Ester Hana, born Esther S. Buenconsejo in Cebu, the Philippines, is lucky to have always made music as her life activity. Her career as a pianist and singer has taken her to major international destinations, such as Bangkok, Zurich, Geneva, Gstaad, Paris, Foianno de la Chiana, Berlin, Stockholm, the British Virgin Islands, Toronto, Monte Carlo, New York and Las Vegas.
She has lived in Chicago since 1974 with her husband Arpong Hanviriyapunt and three children Kathleen, Robert and Stuart. She has four grandchildren. In Chicago, she found her musical niche early on, at a club called Europe at Night and at Punchinello’s on Rush Street.
Also in Chicago, Ester Hana performed in one-woman shows at Michigan Avenue’s Drury Lane Theatre and World Playhouse in the ’80s. In addition to club and lounge performances, she has performed cabaret shows and concerts at Davenport’s, Lakeview Theatre, Mayne Stage, Wilmette Theatre and Skokie Theatre, and jazz ensemble shows at Joplin’s Java Café in Waukegan, Illinois, Cyrano’s Women in Jazz Series, Asian American Jazz at HotHouse and Jazz Quartet at Gallery Café in Woodale, Illinois, and
theatre work with Chicago actors, performers and musicians.
In Asia, she performed in concerts at Chandrakasem University in Bangkok and at Tainan Institute of Technology in Taiwan.
Her choral arrangements of Visayan as well as American standard songs have been performed by two groups: the CIM-SWU Medical Choir and the SILAYAN performers.
Ester Hana formed and directed the PHILIPPINE RONDALLA OF CHICAGO (2002–2012), which has performed at the 100th Rotary Convention (Chicago), Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park’s Family Festival, Navy Pier, Chicago Cultural Center, Milwaukee Asian Festival, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena, in Detroit, Madison, San Jose, Los Altos and Cebu. Her rondalla arrangements for this group have been recorded in the Phipippine Rondalla of Chicago’s 2005 CD.
In her home town in the Philippines, Dalaguete Music Foundation (DMF) is Ester Hana’s personal effort to support Filipino children in their pursuit of music as a way to continue academic studies. DMF has been in existence since 1999 to support music lessons with the help of the town’s retired musicians.
From 1996 to 2006, Ester was an active Rotary/One member of the Chicago founding club, and she maintains contact through her friends’ Rotary projects.
Ester Hana (Esther Buenconsejo Hanviriyapunt) is a graduate of Chicago Musical College (now Chicago College of Performing Arts) who holds a bachelor’s degree in science and a master’s degree in music, majoring in piano performance. She also holds a BS MedTech degree from Southwestern University (SWU) and a Building Environmental Technology Certificate from Wright Community College. Her family and friends support and embrace her commitment to environmental and green technology, and they know her love for her grandchildren and for all children.