Mark your calendars: RAM’s Got Talent will return to the Historic Iao Theater on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 8. That’s when a group of Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members will take the stage to play, sing, dance and joke their way into the winner’s circle.

The fundraising event was conceived eight years ago during the Hawaii Association of Realtors Leadership Academy by four of its attendees: Marion Haller and Lisa Teichner of Keller Williams Realty Maui, Dave Futch of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers and Tara Garcia of Maui Showcase Properties.

Since then, RAM’s Got Talent has drawn a talented pool of contenders—including musicians, singers, dancers, magicians, and comics—to the Historic Iao Theater. And this year will be no exception. “After taking a break last year, we’ve had 12 people audition this year and it’s going to be a fantastic show with singers, dancers, comedy and some magic for sure,” said Haller, who is serving as the RAM’s Got Talent chairperson. Two auditions were held at the Iao Theater last month and ten finalists were chosen to compete for first, second and third place on Feb. 8.

At the last RAM’s Got Talent in 2018, Fred’s Garage—a rock ‘n’ roll band whose members include drummer Ray Chin of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, guitarist Jason Jerome, vocalist Eva Esteban of Diamond Resorts International, and guitarist Mark Jackson of Island Sotheby’s International Realty—won the top prize of the night. Deb Vial and Caron Barrett of Keller Williams Realty Maui and Eric Helmkamp of UpCountry Realty took home the second place trophy for their rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The third place winner was Amber Füssle of Maui Real Estate Advisers, who dazzled the judges with her solo vocal performance. And the 2018 “Audience Favorite” award was given to Jules Trowbridge of Island Sotheby’s International Realty for her mashup of Pixar’s “Lava” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

At this year’s event, the fun will begin long before the curtain rises. As guests arrive, there will be plenty of photo ops on red carpet, and inside the theater, “cigarette guys and gals” will sell trinkets to add to the glitzy, Hollywood-esque ambience. Audience members will also be treated to the toe-tapping tunes of the RAM’s Got Talent house band, the Natalie Nicole Band. There will be an after party, too.

But the real stars of the night will be the beneficiaries of RAM’s Got Talent: Maui OnStage at the Historic Iao Theater and the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) Presidential Scholarship Fund. Since its inception in 1989, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $750,000 in academic scholarships to college-bound high school seniors throughout Maui County, as well as past scholarship recipients. Funds for the scholarships are raised through events like RAM’s Got Talent, the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk, RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Golf Event, RAM’s annual installation and membership gala, as well Mea Kako‘o, a group of sponsors who collectively donate money to the scholarship program.

The second beneficiary, Maui OnStage, is a community-based theatrical organization that has occupied the Historic Iao Theater since 1984. The nonprofit has played a pivotal role in keeping the theater thriving over the years and has been recognized as one of the longest-running theater companies in the United States. Since its inception, RAM’s Got Talent has raised close to $25,000 for Maui OnStage.

It’s too late to sign up to compete this year, but it’s never too late to become a sponsor—just visit www.ramsgottalent.com/sponsors to download a sponsorship kit or email ramsgottalent@gmail.com. The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. Prices start at $20 per person; tickets for the post-show party are $30 per person. To reserve your seat or to purchase tickets for the after party, visit www.ramsgottalent.com/buytickets.

The Maui News – January 6, 2020

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