Choir, art win at Nā Mele O Maui


Photo by Kimani Fernandez-Roy

Moments before their performance, the KSM Nā Mele group practice their songs Tuesday at Keōpūolani Hale before heading down to the Maui Artʻs and Cultural Center. Off camera are musicians playing guitars and the bass and Kumu Dale Nitta, who is timing the run through.

KAHULUI–Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Nā Mele group took first place in three of the five different song divisions at the Nā Mele O Maui Art & Song Competition Tuesday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Centerʻs Castle Theater.

Kamehameha Schools Maui however, only participated in and won Divisions three, four, and five. For their achievements, each Division winner received a plaque and ukulele.

With the end of the semester approaching, a long Thanksgiving weekend, and recent Hōʻike Nui activities for juniors and seniors, song practice time was precious. The choir squeezed in rehearsals when and where ever they could under the direction of Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo and Kumu Dale Nitta.

“I felt very ill prepared going in,” Kumu Kalei said, but she said that the students were able to pull it together and sing the songs in the best way that she had ever heard it.

Musicians Mr. Clark Tuitele, senior Noe Poepoe, and Kumu Kalei Aaron play their pieces during rehearsal before heading down to the MACC.
Photo by Kimani Fernandez-Roy
Musicians Mr. Clark Tuitele, senior Noe Poepoe, and Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo play their pieces during rehearsal before heading down to the MACC.

“I was nervous at first,” junior Shaylisse Gregory said. Her nerves persisted until the announcement of a winner, and at that point she “jumped up with excitement,” she said.

The Kamehameha Schools Maui Nā Mele group did not participate in last yearʻs Nā Mele O Maui song competition. However, they were able to overcome nerves and the limited amount of practices to take home the trophy in this year’s competition, just as they did two years ago.

In addition to the choir, KSM was also well represented by Ms. Angie Abeʻs and Ms. Lori Gunztelʻs art students. In Ms. Abeʻs class, freshman William Thompson took first and sophomore Kanoa Hokoana took second in the Division one group that consisted of grades nine and ten.

“I was very proud, they worked really hard,” Mrs. Abe said. She also showed a huge amount of pride in how well her first year art students did.

The students had beed working on their pieces for three weeks and of the four entries that they had, three placed. Thompson, Hokoana, and senior Kamauliola Kana who placed fourth in Division two consisting 0f grades 11 and 12.

Due to their placements, Thompson received an award of $100, Hokoana got $75, and Kana received $25.

Mrs. Guntzelʻs also did will with senior Jaden Texeria coming in third and senior Gabrielle Kaina coming in fourth for the Division two three dimensional category. Texeria was awarded $50 and Kaina received $25 for their achievements.

Both the Nā Mele group and art students brought all they had to offer when they needed it most. With emotions from pride to surprise, they both experienced it all and did even better than what they had expected.