Listen & Learn Concerts

Public, private, and home schools are invited to RSVP for our annual “Listen & Learn” educational concerts. These 45-minute concerts are FREE and are the only live orchestral concerts for youth by youth. Listen & Learn concerts have been a part of HYS’s culture and community services for over 50 years!

2023-2024 Concerts

This winter, HYS is looking forward to offering six free concerts for the Oʻahu and Maui communities.

Five FREE concerts at the Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center:

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. by Youth Symphony I
  • Wednesday, December 6, 2023 9:30 a.m. by Concert Orchestra
  • Thursday, December 7, 2023 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. by Youth Symphony II

FREE concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center:

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2024 10:00 a.m. by Youth Symphony I

Venue & Parking Information

moanalua hs performing arts center

Oʻahu concerts will be held at the gorgeous Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center: 2825 Ala Ilima St, Honolulu, HI 96818

*Please note that parking is extremely limited and youth attendees should be dropped off/picked up through arrangement with their school’s bus company. For additional information, please contact HYS directly by emailing and someone can assist you.

Mahalo to Our 2023-24 Emcees

Joseph Stepec – 12/5 Emcee

A passionate arts educator, Mr. Joseph Stepec serves as the Music Director of the University of Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra, the director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony’s Symphony Program, the Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Institute and as an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Hawaiʻi.

As the director of two of the top educational ensembles in the state of Hawaiʻi, he has been featured on numerous broadcasts on radio and television that have reached thousands. 

In addition to leading orchestras, Mr. Stepec also maintains an active and varied teaching schedule. He teaches a private conducting and violin studio at the University of Hawaiʻi. Mr. Stepec studied violin performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Orchestral Conducting at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. 

Kamaka Pili – 12/6 Emcee

Kamaka Pili is host of the Aloha Authentic segment on KHON2’s Wake Up 2day. Each week, Kamaka spotlights a specific location or street on Oahu, and shares the history, culture, and significance behind its name.

The Kamehameha Schools and University of Hawaii at Hilo graduate is excited to expand his kuleana to weather, adding his own special touch to the science of forecasting.

“My passion is built around both learning and sharing Hawaii’s history and unique culture, helping to spread the message of aloha and Hawaiian culture with the world and now, through every weather report,” he says. “I felt this was the next step in becoming an active community member, to be able to provide important information that everyone wants and needs to know.”

For years, the Kailua native has produced and hosted his own talk show on community television. “Aloha Authentic with Kamaka Pili” talks story with local artisans, cultural practitioners, and prominent community members.

Some of Kamaka’s favorite stories to share are those of our kupuna. “Speaking with our elders is very interesting as they hold so much knowledge and experiences that we can only learn from,” he says. “I feel capturing these stories will help others, especially our youth and island visitors, become more connected with our lands, our history, and even with themselves.”

When Kamaka isn’t in the newsroom, you can find him outdoors, hiking in the mountains or spending time at the beach. He also loves to dance hula and relax at home, “because sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing to do.”

DOE Endorsed

HYS Listen & Learn concerts are endorsed by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education. Teachers are provided with Teacher’s Guides, CDs, and student worksheets to help students prepare for the concerts. Collateral materials help teachers meet current GLOs and state arts standards. 

Excerpt from Endorsement memo from Teri Ushijima, Ed. D. Assistant Superintendent:

“The Hawaii Youth Symphony (HYS) is offering a series of educational concert performances at the Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center that will showcase the outstanding musical talents of Hawaii’s youth. Schools from Oahu and Maui are invited to attend this year’s “Listen and Learn” educational concerts, which support instruction towards meeting the National Core Arts Standards for Music and the General Learner Outcomes.”


“Listen & Learn” concerts are FREE; seating reservations are open to schools (private, public, charter or home school associations), not the general public. If you would like your child to attend a “Listen & Learn” concert, please pass this information on to their school teacher or principal. Transportation to/from Blaisdell Concert Hall is the responsibility of the school.

Concert Content

The concerts are narrated by a professional emcee (usually a local TV or media personality), and assume no prior musical knowledge. Children learn basic concert etiquette, see & hear all instruments of the orchestra, listen to classical and popular music, and participate in sing-a-longs. One lucky child per concert might get the opportunity to conduct the orchestra!

Pre-Concert Activity Packets

Activity packets (with worksheets, playlists to familiarize students with the concert music, and other activities) will be prepared and provided electronically to the teachers who registered for the concerts. 


Though we had to suspend in-person concerts during the pandemic, HYS provided virtual Listen & Learn Concerts which aired on local television through our partners at ‘Ōlelo Community Media. They are also available to stream online. If you would like to read more about Listen & Learn, head to this issue of our quarterly Community Newsletter!

Listen & Learn concerts were and will always be FREE to attend for Hawaiʻi’s youth. If you would like to make a gift to help fund Listen & Learn and our other outreach efforts, we appreciate your support!

Who's Eligible to Attend?

Any public, private, or home school grades K-12 may submit a reservation request. Requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Because seating is extremely limited, HYS regrets that not all requests will be possible to accommodate.

Can We Lunch on the Lawn?

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to lunch on the lawn, due to venue policies.

Is Admission Really FREE?

Yes! Admission to the concerts is FREE, however you will need to be responsible for your own transportation and chaperones. The concerts are supported by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the City & County of Honolulu, private foundations, and individual donors. We respectfully ask that you make every effort to attend the concerts for which you register, out of fairness to the many others who wished to attend.

Meet the Performers!