Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Christo Ruppenthal

May 15, 2022 • Addison ChingEntertainment

Christo Ruppenthal is a familiar name in the steel guitar community. He currently heads up the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association as its president. The membership-based organization has hundreds of members worldwide, including active members in Hawai‘i, Canada, mainland USA, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Holland, Finland, Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, and all the way across oceans to South Africa and the Pacific Rim countries of New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

Christo currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and grew up in various areas of Southern Wisconsin.

"We had a baritone ‘uke in the house when I was a child," laments Christo. "I also remember making a pots and pans drum set, much to the dismay of my parents! I did well on trumpet and French horn in middle school band. Although I did have lessons in my early high school days I really moved to guitar seriously around age 18. I made the conscious decision to become a professional jazz musician at age 20."

Christo describes how he developed his interest in the Hawaiian steel guitar.

"I first fell in love with Sol Ho‘opi‘i's music around 2007. A friend let me a CD. I couldn't get enough of it! My entrance to the Steel Guitar world as a musician was through the Western swing music of Bob Wills, and Jerry Byrd and Don Helms' work with Hank Williams. I was already playing guitar in the western swing band and through necessity I started to learn Steel due to some membership changes around 10 years ago. From there I very quickly drifted earlier within the music history to its Hawaiian roots and acoustic guitar.

"My sweet spot is the time of the second generation of Hawaiian steel guitar players on the mainland, where traditional Hawaiian music started to be infused with vaudeville and jazz but primarily prior to the invention of the Electric guitar, 1925-1935. So [I'm referring to] Sol Ho‘opi‘i, Sam Ku West, King Bennie Nawahi and others of that era.

"That being said, I am an avid 78 RPM record collector. I have a passion for early Hawaiian steel guitar 78. My library currently stands around 1000 Hawaiian disks focused on pre-war music prior to the invention of the electric guitar. I have shared my collection through my "Antique Aloha: Hawaiian Music of the Golden Age" phonograph presentations locally, at HSGA Festivals, and online. I also collect world and other ethnic music from around the world on 78 RPM."

When not playing music, Christo enjoys cooking, antiquing, traveling. He's also currently learning how to repair string instruments.

Christo leaves with a closing comment.

"I am also currently serving as president of the HSGA - Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association, a worldwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promoting traditional Hawaiian music and the signature sound of Hawaiian steel guitar. I would invite anybody reading this to please consider joining the HSGA!"

This video is of Christo's Novelty Combo doing "Honolulu Sweetheart Of Mine".

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

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2022

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
May 28, 2022 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
June 11, 2022 – Windward Mall, Kane‘ohe, Hawai‘i
11:30 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week   
July 11-14, 2022 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Nightly Evening Performances 5:30PM - 6:30PM HST
Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
July 15, 2022 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Friday Performances 4PM - 6:30PM HST
Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
July 16, 2022 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Saturday Performances 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

AISGC
AISGC Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

July 21-23, 2022 – Winchester, IN
Tickets available online or at the door

2022 HSGA Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
August 11-13, 2022 – Foster City, CA
Tickets available online or at the door
Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
August 27, 2022 – Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Hawai‘i
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Maui Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase (contingent on availability of Internet connection)
October 15, 2022 – The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
October 16, 2022 – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani   
December 8-11, 2022 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, Hawai‘i Island.
Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Experience at Mauna Lani
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
December 10-11, 2022 – Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, Hawai‘i Island.
Friday Ho‘olaule‘a 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM HST
Saturday Twilight at Kalāhuipua‘a concert 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM HST

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About HIMELE
HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.