Lee Ann DeLima, Poʻo Kula of Kamehameha Schools Maui, says that, “Kamehameha Schools Maui embraces Pauahis love for choral music. And this is really a Kamehameha Schools tradition, where we come together and we sing the songs that our kupuna sang. We, our beloved Kamehameha aliʻi Songs, We sing about our ʻāina, and this evening, we are going to sing about ʻohana.”
A tradition since 2003, ʻAha Mele showcases mele relating to the school year theme; this year being, “He ʻOhana Kākou.” But the highlight of the event is seeing this collective goal for excellence.
Kamehameha Schools Maui Choral Director, Kumu Dale Nitta shares that, “This year, more than any in the past, the students have taken ownership. They’ve been doing things like calling their own rehearsals, and actually running their rehearsals.”
Senior Alakaʻi, ʻIwalani Kaaa says that, “It’s my kuleana to, um, fit the pieces together and make us flow, and make the vision come alive. First, I think it’s like, pitch. And like- tone; make sure you are singing the correct notes. And also, like the feeling behind it, like just allowing them to just come forth to, to make the song come alive.”
“I’m really, really competitive. Sometimes I come across, too like, ‘push-ie.’ Sometimes I come across too nice. You kind of just have to find that middle. And that’s where your class will meet you, and when they meet you there, it’s just…the song turned out amazing.” says Junior Alakaʻi, Madison Vaught.
“Aside from achieving a beautiful melody, the students here, at Maui Campus, look forward to the time of awarding Ka Maka o ka Ihe to the winning class. At the end of the program, I’m invited to the stage. And my heart is ticking just like everyone else, because I don’t know who won. And then I announce the winning class, and the class president comes forward, and puts their class color ribbon on the ihe, it’s tied on. When you put your class color on the ihe, it’s like, most like bragging rights for the rest of the year.“ says Poʻo Kula, DeLima.
“I’m really happy with how it’s evolved. The kids also feel a need to compete and to win. And I feel that is really good for our culture.” says Senior Alakaʻi, ʻIwalani Kaaa.
“And I think they will be able to look back and see just the connection that these mele give them to, to the past, to, to be Hawaiian. And, it’s really, you know, something important where, they get to perpetuate it.” says Kumu Dale Nitta.