The Glass Candle Band (Hawaii)

The Glass Candle Band: Surviving the Test of Time

Time is a fragile thing.

Each year melts away faster than the last. For musicians, recording a song is the single greatest tactic to succeed the test of time.

Luckily for Glass Candle, their music survives with a handful of live recordings made with a cassette plugged directly in to the sound system.  A set of vocal and horn microphones picked up everything you’re hearing, no mixing or dubbing.

The Glass Candle Band (Hawaii)

The Glass Candle Band at Duke's in Waikiki

Announcement: Glass Candle reunion in Honolulu, December 16, 2011

The Glass Candle Band returns for a 70s Reunion Christmas Dance Party
Special guests Little Albert Maligmat & DeShannon Higa
Featuring Doug Rivera, Garin Poliahu, Kurt Kaminaka, Dale Nishikawa, Ken Suesz, Bruce Imai, Robert Shinoda.
8pm // Friday, December 16, 2011 // Hawaiian Brian’s
Tickets $10 advance / $15 door

For tickets call: (808) 224-0520

*Update on the reunion show, coming soon!

The Glass Candle was a band that played in various nightclubs in Honolulu, Hawaii in the early 1970s. The band, formed by guitarist Robert Shinoda in the 1960s, played at many high school dances in and around Honolulu. Venues like Kaimuki gym, Nu’uanu YMCA, Manoa gym, and many more on Oahu.

Most notably, Glass Candle ‘graduated’ to the Waikiki nightclub circuit and played from midnight until 4:00 AM at Duke Kahanamoku’s in Waikiki in the early 1970s.

Glass Candle Band

The last versions of Glass Candle. Clockwise from upper left: Frank Marcella, Bobby Gonzalez, Robert Shinoda, Larry Trella, Doug Rivera, Dirk Thomas, Joe Goodman.

Horns, original music, snazzy outfits, and songs from bands such as Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, and Tower of Power made Glass Candle a favorite for Honolulu’s club-goers.

Those were the days… and the bands that played bring back great memories. Bands like Greenwood, Forgotten Dynasty, Glass Candle, Johnny’s Rock Society, White Light, Pinky’s Rose Garden, Funny Company, etc. *sigh*

Then as we grew older and started hitting the nightclubs, more bands came to light such as Natural High, Power Point, Aura, Asian Blend, etc. *sigh*
— Rodney Lee, Mid-Life Crisis 

Glass Candle disbanded in the mid 70s and the members went on to various endeavors. Sometime around 2006, Hawaii experienced a resurgence of interest in popular nightclub dance bands that played in and around Waikiki in the 1970s.

Groups like Greenwood started reuniting for 21st century performances. As public interest (and audience sizes) grew, more and more bands reunited.

It was bound to happen: Glass Candle reunited for a performance at the 70s Nightclub Reunion in 2008. Time tested their talents, but the musicians prevailed by giving one of the best performances of the night.

From the Glass Candle soundcheck at about 1pm that Saturday you could just feel the vibes, feel the electricity. It was so cool to finally hear the band during their soundcheck and meet in person people I had always heard of and looked up to.

And they did not disappoint at all. Not only great musicians and singers but they were so down to earth, respectful, humble and just good people enjoying the moment.

Doug Rivera who was actually found about a week or so before the event told me, “I would never miss this opportunity to do this.”

But perhaps one of the coolest things to come out of all of this was Glass Candle bandleader Robert Shinoda writing in an email to our band’s leader Robin Kimura, “If it wasn’t for this we would probably have lost touch with one another and perhaps never seen each other again ever.”
glasscandleband.com 

Glass Candle at Duke's

Glass Candle at Duke's in Waikiki

A fan’s testimonial of their 2008 reunion reveals the excitement of hearing one’s favorite band perform after so many decades:

I graduated from Iolani [High School] in 1973 and Glass Candle was always my favorite band. I loved it when they were booked for our Student Council dances. Later I would spend many late nights at Duke’s dancing and being entertained. For all of these years I’ve had fond memories of the band and whenever I got together with old friends and talked about dances and clubs, I would always bring up your group.

Last week I chanced on the article in the Friday entertainment section of the Star Advertiser about Nohelani playing with her band at the 70’s Reunion. About the fifth paragraph down, when I saw the mention of Glass Candle being one of the acts, my mind went “WHAT! GLASS CANDLE?*&(%$#@^!+.” I read through the article carefully and didn’t get any more information about your appearance, but immediately showed the article to my wife and said that Saturday night we HAD TO go to the show.

Beyond my wildest expectations! That’s how great you guys were performing that night. We showed up on time not knowing where you would be scheduled in the rotation, and we enjoyed the first two sets a lot. All of the music we heard that night was great, but when your set began, my wife and I made sure to be on the dance floor and we stayed there for the entire set.

The group amazed me by being so together after all of these years. It must be such a rush for you to be together again. The vibe from the dance floor was that you guys were on top your game, and having a great time. I have a great big smile on my face right now thinking about the performance that night.

Even when these fragile moments melt away like a glass candle, the passion of artists proves stronger than history itself.

The music of Glass Candle lives on.

Listen to more music by Glass Candle on YouTube and their website.

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