Over 1,800 KS Kapālama high schoolers will celebrate their Hawaiian heritage through mele at Friday’s Kamehameha Schools Song Contest at Neal Blaisdell Center. The musical tradition goes back nearly a century to the first contest held on the steps of Bishop Museum.
“Song Contest is more than just a competition,” said KSK Performing Arts Department Head Alika Young. “The contest’s original objectives set by Music Director Laura Brown in the 1920s said that the goal of Song Contest is not only to build up students’ repertoire of Hawaiian music, but also to develop leadership, cooperation, and class spirit.
“Each year, Song Contest continues to cultivate these valuable qualities, while creating cherished memories for our haumāna. The tradition also lays the foundation for their success as leaders who lift up our lāhui.”
This year’s competition will be broadcast live on KFVE and the Song Contest website starting with a pre-show at 6:30 p.m. followed by the live airing of the contest at 7:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Na Mele ‘Ohana: The Musical Legacy of Vickie Ii Rodrigues,” celebrating the role mele plays in our everyday lives.
The English television broadcast will be hosted by award-winning musician and KS Cultural Consultant Manu Boyd and Hawai‘i News Now anchor Mahealani Richardson. The Hawaiian language broadcast will be hosted by KS Kapālama ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i kumu Melelani Pang and Lilinoe Ka‘ahanui.
Visit the Song Contest website for details.