Choir, artists triumph in Nā Mele O Maui

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Photo by courtesy of Mitchel Dutro

Mitchel Dutro's award-winning photo from the 40th Annual Nā Mele O Maui Competition. Dutro won first place overall in the art division, and the KSM Nā Mele choir won first place in the song competition at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center today, Dec. 5.

Kamehameha Schools Maui was well represented today at the 40th Annual Nā Mele O Maui Song and Art Competition. The event was held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.

This year’s theme was “Beloved Places of Hawai’i.”

In the art competition, senior Mitchel Dutro and junior Lilia Lorenzo came away with top awards in the two-dimensional category.

Dutro won first place with a photo at Hamakua Poko on the island of Maui. He said the inspiration for it came at the most random of times.

“I was driving down the road, and I just figured that the shot would be sick,” Dutro said. “I could already see it through my eyes.”

It was a High Dynamic Range photo that captured the beauty of the area. He also won the overall prize with that photo and a total of $200.

He said he was shocked to find out that his Digital Photo teacher, Mrs. Angie Abe, had entered his picture in the competition. Mrs. Abe said she entered it to surprise him because she was “so proud of him.”

Lorenzo won second place for her painting on canvas of the Kalalau Mountain Range in Kaua’i.

For the song portion of the competition, Kamehameha Maui went against two other schools–Moloka’i and Lāhainaluna High School(s). The group won first place in the high school division as well as the overall award.

“In the past couple of days we really pulled it together,” sophomore Sarah Ikioka said. “In the end we did really good.”

Palehua, written by Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, was the required song for all three schools. Each school got the opportunity to also sing a second song that they felt embodied the theme.

“We chose a song about a beloved place in Hāna, Maui,…that song was Ua Kea O Hāna,” chorus teacher Mr. Dale Nitta said.

The song was written by Edward Pu’ukea.

Along with Mr. Nitta, Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo helped teach and lead the singing group.

“They did really well. Today was the best I’ve heard them sing,” Mr. Nitta said.