THE DIRECTORS

CHRIS KEPLER

Chris Kepler has been teaching Theatre and English in Hawaii public schools since 1996, after graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in Secondary English Education. After 8 years of teaching performing arts at Iao School, he started as the Acting teacher at King Kekaulike in the Fall of 2008, beginning with two classes. Today, he enjoys a full line of Theatre classes (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced Acting, Play Production, and Creative Dance), teaching over 100 students.  On the extracurricular side, Chris serves as Advisor/Director to the bustling KKHS Drama Club and International Thespian Society, Troupe #7106. Each Spring, for the last eleven years, the KKHS Drama Club has produced a large-scale musical, adding the element of a live student orchestra in 2012. Over that time, KKHS Acting classes have also produced 26 plays and 12 showcases.

Not only a teacher, but a performer as well, he began in 1980 under Mary Allton in the Children's Chorus of Maui, then discovered theatre in 1985 at the Old Puunene Clubhouse with Maui Youth Theater (now MAPA), and continued at Baldwin under Ms. Sue Anne Loudon. As an adult, he has appeared in community theatre as Rooster (Annie), Amos (Chicago), Scarecrow (Wizard of Oz), Bert (Mary Poppins), and Don Lockwood (Singing in the Rain).

Chris was born and raised on Maui, attending school at Makawao, Iao, and Baldwin. On his free time he enjoys singing in the Makawao Union Church choir, spearfishing, working the land, coaching soccer, and spending time with his wife and daughters, Aki, Maile (19), Puakenikeni (17), and Kiele (12) and his parents (Dr. Bill and Lu).

CASEY NAGATA

Casey Nagata started teaching music at King Kekaulike High School in the fall of 2011. Since then he has expanded the music program to include numerous classes and clubs involving over 100 students in over 50 annual performances. His teaching duties include directing the Kekaulike Wind Ensemble, "Na Ali'i Pride" Marching and Pep Bands, Na Ali'i Big Band Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Na Ali'i Big Band Beginning Jazz Ensemble, Kekaulike Concert Choir, and KKHS Pit Orchestra, as well as teaching Kekaulike’s music theory and composition, jazz theory and performance, and beginning guitar classes. In addition, Mr. Nagata serves as the faculty advisor to Chapter 3106 of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society, the KKHS Jam Club, and various student-led jazz and blues combos, advisor and non-voting member of the KKHS Band Boosters non-profit parent organization, and member of the National Association for Music Education and Maui District High School Band Association.

Originally from Wailuku, Maui, Mr. Nagata graduated Magna Cum Laude from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington with degrees in music education, music composition, and jazz performance, studying under Dr. Robert Spittal, Fr. J. Kevin Waters, S.J., Sylvia Baker, and David Fague. He performs frequently around the island as the director and lead alto saxophonist of the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra and occasionally as a saxophonist with the Moonglow All-Star Big Band and Maui Pops Orchestra, among others. 

 Prior to his position at Kekaulike, Mr. Nagata worked as a Home Hospital tutor, GED tutor at the Maui Community School for Adults, substitute teacher in both Maui and Spokane school districts, reed manufacturer and tester at Jones Double Reed Products, and freelance saxophonist, vocalist, composer, and arranger in various rock, funk, Hawaiian, reggae, and metal bands in Hawaii and Washington.