Bands battle in revamped spring spirit week

Musicians Justin Delos Santos, Blake Fukumoto, and Lukela Kanae from the senior class bring it home in the Battle of Bands, Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Keōpūolani Hale as part of the spring spirit week festivities.

Photo by Gabrielle Constantino

Musicians Justin Delos Santos, Blake Fukumoto, and Lukela Kanae from the senior class bring it home in the Battle of Bands, Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Keōpūolani Hale as part of the spring spirit week festivities.

It’s spring spirit week, and classes battled it out in the annual Battle of the Bands competition in Keōpūolani Hale on Tuesday. The afternoon assembly was also supposed to include the newly named Kamehameha’s Best Dance Crew contest (previously known as Boys Cheerleading), but participation was poor and the freshmen were the only group to enter.

This automatically gave the team first place and 500 points in the grade versus grade competition to see who will be the winner of spring spirit week. The group danced to a mashup of songs including Single Ladies by Beyoncé and Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus. 

There were some who said that the freshman dance crew should have been penalized or disqualified for using inappropriate moves.

Sophomore Holly Honda disagreed. “I don’t think it’s fair for the freshman class to receive any deduction towards their moves. They were the only class who came up with a routine and should be rewarded for that,” she said.

Each of the other classes had a different explanation for not having a dance crew.

“All the boys lost their spirit and didn’t want to compete,” said Hunter Worth, sophomore class president. “I take some responsibility as class president because I feel that I should lead the class with spirit, but everyone, regardless of what they do, should compete during spirit week.”

Junior class president Kiera Viela said, “We tried really hard, but because the boy who usually organizes it, Kanoa Iaea, left, none of the boys wanted to do it without him. I think it’s sad, because usually our boys are really determined to do good in boys cheer, and this year was just kind of a disappointment.”

Many were surprised and disappointed that the senior class didn’t participate either.

“I just thought that our class would be more into it because it is our last year, and it’s our first senior year competing in spring spirit week, and this is the last time we’re gonna do it, so I just thought that our classmates would have more motivation to compete,” said Kylee Kato, senior class president.

Freshman class president Lee Franco said that the freshmen competed because the team was comprised of boys who “were very dedicated to what they were doing.”

He said that the boys dance crew was inspired by watching videos from last year’s boys cheer teams, and they were inspired by how competitive the event was. When they learned that they would be the only class dancing, they still wanted to perform.

“Even though I told then that the other grades were not having a boys cheer, they still wanted to show what they were working on because they were very dedicated,” Franco said.

This spring spirit week has been controversial because it includes competition events that were formerly done in the fall spirit week. Read about the changes here.

In between the dance crew performance and each of the band performances, the cheerleaders, who recently placed second at the National Cheer Association championships, performed, and the captains of the winter sports teams recognized their teammates and updated the crowd on their seasons. Master and mistress of ceremonies Preston Watanabe and Mauliola “Harley” Gonsalves played some games with the audience. 

The freshmen began the Battle of the Bands with I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith. Brennan Mendez, Kanekapolei Kana, and Healani Tolentino sang with Sherri Nagamine on bass, Arin Aihara on guitar, Lihaumakalani Keahi on ‘ukulele, and Kaylie Ho on the keyboard.

The sophomores performed Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran and had the most singers on stage of all the classes, including Kahealani Benjamin, Delissa Rano, Nainoa Purdy, Jaelynn Nobriga, Breanna Purdy, Mikeala Bega, and Kai Paredes, who also played the guitar. They were accompanied by Bailey Ota who played the cajon box drum. The sophomore class waved their phone flashlights to support their classmates on stage.

The junior class band sang a mashup including Stand By Me with singers Montana Rae Vaught, Uilani Kuulei Gibbs, Kaiulani Kawaa, and Kaiulani Cambra. Bailey Daqupion played the guitar while Keoni Warrington played the bass.

Finally, the seniors performed a mashup of famous Jackson 5 songs and came back for a hana hou performance, a tradition at the battle of the bands event. The seniors led their classmates with singers Mahonri Aiwohi, Ashlyn-Jade Aniban, Hannah Patrick, and Quincee Taguchi, and musicians Justin Delos Santos, Kaupena Morando, Richard “Ikaika” Renaud III, Blake Fukumoto, and Lukela Kanae. For their encore, the seniors performed Like I’m Gonna Lose You.

The scores for the band competition were assigned by a panel of judges. They will be added to scores for dress-up participation, dance crew, and step competition to arrive at the winning class, which will be announced at Friday’s assembly.

Students had a good time overall, but this competition activity was definitely different from previous years.

“I feel like the activities weren’t as much fun this year because of the lack of spirit,” said sophomore Micah Au-Haupu. “Our grade had a hard time even putting together a band and we almost dropped out.”