Tighten your grass skirts and ukulele strings and get ready for tonight’s second annual celebration of Polynesian culture put on by Iaorana te Otea, UCSB’s Polynesian dance club.
Iaorana te Otea is hosting its second annual Island Wishes benefit concert to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties, an organization that fulfills the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases. The event will take place tonight at 7 in Campbell Hall.
Fire dancers and hula dancers from the local dance groups VEX and Hui O Lokahi will perform in the show, which also features dancers from Iaorana te Otea and slack key guitarist Patrick Landeza. This is not Landeza’s first trip to UCSB – he performed in Lottie Lehmann Concert Hall in November 2002.
“We are thrilled and excited to have him back,” Christine Apa, a senior Asian American studies major and adviser for Iaorana te Otea, said. “He’s awesome.”
Apa organized the first Island Wishes celebration last year when she was president of Iaorana te Otea. She decided to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation after seeing the positive effects the program had on a family friend of hers. The daughter of her mother’s friend was diagnosed with cancer, and was granted her wish of going to Disneyland by the Foundation.
“It truly uplifted the girl, and she ended up being a survivor,” Apa said.
Current president of Iaorana te Otea, Desa Sanders, a senior English and sociology major, said this year’s event will focus on Polynesian culture, differing from last year’s multi-cultural performance.
“We really wanted this year to be our own type of show,” Sanders said. “To expand and be a purely Polynesian cultural show.”
Tickets are $5 for students and $7 general admission. Iaorana te Otea club members will sell tickets at a table in the Arbor on Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or they can be purchased at the door. Apa said all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year the event raised $950 for the Foundation, but Apa said she predicts that this year’s amount will at least double that because the group has had a lot more time to organize and prepare for this year’s event.