Our Islands, Our Future

Christmas, celebrated in numerous ways all over the world, is a joyful time. While many people on Maui have endured grief and suffering caused by the devastation of the August 7 wildfires, the Christmas season brings hope and faith for a better future. Maui resident Cameron Keys is a firm believer that Santa and music can spread joy during the holiday season. For the past 25-years, Keys has been a popular and beloved Santa on Maui. Also, 25 years ago, he founded and currently directs the Maui Madrigals, a costumed a-capella singing group that performs throughout the island at different venues.

A madrigal is a Renaissance-style vocal music setting of poetry. Each voice sings a different melody and reflects the emotions in the lyrics. Madrigals also focus on telling a story, providing an engaging performance that Renaissance musicians and audiences love. “The individual singers must blend their parts with the other singers’ parts to complete the whole fabric of the music,” Keys explained. “This one-on-one unaccompanied singing is both fun and challenging. It is also a very intimate kind of performing, requiring subtle communication among the singers to establish tempo, dynamics, starting and stopping, and creating an emotional sense in the music.”

“When I decided to form Maui Madrigals, I had no idea the group would become so popular,” Keys noted. “People love Renaissance music! We dress up and look like Christmas packages. What’s most fun is that entertainment and audience participation are a vital part of each concert. When everyone leaves with a smile on their face, we know our work was well done.” 

Likewise, Santa Keys loves Christmas. He has brought festive holiday cheer all through the years to both locals and visitors around the island. Plus, he has been Santa Paws at the Maui Humane Society. “Making people happy through music, or being Santa for people and pets, is what it’s all about,” he added. “There is nothing greater than seeing the children’s faces light up when they know they are talking to the real Santa.” (Is Keys the Real Santa? See him Saturday, December 23rd, at Maui Mall to find out!)

There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than giving joy. We can all make a difference! MERRY CHRISTMAS! Cameron Keys, Maui Madrigals founder & a Maui Santa