Ads by Google Ads by Google

Community News Briefs

University of Guam president, Dr. Robert Underwood presenting Congresswoman Aumua Amata with the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.  [photo: courtesy]
compiled by Samoa News staff


Tomorrow night at the Gov. Rex H. Lee Auditorium — fale laumei — the Samoan Gospel Homecoming Singers will hold its 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Concert, featuring Gospel artists like Mose Katina, Suva Bohanak, and Toe Tootoo; and families including the Ponausuias and the Paagas. The concert starts at 6:00 p.m.

"Thanksgiving is a special day for families. It’s a reminder of God’s everlasting grace and a celebration of cultural virtues," said Poe Mageo, music director for the group. 

Though there’s so much to be thankful for, the singers — through music — would like to offer prayers and hope to the community on what’s going on around the world, like the recent shooting in a Texas church, which threatens peace and heightens fear among communities across the nation. 

John Marsh will offer an inspirational reading set to the hymn “Redemption Draweth Nigh”.  The song was composed by Gordon Jensen and taken from Luke 21:28.

"So much is going on around the world, but as Christians, there’s no need to be disheartened because God is still in control. And as long as we have faith in His Word, we can overcome these challenges," reassured Mageo.  Along the same theme, the Strings of Psalms, an advanced strings ensemble from Calvary Temple Assembly of God (AOG) Lepuapua, will perform “Sometimes Alleluia.”

Two timeless Gospel classics Elvis Presley recorded in the early 70s will also be featured: “There Will be Peace in the Valley” featuring Otto Haleck, and “Lead Me, Guide Me” featuring the Ponausuia Family (Eseta Brandt, Vaiola Taala, & Dorothy Marsh) of Aua. 

An ‘all-sisters’ ensemble called Praising Voices (Diana Aitaoto, Aiga Puni, and Meanoa McFall) will perform “The King and I” (Walk Hand in Hand) composed by Mosie Lister, a Southern Gospel music giant. 

Praising Voices will also sing the Samoan translation of the song by their late uncle HTC Mageo Malu Ieti.  Mose Katina, on the other hand, will pay tribute to his cousin, Rev. Dr. Tafesilafa’i ‘Tony’ Mageo, who recently passed away in Vista, CA, with “Faafetai, i le Atua le Tama,” a song he co-wrote with Tony. 

This is the group’s sixth public performance.  As concert goers know, they are always in for a treat. Most of the time, the audience sings along with the choir and have a good time with the music. 

According to Mageo, one song that will get the crowd ‘movin’ and groovin’ tomorrow night is “I Go to the Rock” by Dottie Rambo, a prolific Gospel music songwriter. 

The song was featured in The Preacher’s Wife (1996).  And Whitney Houston won the 1998 Dove Gospel Award when she performed the song in the same film.  The song was a hit among local Pentecostal churches when it was recorded by The Laulu Sisters in the early 80s.

(Source: Samoan Gospel Homecoming Singers — Poe Mageo)


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 - Congresswoman Aumua Amata was presented with an award from her alma mater, the University of Guam, naming her among their Distinguished Alumni. The President of the University, the honorable Dr. Robert Underwood, presented the award in person Thursday evening on the occasion of his speech at historic Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Underwood was speaking as part of Georgetown University’s Governor Peter Tali Coleman Lecture Series on Pacific Public Policy.

“I’m humbled and grateful,” said Aumua Amata. “This brings back many warm memories of my time at the University of Guam. Thank you, Dr. Underwood, and all the graduates over the years, for all you’ve done to build the University’s excellent reputation throughout the Pacific and beyond. And thank you, most of all, to the people of American Samoa, whom I have the honor to represent.”

It was Congresswoman Amata’s distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. Underwood for his speech to the combined audiences of the Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, and the Asian Studies Program, at Georgetown University’s Intercultural Center. The University’s Lecture Series on Pacific Public Policy is named for the late Gov. Coleman, who was a John Hay Whitney Fellow at Georgetown University. Following his World War II service, Gov. Coleman graduated Georgetown University in 1949 with his Bachelor’s degree in Economics, then a Law degree in 1951.

Background from the UOG announcement:

The University of Guam announced the 2017 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards, following a search for nominees by the UOG Office of Development & Alumni Affairs and the UOG Alumni Association this year. The board of judges included the respective Deans and one faculty member from each of the schools and colleges, an alumni association representative, a notable member of the island community, and a representative of UOG’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Judges’ recommendations were then forwarded to President Robert Underwood for a final decision.

The award recognizes the following criteria:

  • Professional accomplishment in their field: has the nominee attained a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts (comprising Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Business) or sciences (comprising Science, Engineering and Health Sciences) and/or service to society
  • Candidate exhibits a high degree of character and integrity
  • Civic and University involvement, awareness and concern
  • Nominee's achievements have local, national and/or international significance

(Source: Congresswoman Aumua Amata's Office, Washington DC)