Lahaina students win awards at 46th annual Na Mele O Maui
KAHULUI – Lahaina students returned from the 46th annual Na Mele O Maui Song & Art Competition with awards on Dec. 10.
Held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and sponsored by Kaanapali Beach Resort Association, Maui’s only countywide Hawaiian song and art competition is dedicated to cultural preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian mele, language and arts.
Classes from kindergarten to grade 12 participated in the song competition. Each class is required to perform two songs in Hawaiian.
The first is the Contest Song chosen by the committee to fit the theme. There is a different song for each grade division.
The second is a song about West Maui selected by participating classes to reflect the theme.
Students sang songs based on two themes. The theme for the Contest Songs was “Mele Aloha ‘Aina” – patriotic songs about our beloved Hawaii. Each division was assigned a song.
The second theme was “Lei Nahonoapiilani,” which honored songs of West Maui, both old and new.
A new songbook was released Nov. 3 with a CD featuring the songs for this theme. Teachers were asked to choose, as their Choice Song, works from this collection.
Students also created artwork inspired by the events, stories and places depicted in songs by both themes.
“We were excited to present two themes this year,” said Shelley Kekuna, “Ilima Sponsor and vice president of the Na Mele O Maui Board of Directors. “Every class did an amazing job. Congratulations, everyone – students, teachers, musicians, judges and parents.”
Classroom choirs were judged on musical competence, language proficiency and interpretation, stage presence and all-around enthusiasm. Prizes are awarded based on overall scores within grade level divisions.
A combination of scores for the two songs determines the winner in each grade division and the overall winner of the entire competition.
The overall winner was Kamehameha Schools Maui (Grades 4-5) under teacher Clark Tuitele.
The Language Winner was Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Maui ma Pa’ia (Grades 2-3), led by teachers Kalei Kaniaupio-Crozier, Kulia Kaluau, Kah’iola Harders, Ke’ala Kaiwi and Kai Mana Nakoa.
In Division 4 (Grades 6-8), Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘O Lahaina students, under teachers Kanoelani Steward and Kekaialoha Keahi, sang “Mahalo Lahaina” and finished in second place.
And in the ‘Opio Division (Grades 9-12), Lahainaluna High School sang “Halona” to earn a second place award. Their teachers are Ilima Greig-Hong, Lori Gomez-Karinen and Pomaika’i Krueger.
The song judges were Keola Donaghy, Luana Kawa’a and Robin Kealiinohomoku-Kerr, and the art competition judges were Charlene Ka’uhane, Steve Brinkman and Todd Campbell.
Established in 1972 for the youth of Maui County, Na Mele O Maui strives to foster education and enlightenment of Hawaii’s heritage. For more information, visit www.kaanapaliresort.com.