Song Contest 2023


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Songs of the Hawaiian Cowboy

Live broadcast
Friday, March 10 on K5
Pre-show 7 p.m. | Competition 7:30 p.m.

Encore presentations of the pre-show and competition
Friday, March 17 | 7 p.m. on KGMB
Saturday, March 18 | 2 p.m. on KHNL
Friday, March 24 | 7 p.m. on KGMB


Louise Aoe McGregor Award
Outstanding Student Director
Winner: (TIE)
Brennan Agcaoili, Freshmen Co-ed Director
Taitea Sunaoka, Junior Co-ed Director

Richard Lyman, Jr. Trophy
‘Ōlelo Makuahine Award
Winner: Senior Co-ed

George Alanson Andrus Cup
Boys’ Competition Award
Winner: Seniors

New England Mothers’ Cup
Girls’ Competition Award
Winner: Juniors

Helen Desha Beamer Award
Best Musical Performance
Winner: Junior Co-ed

Charles E. King Cup
Combined Class Award
Winner: Juniors


Oli Ho ‘okipa
Ho ‘onani I Ka Makua Mau
Hawai ‘i Pono ‘ī
‘Ōlelo Ho ‘okipa

Boys’ Competition

Girls’ Competition

Combined Class Competition

Intermission – 15 Minutes

Combined Classes


Presentation of Awards

Alma Mater

Papa 12: melemele; Papa 11: ‘ōma ‘oma ‘o; Papa 10: poni; Papa 9: ‘ula ‘ula

The paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, is the focal point of a rich and fascinating heritage that stretches back nearly 200 years, beginning in the time of Kamehameha ‘Ekahi. Throughout that span of time, not only did cattle ranching here in Hawai‘i become a booming industry that quickly evolved to suit our unique landscape, but it left lasting imprints on our people and proudly remains a way of life for some of our most precious communities across the islands.

Countless mele have been written by and for paniolo, reflecting the range of their experiences, putting voice to some of their most intimate sentiments, and giving us a glimpse into their colorful, dynamic world.

Over the years, paniolo life has developed into a rich culture that expresses itself both pragmatically and artistically, and its legacy is alive and well to this day. This year’s Song Contest will take a journey through the open plains and gentle slopes of the islands, celebrating the songs and stories of our paniolo. Aloha i ka Hawaiian Cowboy!

Song Directors

Brennan Agcaoili
Kailua, O‘ahu
Freshmen Coed Director
Competition Song: Kupa Landing

Brennan is involved in the Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard as a percussionist, he is an avid soccer player, and a member of the track team. He aspires to be an architect or an engineer.

Emiole Ohai
‘Ahuimanu, O‘ahu
Sophomore Men’s Director
Competition Song: Hanohano Wale Nō Nā Cowboy

Emiole is a percussionist in the Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard and is also a skilled pianist and oragnist. He aspires to obtain all of his pilot’s licenses and become an airline pilot.

Fay Nu‘uhiwa
Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Sophomore Women’s Director
Competition Song: Ke ‘Ala o ka Rose

Fay is a dancer in the Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian Ensemble and a part of the paddling team. She keeps in tip top shape and hopes to major in kinesiology after graduating from Kamehameha Schools.

Lauren Kawai
Pauoa, O‘ahu
Sophomore Coed Director
Competition Song: Maika‘i Waimea

Lauren is a devoted member of the Bishop Memorial Chapel Deputation Team, Students Give Back Club, and the Key Club. She is a color guard member in the Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard and a violinist in the Kamehameha Schools Sinfonietta. Lauren is interested in psychology, ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, and Elementary education as future areas of study.

Logan Ledesma
Pearl City, O‘ahu
Junior Men’s Director
Competition Song: Hawaiian Cowboy

Logan is a Tenor in the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club, a member of the paddling team, and a part of the Boy Scouts. Upon graduating from Kamehameha, he hopes to study advertising and marketing.

Selah Fronda
Mānoa, O‘ahu
Junior Women’s Director
Competition Song: Honesakala

Selah is a principal dancer in the Kamehameha Dance Company, a singer in the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club, the worship leader for the Bishop Memorial Chapel Deputation Team, and a part of Hawai‘i’s Youth Philanthropy Board. Selah is interested in digital marketing and advertising and hopes to continue dancing in college.

Taitea Sunaoka
Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu
Junior Coed Director
Competition Song: Waimea Cowboy (Kilakila Nā Roughrider)

Taitea is a tenor in the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club and a part of the paddling team. He is also a Tahitian dancer with Te Vai Ura Nui, a local Tahitian dance troupe under the direction of Ra‘atira Charles and Cathy Temanaha – Taitea’s grandparents. In the future he hopes to fly the friendly skies as a commercial airlines pilot.

Keahe‘ōlauniu Lopez
Kapālama, O‘ahu
Senior Men’s Director
Competition Song: Hu‘ehu‘e

Keahe is a tuba player in the Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard and a tenor in the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club. He works at the Royal Hawaiian Center as the Promotion Specialist and audio technician. Keahe would like to become a commercial airlines pilot.

Faith Kawai
Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu
Senior Women’s Director
Competition Song: Adios Ke Aloha

Faith has been a cast member in many theatrical productions put on by Keaka Kamehameha with her most current lead role as Nala in Lion King, Jr. She also is a passionate Latin ballroom dancer. Faith hopes to advance her studies in musical theatre.

Micah Kekaula
Kahalu‘u, O‘ahu
Senior Coed Director
Competition Song: Kaula ‘Ili

Micah is a paddler in the Kamehameha Schools Boy’s paddling team and is a tenor in the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club. He would like to pursue a degree in architecture.

Competition Songs

PAPA 10 | Boys
Hanohano wale nō nā cowboY
By: Sam Kamaipelekane
Arranged by: Zachary A. Lum

PAPA 11 | Boys
Hawaiian cowboY
By: Solomon K. Bright
Arranged by: Timothy K. Ho

PAPA 12 | Boys
Hu ‘ehu ‘E
By: Rose Simerson
Arranged by: Justin Ka ‘upu

PAPA 10 | Girls
Ke ‘ala o ka rosE
By: Danny Ka ‘ōpio
Arranged by: Zachary A. Lum

PAPA 11 | Girls
Words by: Thomas Lindsey
Music by: David Nape
Arranged by: Bowe Souza

PAPA 12 | Girls
Adios ke alohA
By: Prince William Pitt Leleiōhoku
Arranged by: Bailey Matsuda

PAPA 9 | Coed
Kupa landinG
By: Lot Kauwe
Arranged by: Zachary A. Lum

PAPA 10 | Coed
Maika ‘i waimeA
By: Rev. John Kalino
Arranged by: Bailey Matsuda

PAPA 11 | Coed
Waimea cowboY
(Kilakila Nā Roughrider)
By: Bill Ali ‘iloa Lincoln
Arranged by: Taisamasama Ka ‘imina ‘auao-Eteuati

PAPA 12 | Coed
Kaula ‘ilI
Arranged by: Bowe Souza


The Song Contest is unique to Kamehameha – a tradition that has involved all students in musical competition for one hundred and three 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.

Give with Pauahi

‘Elia Akaka KSK'18 - recipient of the Keola and Kapono Beamer Scholarship and Lena Machado Haku Mele Scholarship - shares how these opportunities allowed him to study mele. Supporting music scholarships like these uplift young ‘ōiwi leaders, including haumāna like ‘Elia, and uplift the lāhui for generations to come.

Make your gift today to support Pauahi Foundation scholarships that value and focus on the importance of mele.

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