Anyone familiar with Hawaii’s vibrant theater scene will find the credits of this last-minute Christmas release ample reason to buy a copy. One of the producers is multitalented composer and vocalist Roslyn Catracchia, a core member of the ‘Ohi‘a Productions production team and an occasional stage performer. The other is her longtime musical partner, arranger and music programmer David Kauahikaua, known outside the theater community for his work with Frank De Lima. Several other participants have extensive credits in musical theater or opera: Mary Chesnut Hicks, Megan Mount and Zenia Zambrano Moura, to name three.
A majority of these Christmas songs celebrate Christ’s birth. Christina Souza sings “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” over an expansive orchestral arrangement. Vanessa Benavente conveys the awesome promise of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen,” Mount stars in “No Eye Had Seen” and Moura’s voice soars over Kauahikaua’s dark yet inspirational arrangement of “What Child Is This.”
There are also songs with secular themes. Catracchia sings of Christmas seen “Through the Eyes of a Child,” and her mother, Beebe Freitas, plays celeste, an instrument that sounds similar to a glockenspiel, on a beautiful arrangement of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker.”