History of the Waialua Bandstand: 1920s – 1950s

Old Waialua Bandstand

Waialua Bandstand, 1930’s. Courtesy of Roger Borges. Honolulu Advertiser 12-20-2001

Various members of the community, talking story at the annual Waialua Library’s “Heritage Days” in 1997, reminiced about an old bandstand that used to sit between two banyan trees in the park across the street from the library. Some remembered it as being the center of activity for the sugar mill community. In an article from the Star-Bulletin in 2002, Waialua resident, George Tanabe, was quoted as saying the “Waialua bandstand means peanuts, soda pop and 10-cent hot dogs at the band concerts and boxing matches during the 1920’s and 1930’s.” Another Waialua resident, Jacob Ng, reported, in the same Star-Bulletin article, remembering the bandstand being used as a stage for Christmas plays sponsored by the Waialua Sugar Mill. He also recalled the Royal Hawaiian Band performing there and music festivals like the May Day program. Other old timers remembered it as a “gathering place” for members of different plantation camps to visit and share dances and music. It was remembered as being a meeting place for union members in the later years.

Interestingly, some people remembered a cute, multisided bandstand and others remembered a four-sided stage with a roof. A picture of the four-sided stage with a roof taken in the 1930’s was brought forth by Haleiwa resident, Roger A. Borges and published in the Star-Bulletin in 2001. The photo was taken by his father, Roger Borges Jr., but no pictures ever surfaced of the cute multisided one. It is not known for sure when this old bandstand was taken down, but some residents felt it was sometime in the 1950s.

History of the “new” Waialua Bandstand: 1997—2017

New Waialua Bandstand

New Waialua Bandstand, 2004 – present.

The lovely, “new” Waialua Bandstand sits on the corner of Goodale Avenue and Kealohanui Street, across from the Waialua Library in the heart of Waialua Town in the same park as the “old” bandstand. It was completed in 2004, and held its first concert with the Royal Hawaiian Band on May 1, 2004. Since then it has been the site for free monthly concerts held on the first Sunday of the month, except for February when the first Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. Production of the monthy concert series is undertaken by the non-profit organization, Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park.

The idea for this new bandstand was actually sparked by stories that surfaced during the “Heritage Days” held at the Waialua Library back in 1997. When Ken Martyn, a Waialua resident, heard the stories about the old bandstand he began imagining how nice it would be to have a bandstand like that in the community again. The Waialua Sugar Mill, which had been the backbone of the community, had closed a year earlier and there was concern about the sugar mill community losing its closeness and community spirit. “Maybe a new bandstand in this little park could be a new town center, drawing community members together for concerts and family picnics and other community events,” Ken began thinking. He mentioned this to his wife, Rhoda, and her response was, “Well, don’t just talk about it, do something.” And of course, that’s exactly what happened. Ken and Rhoda Martyn together spearheaded the effort, inspired community support, and guided the project until a new bandstand was completed in Waialua and a non profit organization was created to manage free concerts in the park and other bandstand community goals.

The timing for such a project was perfect because Mayor Jeremy Harris had just released his 21st Century Oahu Project, which was a community based visioning program giving neighborhoods some control and funding priority for their own community development, urban planning, and beautification projects. The idea took hold and many community members got excited about the idea and were willing to take action to make it happen.

The following is a time line of events that took place after the concept of a new Waialua Bandstand took root in 1997.

Time Line

1997- 1999: Ken and Rhoda Martyn began to gather community support for a new bandstand. Over the course of the next two years they garnered support from the following people and organizations: Representative Alex Santiago, October of 1997; the Waialua High School Principal and music department; the Committee on Parks and Recreation of the Waialua Town Master Plan Task Force, August of 1998; North Shore Empowerment Proposal Group, and North Shore Outdoor Circle, September 1998; Waialua Town Master Plan Task Force, October 1998; Friends for Waialua Town, fall 1998; the immediate neighbors of the bandstand park, and Councilperson Rene Mansho, November 1998; and North Shore Community Vision CIP (capital improvement priorities), January 1999. In the spring of 1999, the North shore Neighborhood Board gave its recommendation to the City to build the bandstand.

1998: City Councilperson, Rene Mansho, placed a Zoning “P” for park use on the facilities map indicating an unoffical support for the project.

Local artist, Margo Goodwill, helped the community visualize a new bandstand in the park near the old Sugar Mill by rendering a beautiful water color painting of a “plantation era” bandstand. The painting reflected both the wishes and the history of the community.

Margo Goodwill, Waialua Bandstand concept

Margo Goodwill, watercolor, Waialua Bandstand vision

Work continued with the team acquiring advice, construction ideas, and estimates from City Planning on ownership, tax map, and zoning. Ross Moody created sketches, drawings, a tentative sight plan and rough estimates. Waialua High School Bandleader reviewed and approved the drawings.

1999: Jan 19, With the help of Alex Santiago, a meeting was set up with Jerry Vriesenga, President of Dole, to begin communications to see how he felt about the possibility of a bandstand on the Dole property. Apparently, Mr. Vriesenga had wanted to see the property used as a country farmers’ market and to promote a Visitor’s Center. At the meeting Ross Moody was to show how the bandstand idea he had designed would fit in very well with the “market” idea.

June 30, Ken Martyn spoke to the City Council on behalf of Bill 35, North Shore Development Plan. It was item 2 on the agenda that Wednesday afternoon. From his notes for the presentation, he made three summary points: 1.) the history behind the bill, 2.) the civic, cultural, and community impact of the bill to bring together citizens and restore a sense of community in Waialua and 3.) the positive economic impact it would have on the community. Ken was well prepared to let the City Council know of all the work that had already gone into making this project happen, such as gathering all the community groups’ support, getting advice and construction ideas and estimates, including sketches, drawings, tentative sight plans and rough estimates from Ross Moody, as well as conversations with Dole president, Jerry Vriesenga, who had indicated an interest in selling the property.

Ken Martyn spoke many times of the important role that Ross Moody played in getting the bandstand built. Ross had been a building contractor, and he knew the ins and outs of dealing with the bureaucratic offices required for completing a construction project.

The City Council passed Bill 35 designating the property as Park with the bandstand officially on the Development Plan Public Facilities Map.

July, One month after Bill 35 passed, and with the support of Councilperson Rene Mansho, the City and County budget allocated $150,000 for the purchase of the land and closing costs, and $70,000 for design and construction costs. In Ken Martyn’s notes to the Community Steering Committee he underlined the following statement: Rene Mansho and her staff, especially Reed Matsuura, have provided really outstanding help, guidance, and support for this project every step along the way.

The Waialua Masterplan Task Force formed a community steering committee to facilitate the relationship between the community of Waialua and the government of the City and County of Honolulu in the development and promotion of the Waialua “Bandstand in the Park.” Members of the Community Steering Committee were Jenny Viera, President, Friends of Waialua Town; Reed Matsuura, Chief of staff for Councilmember Rene Mansho; Ross Moody, President of Moody Construction Company; John Hirota, Land Manager for Dole Hawaii; Peggy Paty, Stewart Ring, North Shore Development Plan; Remy Repollo, Mamo Miner, Casa Paracalles and Dianne Nunez, Park neighbors; Kathleen Pahinui, President of North Shore Neighborhood Board; Alan Nekota, Lois Carney, George Williams, and Ken and Rhoda Martyn. Later Charlene Terukina, Lloyd O’Sullian, Joni Shiraishi, and Keith Awai were added. Ken and Rhoda Martyn were co-chairs for the committee.

August, Ross Sassamura, Director and Chief Engineer for the Department of Facilities and Maintenance announced that David Ayer, of the architecture firm Stringer and Tusher, would be the consultant assigned to the project.

Dec. 17, First purchase meeting with Dole took place. Representing Dole was John Hirota, property manager for Dole Foods Hawaii. Representing the City and County of Honolulu was Ross Sasamura, Engineer; Jerry Iwata, Department of Land Survey and Acquisition; David Ayer, architect from Stinger and Tusher; and the Surveyor from W. R. Thompson. Reed Matsuura, aide to Rene Mansho, and Ken and Rhoda Martyn represented the North Shore Vision Team.

2000: By March, Walter Thompson Inc. had completed a survey of the property, and appraiser Chuck Shipman had been hired to appraise the property. The appraised value was $121,050, as the estimated fair market value to purchase the 1.205-acre parcel from Dole. The City Department of Land Survey and Acquisition sent a written offer based on the Chuck Shipman appraisal to Dole, and Dole indicated that it would likely approve this offer. However, by Dec 6, 2000, Dole still had not responded in writing to the offer that was presented, and some preliminary action was in the working by the City to begin condemnation processes. Later, Ken Martyn met with Dole leaders to pitch the advantages to Dole of accepting the Shipman appraised value for the purchase price, rather than contesting that $121,050 value. Soon after that meeting, Dole decided not to contest Chuck Shipman’s $121,050 appraised value as the purchase price.

The total area to purchase had been reduced somewhat to eliminate the problem of gas tanks and a cesspool on the plot. Now the area to be acquired included all the trees and green area and part of the parking to a line about 20 ft. beyond the then-current fence on the property.

July 7, The first construction design meeting was held on the site. Here the direction the bandstand should face was discussed. Also, the general look of the bandstand was considered, at this time, and the community was clear that it wanted a “Plantation Look.” It was also decided at this time that the care of the trees and the landscaping planning would include consultation with the North Shore Outdoor Circle.

2001: Dole Food Company sold 1.205 acres to the City and County of Honolulu for $121,050 and the City and County of Honolulu took possession of the land on April 30.

June 27, Community Steering Committee for the Bandstand in the Park met with representatives of City and County offices to discuss plans for the development of the park and the bandstand. The City and County representatives were Ross Sasamura, Chief Engineer; Dave Ayer, Architect from Stringer Tusher; Tony Macawile, Project Coordinator from Department of Design and Construction; Wilford Ho, District Manager, Department of Parks and Recreation; and Gerald Parks, Environmental Assessment Report.

2002: The City appropriates $296,000 for design and construction costs for the Waialua Bandstand.

August 31. Ground breaking Ceremony.

Groundbreaking Ceremony, August 31, 2002

Waialua Bandstand Blessing

Pastor Saffory of Queen Liliuokalani gives the blessing for the Park and Bandstand.

Waialua High and Intermediate Band

Waialua High and Intermediate Band plays various selections.

Margo Goodwill and Jim Erikson

Among the crowd was Waialua artists, Margo Goodwill, (hat) and Jim Erikson. Margo created a lovely painting of a plantation style gazebo to help in visualizing a new bandstand.

Ken Martyn gave opening remarks

Ken Martyn gave opening remarks and recognized honored guests.

Ross and Marian Moody

Waialua residents, Ross and Marian Moody. Ross was Treasurer of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park from 2005 until 2014. Ross was also instrumental in the early construction designs, and helping to deal with the city planners.

Reed Matsuura & Malcom Tom

Reed Matsuura, on the right, with Malcom Tom, managing director for the City. Reed was Waialua born and raised and an avid supporter of the new bandstand. He worked in the offices of city council persons, Rene Mansho and Donovan Dela Cruz, and often provided thoughtful advice on how to deal with the City bureaucrats and leaders.

Oct, By the 13th of October construction had begun and the foundation for the new bandstand had been poured.

Ken & Rhoda Martyn

Ken and Rhoda Martyn stand in front of the newly poured Waialua Bandstand foundation. Photo by Richard Walker of the Star Bulletin, 10-13-2002.

Dec, Work on the bandstand continued to progress.

Bandstand Under Construction

Don Robbins photo from the Ka Nupepa, 12-25-2002.

2003: Jan, The roof and cupola had been added.

Bandstand Nearing Completion

Photo by Eugene Tanner, from the Honolulu Advertiser, 1-03-2003.

The Community Steering Committee began to think about forming a tax-exempt group for “Friends of the Park and Bandstand,” which was later named “Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park.”

May, Articles of Incorporation for Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park was filed with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Oct 8, First organizing meeting of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park met. A nominating committee was formed to identify officers for the organization. Ken Martyn was the temporary Chairman for this meeting.

2004: March, Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park elected its first officers. Ken and Rhoda Martyn were elected Co-Chairs, Wayne Delventhal was elected Vice Chair, Lois Carney was elected secretary, and Richard Weil was elected Treasurer. Although not an elected position, a crucial one, was the program chair. Robert (Nate) Nathanson was appointed the first program chair and continued to identify appropriate music and dance groups and schedule the concert series each month until his health forced him to retire in 2016—twelve years of dedicated service to the community.

Robert (Nate) Nathanson, Program Chair for Friends of Waialua Bandstand from 2004 until 2016—twelve years of dedicated community service, during which time he organized more than 125 concerts. Donna Nathanson helped each month with advertising the concerts by making lovely posters and placing them around the community. She also helped with serving the pizza to performers at most concerts.

Nate & Donna Nathanson

April, Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park submitted its Application for Recognition under Section 501 (c) (3) of Internal Revenue Code. The purpose of the organization was for “charitable and educational purposes of assisting, encouraging, and promoting musical, cultural, and educational programs at the bandstand in the Waialua Park.”

May, Dedication of the new bandstand on May 1. Mayor Jeremy Harris’s office organized the event and brought the Royal Hawaiian Band for musical entertainment. Hundreds of people turned out for the concert and to snack on free shave ice, popcorn and ice cream. It was an exciting day for all those that had worked so hard to see the realization of this bandstand dream, and for many community members harboring hopes of revitalizing Waialua.

Dedication of the new Waialua Bandstand, May 1, 2004

Dedication Ceremony

Dedication of the new Waialua Bandstand in the Park, May 1, 2004. Photo by Bruce Asato, in Honolulu Advertiser, May 2, 2004

Special Recognition to Ken and Rhoda Martyn by City and County of Honolulu

Recognition Ceremony

The City recognized Ken and Rhoda Martyn at the dedication ceremony on May 4, 2004, and congratulated the Friends of Waialua Bandstand. Ken and Rhoda are flanked by then-Councilmember Donavan Dela Cruz and Mayor Jeremy Harris.


Certificate from the Honolulu City and County Council awarded to Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park.

May 26, Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park received notice from the IRS that it was given Foundation status under Section 501 (c) (3).

June 6, Start of the first Sunday afternoon Community Concert Series. The Army 25th ID(L) Tropic Lightning Jazz Band played.

2005: Feb, Ken and Rhoda Martyn resigned as co-chairs of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park in anticipation of their move to California in June. John Cutting was elected the new Chairman of the organization and is still the Chairman today, Sept. 2017. Wayne Delventhal continued as Vice Chair, Ross Moody took over as Treasurer and kept that position until 2014, Lois Carney continued as Secretary (membership and correspondence) and Kathy Lee took over as recording secretary. Also, at this time, Linda Nakasono became chair of the hospitality committee. She purchased and served refreshments, with the help of her daughter, to the performers at the end of each concert for ten years.

John and Peggy Cutting. John has been Chairman of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park from February 2005 to present—12 years of dedicated community service, leading Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park. In addition to leading, John has attended almost every concert—helped with the setup, welcomed the community, introduced the performers, and recognized our corporate sponsors. Peggy has been right beside him the whole time, and has jumped in whenever needed—helping with publicity, hospitality, and organizing programs.

John & Peggy Cutting

2006: Board of Directors of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park voted to solicit local business sponsors to help offset cost of providing the free monthly programs and to help Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park fulfil its mission. A specific business supporter would be recognized at each concert to honor their support.

Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park began its School Mini Grant project by inviting music and band teachers in local schools to submit proposal for $1000 grants to help support school music programs.

2008: Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park amended the Purpose stated in their by-laws to add, “and to provide assistance to school music programs.” Under the previous Purpose the Friends of the Bandstand could only assist and encourage musical, cultural, and educational programs at the bandstand in the park, this amendment would allow the Friends to assist directly in the schools.

Bandstand gets its first website, waialuabandstand.com—thanks to Jerry Driscoll of the North Shore Soap Factory.

2011: Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park helped to bring opera into the school by funding the performance of Hawaii Opera Theater’s “on tour” opera in the schools at Waialua Elementary School. The children loved the opera and the “Friends” continue this annual support.

2013: Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park bought six ukuleles for Waialua Elementary School children to be used for afterschool music lessons.

2015: Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park offers its first college scholarship award, Rock My World Scholarship, to three Waialua High School seniors. One $1000 and two $500 awards were given. This scholarship was continued in 2016 and 2017, and the “Friends” will continue to offer the scholarship for as long as the funding is available.

2016: Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park sponsored an after-school class for 4th and 5th grade students focusing on music and science, called STEM Sound Garden. The idea came from Waialua resident Cynthia Archibald (Archy), and she was curriculum designer and the lead teacher. About 15 students participated one afternoon a week and learned to read and write simple music and play their music on the keyboard or ukulele. They also explored what sound is, how it is made, and how to make musical instruments and other fun science concepts.

2004 – 2017: Since May 1, 2004, Friends of Waialua Bandstand has presented a free concert at the Bandstand every first Sunday of the month, except for February when the first Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. The Royal Hawaiian Band has continued to play at the Bandstand each year, and so has the Waialua High and Intermediate School bands. The “Friends” have also hosted various hula halaus, blue grass groups, military bands, other dance bands, and Hawaiian music bands.

Sunday Afternoon at the Waialua Bandstand

Sunday afternoon at the Bandstand Park. On the right in the blue shirt is Dick Weil. He was the first Treasurer of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park, and an active member until his death in 2016.

Sitting beside Dick is Lois Carney, the first Secretary of the Friends and an active member and supporter for many years.

Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park continues to provide the Community Concert Series each year and support music programs in the local schools. This is all possible because of our wonderful corporate sponsors and members of Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park. If you are interested in joining and helping us deliver our mission, please contact John Cutting at cuttingj002@hawaii.rr.com or Kendra Martyn at kendramartyn@yahoo.com, or visit us at our next Sunday concert.

Researched and written by Kendra Martyn.

Resources: notes and documents, minutes from Friends of Waialua Bandstand in the Park board meetings, conversations with Ken and Rhoda Martyn and Reed Matsuura, and newspaper articles.