Hawaiian Ensemble hosts dress rehearsal before travels to Aotearoa


Photo by Aaron Veincent

The Hawaiian Ensembleʻs hula group performs to the mele sung by the choir. The Hawaiian Ensemble hosted an open dress rehearsal to make final changes and for the participants’ ʻohana to watch.

Tuesday night in Keōpūolani Hale, Hawaiian Ensemble hosted a dress rehearsal that gave their ʻohana a chance to watch the club’s Pasifika Festival performance that they will be doing in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hawaiian Ensemble consists both of hula and mele groups with about 40 students overall.

Along with the students, Kumu Henohea Kāne, Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo, Mr. Clarke Tuitele and other chaperons will be joining them. The three kumu, with the help of parents and other staff organized the group, making all of it possible.

The group is departing left this morning and will return on Mar. 26, having left New Zealand on March 27 due to crossing the International Date Line during the flight.

While there the group will spend much time performing, but will also be indulging themselves in the New Zealand culture.

“We have three school visits, we’re visiting Maori television, and we have marai stays, staying at the communities instead of the hotels,” said Kumu Kalei, Hawaiian Ensemble conductor and guitar instrumentalist.

The group was invited to perform at the prestigious Pasifika Festival, which is hosted once a year, this being their 25th anniversary. The festival gathers all the Polynesian cultures in one place for the opportunity to show the audience what they’re made of.

Among the 220 performing groups, Hawaiian Ensemble will be located in the Hawaiian village, one of the 11 villages presented at the festival, and will perform for about a half hour each on March 25 and 26.

Map of Pasifika Festival Auckland from festival website.

Map of Pasifika Festival Auckland from festival website.

At the festival, guests walk through villages that each highlight a certain culture. In a village there will be food and performances that revolve around that culture.

“We have been practicing since the beginning of the year. As time drew near we started having practices more frequently,” senior and bass instrumentalist, Noelani Poepoe said.

Hawaiian Ensemble spent many hours preparing to appear on a world-class stage, with practices starting from after school and ending at 8p.m.

The group’s performance includes many well-known musical numbers, such as Oli Aloha and Nā Wahi Henoheno, as well as a reggae mix of Aotearoa by Stan Walker, just to name a few.

The Hale preview gave Hawaiian Ensemble a chance to thank their ʻohana who made their trip possible through their support and fundraising.

Coordinator Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo leads the Hawaiian Ensemble choir in an a cappella piece.
Photo by Aaron Veincent
Coordinator Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo leads the Hawaiian Ensemble choir in an a cappella piece.

The presentation also gave them a chance to rehears the show in few costume and fix a few things that could make their performance better, such as stepping closer to the microphone.

Many sat back and enjoyed the performances with few interruptions made by Kumu Kalei, who wanted to make sure the audience was experiencing the performance as a whole, giving it a more comfortable and relaxed feeling.

Overall each mele and its hula was greeted with a wave of applause by the audience, with a standing ovation at the end.