Maui Arts & Entertainment

Longtime Maui Arts Patron Auriol Flavell Honored

December 5, 2013, 3:51 PM HST
* Updated December 6, 8:15 AM
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By Vanessa Wolf

Auriol Flavell. Courtesy image

Auriol Flavell. Courtesy image

Auriol Flavell is a major patron of the arts on Maui. Arguably the MACC, MAPA and Maui Pops wouldn’t be the same without her.

She was a founding board member and continuing sponsor of the Maui Pops Orchestra and was on the boards of the Maui Philharmonic Society and the Maui Symphony Orchestra.

A sponsor and producer for the Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA), Flavell is also an active supporter of scholarship and school drama programs at Baldwin High School and Seabury Hall.

This dynamic force on the Maui arts scene is turning 90 soon.

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As a result, MAPA is honoring her Friday, Dec. 6 with a birthday event, and Maui Pops and MACC are jointly honoring her with a luncheon on Sunday, Dec. 8, just prior to the Holiday Pops event.

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Flavell first came to Maui in 1953 with friends from Vancouver Island.

By the late ’60s she was living here six months out of the year – the longest time possible as a Canadian citizen – until she eventually obtained American citizenship.

Shortly thereafter, she began to get involved in the local theater scene.

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“I started working with MAPA in 1973 or ’74 when it was still Maui Youth Theater,” she explained.

“At that point, Linda Takita was running it. She was doing some children’s productions and when there would be special plays we’d do them at the hotels.

It was a wonderful time for so many people. A lot of the children who were in the program – like Amy and Eric Gilliom, for example – have gone on to do magnificent things.”

Flavell’s involvement – and the celebrations being held in her honor – isn’t limited to MAPA.

“I’ve been involved with the MACC since day one. I served the very first big dinner there with my husband as part of the grand opening. It was before the very first show: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Flavell recalled.

Similarly, she soon found herself part of another new venture on Maui.

“Jim Durham was playing at a community gathering one day, and I asked him, ‘Do you think it would ever be possible that we could get another orchestra going?.’

“So we tried to get Valley Isle Orchestra going, but Maui wasn’t quite ready for that. This was after the symphony folded, but I suggested we try it again as a pops orchestra.”

Soon thereafter, Flavell approached he MACC while Durham started gathering music teachers, remnants of the original symphony and anyone interested in playing.

“We called it the Maui Pops Orchestra,” she noted, and a luncheon in her honor is being held before their holiday show on Sunday.

Hyperion Knight. Courtesy image

Hyperion Knight. Courtesy image

Good timing and helpful friends seem to have played a part in her success, as well.

“When the Maui Pops Orchestra was young, I left to go on a cruise in Africa,” Flavell recalled. “My husband and I went from Cape Town to New York and on that ship – the Crystal – I met Hyperion Knight, the pianist on board. He had dinner with us one night and I asked if he’d be interested in doing a concert in Hawaii.”

“He asked ‘Why?’ and I told him, ‘Because I’m starting an orchestra there.’”

Knight obliged and will be joining the Pops Orchestra again this Sunday.

Flavell expressed appreciation for Knight’s continued support and added, “I’m very grateful to the MACC and the courtesy that they’ve always shown me… not to mention the pleasure I’ve had from all the wonderful performances there.

“My other great love is putting on major musicals – like Les Miserables this summer – and we hope to keep doing that with MAPA. The MACC helped in that endeavor by giving us two weekends. It’s the community all coming together and trying to bring wonderful entertainment to Maui.”

Although the celebrations for Flavell are private, you can partake in some of her hard work by checking out the Holiday Pops concert this Sunday Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. in the MACC’s Castle Theater.

Knight will perform Grieg’s “First Piano Concerto,” one of the most popular piano concertos ever composed.

In addition, Nā Leo Lani O Maui, Maui’s Hawaiian Community Choir join the Maui Pops for a program of holiday favorites titled “Peace On Earth.”

Tickets are $15, $30, $40, $50 and half that for those 18 and younger.

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