7 p.m., on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information including tickets, go to Maui Onstage or call 808-242-6969.

No. 5 – Keiki Holiday Festival at Imua Discovery Garden (Dec. 16, Wailuku)

Keiki Holiday Festival. PC: Imua Family Services

An Imua Holiday Children’s Festival takes place at the Will Smith Imua Discovery Garden on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. The festival includes: music and entertainment, holiday caroling, Ben’s Big Blue Building Blocks, food trucks, face painting and other activities for children, a tree lighting ceremony, and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

There also will be live animal visits with alpacas, rabbits, tortoises, a goat and cow. Take home your very own butterfly chrysalis.


The festival is an opportunity for children of all abilities to experience the holiday spirit in a fun and safe outdoor environment in the community. For more information including tickets, registration, parking and a shuttle service to the Imua Discovery Garden at 2471 Main Street, go to Discover Imua.

No. 6 – Special Holiday Show at Ku’ia Estate Chocolate Factory (Dec. 17, Lahaina)

The Angela and Phil Benoit Holiday Show with special guest Mark Johnstone takes place at the Ku’ia Estate Chocolate Factory on Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. It’s part of the nonprofit Jazz Maui’s series, where proceeds go to fund music workshops in Maui schools.

Angela and Phil are “Benoit Jazzworks” and play their original music, jazz standards, bossa nova, pop, and Hawaiian swing. Angela’s vocals are smooth and rest somewhere between high alto and low mezzo-soprano while Phil provides a swinging guitar. Johnstone is best known for his keyboard work with the Grammy- nominated Mick Fleetwood Blues Band and The Island Rumors Band.

Sunset Jazz concert attendees must be 21 or older and have a valid photo ID. Seating is limited and often sold out so advance ticket purchase is required at JazzMaui.org.

No. 7 – Free movie ‘Christmas with the Kranks’ at South Maui Gardens (Dec. 18, Kīhei)

South Maui Gardens is hosting a free movie night on Monday at 6:30 p.m., featuring the holiday classic “Christmas with the Kranks.” It follows the hilarious adventures of the Krank family as they attempt to skip Christmas, only to find that the holiday spirit has other plans for them.

Park at the gravel lot at 35 Auhana Road. For the best spot, come early to score ono grinds and non-alcoholic drinks from more than 10 food trucks, which stay open until 9 p.m. No outside food is allowed. 

No. 7 – Jocelyn Michelle Jazz Organ Band at ProArts Playhouse (Dec. 16, Kīhei)

The Big Island Jocelyn Michelle Jazz Organ Band performs at ProArts Playhouse on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It’s a holiday show and part of the ProArts Jazz series. Michelle will be performing with guitarist John Rack, drummer Sammy K, saxophonist John Zangrando and trumpeter Paul January.

Michelle attended the University Of Miami School Of Music and then played organ and keyboards all over south Florida. There, she met her husband, guitarist John Rack. The two have played at several jazz spots in Hawaiʻi, including Jazz Minds in Honolulu and Gertrude’s Jazz Bar in Kona. Sammy K has recorded or performed with a number of well known artists, including The Manhattan Transfer, Burt Bacharach, Dave Brubeck and Steve Lawrence. For more information including tickets, go to ProArts.

No. 8 – Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra Winter Concert (Dec. 16, Kula)

The Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is holding its Winter Concert at the Waipuna Chapel at 17 Oma’opio Road on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The orchestra features beginning strings, a string ensemble and concert strings. There’s a link on its website to the orchestra playing from Brahms Symphony No. 1, Winter. For more information, go to mauiyouthphilharmonic.org or call 808-283-6723.

No. 9 – Goat Day celebration at the Surfing Goat Dairy (Dec. 16, Kula)

Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula. PC: Cammy Clark (11.18.23)

To celebrate new ownership at Surfing Goat Dairy, the farm is hosting “Goat Day” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Local musician Brian Santana will be playing and seven Maui-based vendors will be set up in an outside area overlooking the valley. The event also will include cheese tastings, keiki activities, including crafts and face painting, and tours throughout the day.

Participants also will be able to see this season’s baby goats, with the first new additions arriving last week. For more information about the farm, click here.

No. 10 – Benny Uyetake + Office Ladies at Ocean Organic Farm (Dec. 17, Kula)

Benny Uyetake

An afternoon and sunset of live music with a panoramic view of the Central Valley is scheduled at the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery on Sunday. Bring a sweater or jacket. The Office Ladies duo perform island grooves at 2 p.m., followed by Nā Hōkū Hanohano winner Benny Uyetake, a slack key and ‘ukulele master with a broad repertoire of music. He’s opened for a variety of musicians including Boz Skaggs and Judy Collins.

Other entertainers at Ocean Vodka Organ Farm during the week include:

  • Thursday: 2023 Nā Hōkū Hanhano winner Tarvin Makia performs island grooves, Hawaiian influenced jazz, blues and rock
  • Friday: Guitar master Pat Simmons duo with special guest performs island-style grooves.
  • Saturday: Trio Nevah Too Late sings Hawaiian Island grooves.
  • Monday: CJ Boom Helekahi plays the ‘ukulele and sings his award-sinning falsetto voice
  • Tuesday: Lahaina-born Ikaika Cosma, a guitar master, sings island-style grooves
  • Wednesday: Guitar virtuoso Larry Endrina from Lana’i sings island-groove, rock and soul music.
    Island Grooves, Rock and Soul.

No. 11 – Fast Freddy & the Blue Lava Blues Band at Mulligans On The Blue (Dec. 15, Wailea)

Fast Freddy and Blue Lava Blues Band

Fast Freddy & the Lava Blue Blues Band will perform at Mulligans On The Blue on Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There’s a dance floor.

Fast Freddy started playing drums at the age of 16. At that time, he lived near Fillmore West and began to meet several well-known blues greats like Albert King, Luther Tucker and Willie Dixon. For more information, including tickets, go to Blue Lava Blues. Table reservations are recommended.

No. 12 – ‘The Lion In Winter’ at Maui Academy of Performing Arts (Dec. 14-17, Wailuku)

The play “The Lion In Winter” continues its run on Dec. 14 through 17 at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts. It was written by James Goldman, who won an Academy Award for the screenplay. Maui poet Elizabeth Fellows said the show was “spellbinding.”

It’s directed by David C. Johnston and starts Paul Jackel, Peggy Harmon, Rocco Dahl, Shane Borge, Jefferson Davis, Mehta Park and Joseph Duncan. For more information, go to MAPA. It is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including a 15-minute intermission.

No. 13 – Unmuted Comedy Tour visit Maui (Dec. 17, Māʻalaea)

The Unmuted Comedy Tour presents comedians Ahern Belisle, Ronda Lee and Corky G. at da Playground Maui on Sunday at 8 p.m. Belisle is a Canadian standup comic living with cerebral palsy – a performance proving nothing can silence his comedic talent. He uses a text-to-speech app on his phone to deliver hilarious and relatable humor that earned him a spot on America’s Got Talent.

The show includes Maui’s Ronda Lee Kitts, the 2023 Maui Roast Battle winner and a nominee for Maui’s Best Comedian 2023, and Corky Garner, the Maui Times Awards 2016 Best Local Comedian.

Ages 21 and over. Doors open at 7 p.m. Parking is free after 5 p.m. with local ID. For more information including tickets, go to da Playground.

No. 14 – Arlie Avery-Asiu performs at Island Fresh Cafe (Dec. 17, Pāʻia)

Arlie-Avery Asiu

Nā Hōkū Hanohano nominee Arlie-Avery Asiu performs at the Island Fresh Cafe on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The restaurant has a brunch with live music. Asiu who has recorded and released four instrumental ‘ukulele albums of his original music is best known for incorporating a variety of music genres, from jazz to rock, and from classical to Hawaiian.

His musical stylings blend ‘ukulele with cello, bass, saxophone, and various percussion instruments. His latest album “Arlie & His Magic ‘Ukulele” was released in 2021. For more information including reservations, got to Island Fresh Cafe or call 808-446-0298.

No. 15 – Golden Era of Electronic Dance Music at da Playground Maui (Dec. 15, Māʻalaea)

Touring party producer Feels So Close celebrates the golden era of Electronic Dance Music or EDM at da Playground Maui on Friday at 9 p.m. Electronic Dance Music of the 1970s rose in popularity again in the second half of the 2000s with new sounds and artists and beach rave parties.

Come get lost in the lights and return again to the spirit of festivals, friends and those big moments. DJs will be playing all the classic festival anthems, with music inspired by more than a dozen artists, including Zedd, Alesso, Calvin Harris, Avicii, Kaskade and Skrillex.
Ages 21 and over. Doors open at 9 p.m. Parking is free after 5 p.m. with local ID. For more information including tickets, go to da Playground. General admission is $20.

No. 16 – Grammy winner George Kahumoku and Anthony Pfluke (Dec. 17, 24, 31, Kīhei)

Anthony Pfluke (left) and George Kahumoku

Singer-songwriter Anthony Pfluke performs with multiple Grammy winner George Kahumoku at Nalu’s South Shore Grill on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pfluke performs Hawaiian and island-influenced music. Kahumoku is known for his slack key compositions and Hawaiian songs, many tied to his family and farming lifestyle. For more information, go to NalusKihei.com.

Kahumoku continues his Slack Key Show on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Napili Kai Beach Resort. The show also features slack key artist Shem Kahawaii and hula dancer Wainani Kealoha.

No. 17 – John Cruz performs at ProArts Playhouse(Dec. 20, Kīhei)

John Cruz. PC: courtesy

Award-winning composer-singer John Cruz performs at the ProArts Maui Playhouse at Azeka Place Shopping Center on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. It’s an intimate setting featuring this Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winner at home in his resident playhouse. Cruz, composer of the song Island Style, also contributed to the Grammy award-winning album Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2.

More than 1 million listeners stream Cruz’s recordings each year. He participated in Playing For Change’s All Along the Watchtower video, with more than 12 million views. For more information including tickets, go to proartsmaui.com

No. 18 – Danyel Alana and Vince Esquire at Nalu’s (Dec. 14, Kīhei)

Vince Esquire and Danyel Alana

Blues, soul and rock singer Danyel Alana performs with ‘ukulele virtuoso Vince Esquire at Nalu’s South Shore Grill on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Alana’s music includes a wide variety of genre. She has performed with Willie Nelson, Buddy Miles, Mick Fleetwood and The Wailers. Her latest album is on her website.

Esquire is a prominent ‘ukulele player in the band Kanekoa that has successfully toured in Hawaiʻi and western states and is the lead vocalist in his Vince Esquire Blues band.

No. 19 – Soul & Heart at Hano Hano Pool Bar (Dec. 20, Kīhei)

Kelly Covington and Margie Heart

The duo Soul & Heart perform contemporary easy listening music from smooth jazz, Bossa nova, folk, some Hawaiian and original music at the Maui Coast Hotel’s Hano Hano Pool Bar on Dec. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Kelly Covington plays the drums and flute and has worked with the late Fulton Tashombe in her band Raw Silk, Grammy Award-winning producer Narada Michael Walden and American Idol’s Randy Jackson.

Heart is a percussionist and plays the guitar. She has performed at many of the top resorts on Maui. For more information, go to the Maui Coast Hotel or call 808-874-6284.


No. 20 – Kanekoa performs at ProArts Playground (Dec. 23, Kīhei)

Kanekoa performs a holiday concert “Make Any Kine Christmas” at ProArts Playhouse on Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Maui’s Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winning band Kanekoa is becoming a global phenomenon. Powered by electric ‘ukuleles and exotic rhythms, these ‘ukulele masters have performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The Grateful Dead’s drummer Bill Kreutzmann called them, “the Hawaiian Grateful Dead.” David Hidalgo of Los Lobos said, “These guys scare me. They are that good.” For more information including tickets, go to ProArts Maui.

Editor’s Note: Send inquiries or event listings with attached photographs about Maui Entertainment, Arts and Community events to [email protected]. To add events directly to the Maui now events Calendar, click here.

Source: Maui News

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