Maui Arts & Entertainment

Beatles opened for touring band

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By Gary Kubota

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. Photo courtesy: Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Songwriter Hall of Fame recipient Felix Cavaliere said his song “My Hawaii” came to him from the warm receptive atmosphere whenever he visited the Hawaiian Islands on tour.

Felix Cavalier. Photo courtesy: Maui Arts & Cultural Center

“The warmth of the people is what inspired it,” he said. “My Hawaii was written in response to the wonderful ʻOhana feeling that we received from the islands. Whenever, The Rascals went to the islands , we were able to bring at least two or more family members from the mainland.”

Cavaliere will be performing at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Thursday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m.

Cavaliere was studying to be a classical pianist when he began playing rock ’n roll and eventually became a member of Joey Dee and the Starliters, known for their song “Peppermint Twist.”


During a tour to Europe and a gig in Munich, Germany, the band that opened for the Starliters was the Beatles.


“They were in jackets and ties. Because the audience was screaming with such enthusiasm, it was hard not to think they were going to succeed,” Cavaliere said.

Cavaliere, whose mother was pharmacist and father a dentist, attributed part of his success to moving from the Bronx to Westchester and attending Pelham High School. But he said it was a little tough because his family was among the first Italian American families in the neighborhood.

He played baseball on the street with friends and later practiced piano inside his house. His mother wanted him to be a classical pianist.


His favorite classical piece is the Turkish March or “Rondo Alla Turka” because it’s so exciting and challenging.

Cavaliere said he moved to Nashville to continue writing songs and keep his creative juices flowing.

He said he enjoys playing whatever comes through instrumentally, melodically and rhymically but still favors rhythm and blues.

Felix Cavalier’s Rascals. Photo courtesy: Maui Arts & Cultural Center. For his recorded music, go to

The MACC Box Office windows are currently closed for window sales but open for pre-show, will-call tickets pick up only. But use of the print-at-home ticketing is recommended. The MACC Box Office is accessible for inquiries only via email at [email protected] or phone at 808-242-7649, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For a weekly listing of Maui music and other events, go to Maui Entertainment, Arts, Community, June 2-8 and click here.

Gary Kubota
Gary Kubota, an associate writer with, has worked as a staff news writer with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and The Maui News. He lives on Maui. He’s also been an editor/business manager with the Lahaina News. He’s received national and regional journalism awards — a National Press Club Citation of Merit and Walter Cronkite Best In The West, among them.  

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