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Kamehameha Schools will celebrate the 100th year of Song Contest with the release of three virtual choir performances on Friday, May 29 at Undeterred by a global challenge, the senior haumāna of KS Kapālama are resolute in ensuring the resiliency, transformation and innovation of our lāhui as they perform student-composed mele honoring the theme: “I Mau Ke Aloha ʻĀina.”

Virtual KS Song Contest to be shared on May 29

May 26, 2020

Contributed by 'Alohi Bikle

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and in effort to protect the health and well-being of the community, Kamehameha Schools made the difficult decision in March to suspend the 100th Annual Song Contest. However, utilizing innovation and ingenuity, seniors from KS Kapālama ensure a time-honored tradition lives on with a reimagined format honoring the event’s original theme of “I Mau Ke Aloha ʻĀina” – So that Aloha ʻĀina perseveres.

On Friday, senior haumāna will showcase three special virtual choir performances featuring their original, never-before-heard mele, adding to the rich history that is the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest. To access this unprecedented occasion and learn more about each mele visit the Song Contest web page.

With a class size of 436 strong, seniors individually recorded themselves singing their designated parts, transforming the centennial celebration to meet the unique conditions of this unprecedented time. Dedicated teams of staff, alumni and friends then assembled the many bass, baritone, tenor, alto and soprano voices into three a cappella choral arrangements, made possible by leveraging advanced musical technology.

Although the highly sought-after Song Contest awards will not be presented, the opportunity for haumāna to follow in the footsteps of their kūpuna, while creating mele that perpetuate language, wahi pana (storied places) and traditional practices, far surpass any accolade.

In its original format, this year’s competition would have featured a total of 10 new compositions, which commemorate important stories impacting the lāhui today, by KS Kapālama high school students under the mentorship of local haku mele (songwriters).

The remaining seven mele aloha ʻāina created for this special milestone celebration will be presented at the 101st Annual Kamehameha Schools Song Contest in 2021. The contest will honor the next 100 years of resiliency, transformation and innovation for our lāhui.

Adorned in their class color, ‘ōmaʻomaʻo (green), KS Kapālama seniors virtually perform their co-ed mele, “Ola nā ‘Ōiwi Aloha ‘Āina,” under the direction of Josias Pilināmakaika‘oia‘i‘o Ka‘upu Fronda.

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