Meet our Director!
Honolulu Blend is thrilled to introduce Benjamin Leonid as its new musical director! Ben hails from Seattle, WA where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in music, with an emphasis on voice and composition, from the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. His experience and involvement with vocal music has been highly varied and includes time as a music director and sound designer, as a music educator and administrator and, of course, as a barbershopper in the Olympic Peninsula Men’s Chorus.
A chance to escape the grey winters of Seattle brought him to Oahu in 2016 where he quickly immersed himself in the local musical community. Ben sings and composes for the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, toured Italy as a featured singer with the Honolulu Chorale and performed as “Francis Flute” in Diamond Head Theatre’s recent production of “Something Rotten.”
Since his arrival in the islands, Ben has done seasonal singing with a barbershop quartet and is eager to work with Honolulu Blend. He says the chorus has a “clear and focused quality” and the group “is fun and works well together.” Honolulu Blend can’t wait to begin this exciting new phase of its musical journey!
Julianne Hiu first heard Honolulu Blend performing at a local music education conference. She was intrigued and decided to check out a guest night. Although she had previously sung in a variety of choral groups, she had never tried barbershop music before and was excited to try something new. She began her Sweet Adelines career as a baritone but now usually sings the tenor part.
Julianne holds a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Vocal Music from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, aswell as Level III Kodály music educator certification. She is the director of the Maryknoll Middle School Choir and was previously the director of the Chiefess KamakaheleiMiddle School Chorus on Kaua‘i. She currently serves as a board member of the Hawai‘i chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Julianne is grateful to Honolulu Blend for the opportunity share her love for music with an enthusiastic team of passionate singers.
Rachel Knapstein, Baritone
It was a balmy November evening when Rachel, and her now husband, were strolling through Ala Moana Center and happened upon Honolulu Blend Show Chorus performing at center stage. Rachel first joined HBSC as a guest for a holiday workshop and performance and hasn't turned back.
Rachel grew up in Forest Hill, Maryland as a self-proclaimed choir nerd. She competed in the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe, with her high school a capella choir. As an adult, she sang with her local church choirs, but since moving to Hawaii in 2010, she had been itching for a different chorus experience and HBSC gave her the fun and friendship that she was looking for.
Rachel has always been a "harmonizer" so the baritone part suits her best. She joined the chorus in 2014 and sang baritone in the quartet Candid Connection at Regional contest in 2016. Aside from singing, she enjoys surfing and sailing. Rachel has a master's degree in marine science and currently works as a biologist at an environmental consulting firm in Kaneohe.
Adrienne Leduc, Tenor
Adrienne loves listening to the Dapper Dans on Main Street, USA. Her first experience singing barbershop harmony was when she joined Honolulu Blend in 2011. She is a charter member and has sung tenor and lead.
Adrienne has been a musician her whole life. She studied piano, violin and voice as a child, and taught herself to play guitar and 'ukulele. She sang in the Glee Club at Columbia University, and as a member of the Cast Choir for the Candlelight Processional when she worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. From 2009-2011, Adrienne volunteered with Far Corners Community Theatre, teaching music theater to local children in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Adrienne is a Registered Behavior Technician, providing one-on-one behavior therapy to children with autism spectrum disorder. In addition to singing a capella, she loves knitting, painting with watercolors, and spending time with her two beloved cats.