The stars were out in full force at the Historic Iao Theater on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. That’s when a group of Realtors® Association of Maui members took the stage to sing, dance and joke their way into the winner’s circle at the fifth annual RAM’s Got Talent competition. This year’s event, titled “Best of RAM’s Got Talent,” featured nine contestants who showcased their talents on the Iao Theater stage. Their performances may have differed, but they all had one thing in common: each contestant was a first, second or third prize winner or ‘audience favorite’ from the past four years.

Moana Andersen of Equity One Real Estate won the top prize of the night. Accompanied by Savannah Hoke, Andersen impressed the panel of judges with her multi-instrumental performance of Helen Desha Beamer’s “Kimo Hula” and piano performances of Carl Phillipe Emmanuel Bach’s “Allegro” and “Solfeggietto.”

Phil Smith of Fine Island Properties took home the second place trophy for his saxophone performance of Louie Prima’s “Jump Jive and Wail.” The third place winner was Bob Wills of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, who dazzled the crowd with his renditions of Frank Sinatra’s “Wee Small Hours in the Morning” and “It Had to be You.” The “Audience Favorite” award was given to Chris Bakeman of Fine Island Properties for her side-splitting stand-up comedy act.

In addition to the contestants’ performances, audience members were also treated to live music by the Natalie Nicole Band and an exclusive preview of Maui OnStage’s spring musical, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” directed by Lisa Teichner of KW Island Living, who also served as the evening’s emcee. And the fun and entertainment began long before the curtain rose: As they arrived guests were greeted by a team of interviewers on the red carpet; there were also “cigarette” guys and gals selling fun trinkets to add to the glitzy, Hollywood-esque ambience.

But the real stars of the evening were the beneficiaries of RAM’s Got Talent: Maui OnStage and RAM’s Realtors® Presidential Scholarship Program. Since it began in 1989, the Realtors® Presidential Scholarship Program has awarded more than $560,000 to high school seniors across Maui County, as well as past recipients of the scholarship. To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be a soon-to-be graduating high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship and they must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university. Funds for the scholarship program are raised through events like the Realtors® Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, RAM’s Installation Luncheon and the “RAM’s Got Talent” competition.

The second beneficiary of the “Best of RAM’s Got Talent” show was Maui OnStage, a community-based theatrical organization that has occupied the Historic Iao Theater since 1984. Maui OnStage has played a pivotal role in keeping the theater up and running over the years and it has been recognized as one of the longest-running theater companies in the United States.

This year’s “Best of RAM’s Got Talent” event would not have been possible without the generosity of its sponsors: Mason-McDuffie Mortgage; Old Republic Title and Escrow; Coldwell Banker Island Properties; Bank of Hawaii; HomeStreet Bank; Elite Lending; Homes & Land Magazine; Castle & Cooke Mortgage; and Ray Chin, who took photos at the event.

It’s not too early to start planning (and practicing) for next year’s event. The RAM’s Got Talent committee is always looking for talented individuals who would like to be involved; all RAM members and affiliates are eligible to perform. For more information about RAM’s Got Talent, visit To learn more about RAM’s Realtors® Presidential Scholarship Program, contact Claudia Bustamente at (808) 270-4647 or To learn more about Maui OnStage at the Historic Iao Theater or to purchase tickets for Maui OnStage’s production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which runs March 3 through 19, visit

By Sarah Ruppenthal

The Maui News – February 25, 2017

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