This year’s Na Mele O Maui Song and Art Competition–held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on Dec. 5–featured Maui county students from 16 schools. The 41st annual competition–the Valley Isle’s only county wide Hawaiian song and art competition–is dedicated to the preservation of native culture. It was designed to perpetuate Hawaiian music, language and arts. The competition strives to foster education and enlightenment of Hawaii’s heritage.
The theme of this year’s event was “Nā Wahi Pana Aloha Hawaiʻi, Beloved Places of Hawaii,” providing students the opportunity to sing and create artwork about cherished places in the state.
Classes from kindergarten to grade 12 participated in the song competition. Each class performed two songs in Hawaiian. The first was the Contest Song which was chosen by the committee to fit the theme. The second song was a Choice Song selected by participating classes to reflect the theme.
The 2013 Art Competition finalists were honored in a special awards presentation and their winning artwork was displayed on stage.
The overall winner at the event was Kamehameha Schools Maui ʻŌpio Division Grades 9-12. The Hawaiian Language Award went to Pāʻia Elementary Division II Grades 2-3.
The Division I Grades K-1 Competition Song this year was “Puamana.” The first place award went to Kula Kaiapuni O Maui ma Pāʻia / Teacher: Ipolani Mederios / Choice Song: “Aloha ʻIa Nō ʻO Maui.” The Second Place award went to Emmanuel Lutheran School / Teachers: Andrea Kaio, Amber Parrish and Liz Morales / Choice Song: “Mauna Kahalawai.”
The Division II Grades 2-3 Competition Song was “Kokeʻe.” Pā’ia Elementary / Kuʻulei Hokoana with Choice Song “Nohili E” was named first place. Second Place went to Wailuku Elementary / Teachers Chaz Casro and Rosie Johnson. The Choice Song was “Mauna Kahalawai Kahalawai O Maui.”
The first place winner in the ‘Ōpio Division Grades 9-12 (Competition Song: “Pālehua”) was Kamehameha Schools Maui / Teachers Dale Nitta and Kalei Aʻarona Lorenzo / Choice Song: “Uakea O Hāna.” Second place went to Molokaʻi High School / Teacher Kalei Kawaʻa / Choice Song: “He Mele No Hina.”
The Division III Grades 4-5 Competition Song was “Hila Hanakahi.” First place was awarded to Kamameha Schools Maui / Teacher: Clark Tuitele / Choice Song: “Kahoʻolawe.” Second Place went to Kula Kaiapuni O Maui / Teacher: Kuʻuʻini Mederios. Their Choice Song was “Hanohano nō ʻo Hawaiʻi.”
In Division IV Grades 6-8, the Competition Song was “Kaimana Hila.” Kamehameha Schools Maui / Teacher: Leimamo Nitta took First Place honors. Their Choice Song was “Kalamaʻula.” Second place honors went to Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Kalama / Teacher: Wailani Farm / Choice Song “Kipahulu.”
This year’s song competition judges were Reiko Fukino, music judge; Kahuli Eldridge, language; and Kamaka Kukona, overall judge. Classroom choirs were judged on musical competence, language proficiency and interpretation, stage presence and all-around enthusiasm. Prizes were awarded based on overall scores within grade level divisions.
Photo: Steve Brinkman