Nā Mele Choir makes hard work count

Performing arts classes join for Aloha Kalikimaka


Photo by Faith Owan

Nā Mele performers got the chance to show off their skills at the Winter Concert held at Kamehameha Maui on Thurday, December 11 after the annual Nā Mele song competition was canceled.

Even though the annual Nā Mele Maui song competition was canceled this year, the Nā Mele choir got the chance to show off their skills at the Aloha Kalikimaka winter concert at Kamehameha Maui on Thursday, December 11 .

“In fact, we made that one of goals to have them perform here. For high school, this is like a dry run and they do it again for ‘Aha Mele,” said Kumu Kalei ʻAʻarona-Lorenzo, who was in charge of the ʻukulele and Hawaiian Ensemble performances.

In addition to the Nā Mele Choir, the night showcased performances from the Hawaiian Ensemble, the High School Choir (under the direction of Mr. Dale Nitta); ʻUkulele I and ʻUkulele II; the Middle School Choir and the Elementary School Choir (under the direction of Kumu Leimamo Nitta); and Papa Hula and Ka Pā Hula o ʻAʻapueo (under the direction of Kumu Henohea Kane).

Although Nā Mele was canceled this year, students were still glad to be able to showcase their talents in front of their friends and family at the concert on Thursday.

“I’m really happy,” said junior Blake Fukumoto, musician for the High School Nā Mele Choir. “It’s a really good time to think about how we could have been better, because we didn’t perform as a whole at the competition, since it was canceled, but we performed here, and we [got to see] how we perform with each other.”

As for why the song competition was canceled, no one seems to know the exact reason.

“I heard it was because of little participation….But I really think it’s because of the lateness of being notified,” Kumu Kalei said.

Despite Nā Mele being a no-go, participants at the winter concert worked hard to put on an enjoyable show for everyone.

“I practiced every day; studying my words and my notes,” junior Mahonri Aiwohi said. Aiwohi sings for the Hawaiian Ensemble, the High School Choir, and the High School Nā Mele Choir.

‘Ukulele musicians practiced every day in class leading up to the concert.

“It took us a long time to put these songs together, maybe about a month and a half,” junior Shandon Johnson-Eugenio said.

The range of skill level and experience of each performer posed a challenge in putting the show together.

“It’s really hard sometimes when you’re not maʻa to certain things,” Kumu Kalei said. “A lot of them are not used to performing…They had to, like, plug into the system with their instruments, or even sing in front of mics. They don’t get that practice every day. so for them to do it on the spot like that, that’s, like, kudos to them.”

Overcoming these challenges, student participants had a good time.

“I felt great. I enjoyed everyone and just being around my friends. We all love to play music together,” Fukumoto said. “I’m really happy [that we got to perform].”