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Imua 'Iolani

“Just for Funk”

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On Wednesday April 12, 2017, the Just for Funk band gave an outstanding performance at Center Courtyard. Just for Funk is the only band composed of both faculty and students from ’Iolani: Josh Sunada ’17 (trombone), James Gushikuma ’17(trumpet), Daniel Ferrer ’18 (tenor sax), Nathan Hue ’18 (saxophone), Logyn Okuda ’22 (drums), Elvis Imamura ‘22 (guitar), Mr. Park (keyboard), and Mr. Greenhill (bass).

The band played a variety of Funk music including “Way of the Haggis,” by The Haggis Horns; “Metropolis,” by Brother Strut; and “Pick Up the Pieces,” by Average White Band. In addition to the rhythmic, danceable funk music, the group plays soul and R&B. According to Mr. Greenhill, it’s like what the great saxophonist Marceo Parker once said, “We play 2% jazz and 98% funk stuff!” However, Just for Funk is “more like 20% jazz and 80% funky stuff.”

In addition to the band’s positive vibes and infectious tunes, the name, Just for Funk, adds all the more enthusiasm to the band’s atmosphere. The name came from the band’s goal to play just for fun and to make life more enjoyable on campus.  “Funk was our raison d’tere, our reason for being,” said Mr. Greenhill. Since they were playing just for fun, “Just for Funk seemed like a natural pun.”

The band originated in 2008.  After Mr. Greenhill performed twice in Faculty Follies, he wished to play Funk music instead, so he decided to recruit some faculty and students to form a musical group. There had been a “funk void” on campus since none of the many talented groups on campus played funk music. So, once Just for Funk was born, a positive vibe was added around the school as the band filled the void. After playing a couple times between October 2008 and March 2009, they have played every year in March or April ever since, having last week’s performance be their 10th.

When asked what they enjoy most about being in the band, several of the members commended the opportunity the band gave them to connect with teachers outside of the classroom. Through their experience with the band, they were able to make new friends from a variety of grades. Coincidentally, Hue ’18 already knew two of the band members, Okuda ’22 and Ferrer ’18, before becoming a member of the band, and now he is able to build their friendship through music.  They can collaborate their ideas into something they are all passionate about: music.

Just for Funk’s music contains infectious tunes that leaves you dancing and humming all day. The band gives both the audience and the members themselves a chance to enjoy lively and happy funk music. Being a member of the band for only one year, Hue ’18 said, “It was a privilege and an honor to share the stage with them.”

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The School Newspaper of 'Iolani School.
“Just for Funk”