For Song Contest 2024, the students of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama will lift their voices in song, honoring one of Hawai‘i’s foremost musicians, composers, entertainers, performer-extraordinaire and hula teacher - Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln.

Born William Lionel Kalaniali‘iloa Lincoln in Kehena, North Kohala, Hawai‘i, Uncle Bill is remembered fondly for both his Hawaiian compositions and his distinctively Hawaiian falsetto voice. With a musical career that spanned nearly 8 decades, Uncle Bill’s music and songs of his homeland were heard throughout Hawai‘i, the U.S. continent and internationally. As a protégé of Johnny Almeida and mentored by Mary Kawena Pukui, there’s no wonder why Uncle Bill’s beautiful compositions are timeless Hawaiian classics and continue to be till this day mele beloved by all.


Pualeialoha | Girls

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Hannah Asano

Director: Selah Ka‘upu Fronda
Papa: 12
Hometown: Mānoa, O‘ahu

It's the sweetest thing to hear my girls singing Pualeialoha in the stairwells and taking music home despite Aunty Kahala's daily reminder to "PASS IT IN!!" Leading 450 Hawaiians into deep appreciation and pride of the exact thing that gave them a place at Kamehameha is why I do it.

Moku o Keawe | Boys

By: Emalia Kaihumua and Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Zachary A. Lum

Director: Logan Ledesma
Papa: 12
Hometown: Mānana, O‘ahu

Being able to connect with people and places within Hawai‘i is such an important part of being Hawaiian. To hear it through song helps our ears encapsulate the essence of our ancestors and where their minds were. I direct to hear the music and feel the feelings of our kūpuna.

Nā Kuahiwi Kaulana | Combined Class

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Zachary A. Lum

Director: Taitea Sunaoka
Papa: 12
Hometown: Mānoa, O‘ahu

To me, it is a privilege and a great kuleana to be an alaka‘i mele. One of my favorite things about being a song contest director is being able to see my class get excited to sing mele Hawai‘i and to hear all of their parts come together.

Nani Lāwa‘i | Girls

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: T.J. Keanu Tario

Director: Fay Nu‘uhiwa
Papa: 11
Hometown: Wai‘anae, O‘ahu

Being a director means leading my girls positively in a beloved and honorable tradition. I can get the girls excited to sing and learn about the songs, which has been my #1 priority since my first year.

Pua Be-Still | Boys

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Taisamasama Ka‘imina‘au‘ao-Eteuati

Director: Emiole Ohai
Papa: 11
Hometown: ‘Āhuimanu, O‘ahu

Being a director means taking the hard hits for the class. Though faced with challenges, we do it to bring them together so we can let the music speak. Creating music that we can be proud of makes everything worth it to us all.

Kawaihae Hula | Combined Class

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Bowe Souza

Director: Kaizer Espiau
Papa: 11
Hometown: Kailua, O‘ahu

Being chosen as the new director of my class is a big honor. It means my classmates trust me to lead well. As the director, I want to bring our class together and create a bond by using music. My job is not just to lead songs, but to inspire us to work together, show our talents as a group, and represent our shared values through music.

Halema‘uma‘u | Girls

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Bowe Souza

Director: Charlotte Nakagawa
Papa: 10
Hometown: Moanalua, O‘ahu

Being chosen to lead in this century-long tradition is such an honor. Growing up watching Song Contest, I witnessed how meaningful this tradition is to us all. Honestly speaking, I can't even put into words the amount of trust and love my class has in me. They are my inspiration.

Mauna Lahilahi | Boys

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Mark Tang

Director: Benjamin Avapui Ulufale
Papa: 10
Hometown: Nānākuli, O‘ahu

It means stepping up to a bigger kuleana. Whether that means giving up free periods, weekends, or staying late, it is a kuleana worth fulfilling. For me, I do it to showcase the talents of my class. I do it so others can admire my class, like I do! #kākouthing!

‘Āina Kaulana | Combined Class

By: Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln | Arranged by: Taisamasama Ka‘imina‘au‘ao-Eteuati

Director: Brennan Agcaoili
Papa: 10
Hometown: Kailua, O‘ahu

Being Song Contest co-ed director means I am given the chance to support every single person in my class. The hundreds of assignments and late nights will all be worth it as I see my class come together for one special night and sing.

Ka Wai ‘o ‘Eleile | Combined Class

By: Mrs. Helen Parker | Arranged by: Bailey Matsuda

Director: Evan Kamaha‘o Haumea-Thronas
Papa: 9
Hometown: Olohena, Kaua‘i

To me, being a Song Director can be broken down into 2 words, trust and honor. My class trusts me to make the tough decisions for Song Contest, one of the most memorable high school experiences, and, to lead my class to honor our kūpuna, makes it extra special.


The Song Contest is unique to Kamehameha – a tradition that has involved all students in musical competition for one hundred and four years. Miss Laura Brown, Director of Music at Kamehameha from 1926-1947, stated that "the objectives of the song contest are to build up the repertoire of the best in Hawaiian music for the cultural heritage of any student who attends Kamehameha; to develop leadership, cooperation and good class spirit; and to give students the use of their singing voices and to give them pleasure in singing as a means of expression."

The first song contest for male students was held at the School for Boys in 1921. A cup named for George Alanson Andrus, a former director of music at Kamehameha School for Boys whose life inspired the idea of an annual song contest, was offered as an incentive in the competition.

1922 marked the first year that both the Kamehameha boys and girls held song contests. Mrs. E. G. Scoville, a visitor to the islands from Watertown, Connecticut, was so impressed with the singing of the Kamehameha girls that she donated the New England Mothers’ Cup for the School for Girls competition.

In 1967, an additional trophy was offered by the Trustees in honor of Charles Edward King, an 1891 graduate of the School for Boys. The trophy is awarded to the class winning the combined class competition.

The Louise Aoe McGregor Award, named for a member of the first graduating class of the School for Girls in 1897, was first presented in 1972. It recognizes the student director who has made the most significant contribution to the class in organizational ability, leadership, assistance to others, and persistence.

The Richard Lyman, Jr. ‘Ōlelo Makuahine (Mother Language) Award recognizes excellence in the use of the Hawaiian language within a song. Mr. Lyman, a Kamehameha Schools Trustee from 1959 to 1988, was keenly interested in the preservation of Hawaiian language and culture.

The Helen Desha Beamer Award recognizes the best musical performance. Donated by the Kamehameha Alumni Association, the award honors the substantial contributions of Helen Desha Beamer to the lexicon of Hawaiian music. Helen Desha Beamer was a 1900 graduate of the Kamehameha School for Girls.

In the early years, the girls’ song contest was held in front of the Assembly Hall, and the boys’ was held in front of Bishop Hall. When the School for Girls campus on Kapālama Heights was completed in 1931, separate contests for boys and girls were held in the auditorium. In 1952, the first combined contest of the School for Girls and School for Boys Senior Division took place in Kekūhaupi‘o, the newly constructed fieldhouse. The song contest moved to the Neal Blaisdell Center in 1964 and has been attended by capacity crowds there ever since. A highlight of the evening is the Hō‘ike, a show to entertain and inform the audience while the judges’ score sheets are tallied. The Hō‘ike is an exhibition of the beauty of Hawaiian mele and hula.