Aspiring musicians at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College have a new student scholarship thanks to a small act of kindness by a Hawaiʻi music legend nearly 40 years ago. That’s when Dr. Laurel Lee Roberts, then a college student herself, sat on the beach outside the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki, to hear the beautiful operatic range of Emma Veary.
“Ms. Veary would tell her paying audience that the next song was for ‘friends on the shelf’ or for her ‘scholarship friends’,” said Dr. Roberts. “She would then turn and sing to her fans on the beach who could not afford to buy a ticket to a Waikiki concert.”
While decades have passed, those memories are still strong for Dr. Roberts who is now an attorney in Southern California.
“I wanted to show my deepest appreciation to Ms. Veary for my fond memories through this named scholarship, and give opportunities to Maui youth to create even more beautiful music for future generations,” added Roberts.