Musicians are using their art for altruism

The Mercury News
By Jim Harrington
Pop Music Critic for Bay Area News Group

Patrick Landeza has accomplished so much in his career, having performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and recorded several highly acclaimed albums of Hawaiian slack-key guitar music.

Perhaps most notably, Landeza holds the distinction of being the first-ever mainland artist to win a Na Hoku Hanohano award, which is the Hawaiian equivalent of a Grammy. The Berkeley-born Landeza, who now lives in Hayward, won the slack key guitar album of the year award for 2012’s “Slack Key Huaka’i.”

Yet, he also works as the associate campus minister at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

Now, his two worlds – Moreau and music – have combined in the form of “Close to You,” a CD featuring Landeza leading a group of the high school students in such original faith-based material as “Light and Hope For All,” “We Are Holy Cross” and “A Mighty Tree.”

“This is the finest project I’ve ever produced,” Landeza says. “Through my experience with traveling and learning from the masters of Hawaiian music, I’m able to incorporate the same principles in my songwriting for Moreau Catholic.

“The spirit of aloha transcends in this project. As (slack-key guitarist) Dennis Kamakahi once told me, ‘The true meaning of aloha is love and God is love.'”

Landeza and his Moreau Catholic Music Ministry group will host a CD release party on May 16 at the high school’s Ivaldi Student Center.

“It is a true blessing to present this project featuring the students,” he says. “Seeing and hearing the students make the songs their own for the recording is one thing, but when they proclaim in liturgies and retreat reflections, we are witness to Christ in action.”

Show time is 6:30 p.m. and tickets (which also include a copy of the CD) are $10. For more information, visit