WAILUKU - The 39th annual Na Mele O Maui Song & Art Competition will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Sponsored by the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association, Maui's only countywide Hawaiian song and art competition is dedicated to cultural preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian mele, language and arts.
This year's theme, "Ka Ho'oilina Leo a Kahauanu Lake Trio," will showcase the vocal legacy of Maui-born Kahauanu Lake and his group, the Kahauanu Lake Trio.
Kahauanu Lake was a Hawaiian musician whose career spanned over 60 years. He led the Kahauanu Lake Trio with his late brother, Tommy, and Al Machida. A member of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, Kahauanu was honored as a “Living Treasure of Hawaii” and Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award winner for his contributions to Hawaiian music.
Artwork will be inspired by the events, stories and places depicted in songs by Kahauanu Lake Trio.
In honor of the 2011 legacy honoree, Gordean Bailey, Kula resident, kumu hula and former Miss Hawaii, will present two hula performances.
Students of her Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua will dance "Waikiki Hula," the contest song for Division Two grades two and three, and Bailey will dance the beloved mele "Pua Lililehua" with a few of her students.
Sissy Lake-Farm, niece of Kahauanu Lake and a kumu hula of Na Hanona Kulike 'O Pi'ilani, will dance "Pua 'Ahihi."
Family, friends and the general public are invited to attend this free event. Donations will be accepted at the door.
Classes from kindergarten to grade 12 will participate in the song competition. Each class is required to perform two songs in Hawaiian. The first is the Contest Song chosen by the committee to fit the theme. There is a different song for each grade division. The second song is a Choice Song selected by participating classes to reflect the theme.
Classroom choirs are judged on musical competence, language proficiency and interpretation, stage presence and all-around enthusiasm.
From West Maui, Joy Takatsuka, Joe Kent and Kathleen Royer's students will sing "Maile Lauli'ili'i" and "Punalu'u" in Division I (grades K-1); Lori Kaufman's students at Princess Nahi'ena'ena Elementary will sing "Waikiki Hula" and "Kahakuloa" in Division II (grades 2-3); Joe Kent's students at King Kamehameha III will sing "Lei Lokelani" and "Henehene Kou 'Aka" in Division III (grades 4-5); and Beth Fobbe-Wills' students at Lahaina Intermediate School will sing "Punalu'u" and "Ka'u Nui" in Division III (grades 4-5).
This year's song competition judges are Reiko Fukino, music judge; Luana Kawa'a, language judge; and Pueo Pata, overall judge.
"Na Mele O Maui offers each keiki an opportunity to learn different mele, as well as proper pronunciation of Hawaiian language in song, Hawaiian culture, and they become more self-confident, too," said Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier, co-emcee. "The community also benefits, as they witness the caliber of each performance escalate every year as schools try harder to raise the bar."
Fukino said, "Na Mele O Maui sends a strong message to the community that music and the arts need to be kept alive, as it fosters creativity in our children..."
The 2011 Art Competition finalists will be recognized during a special awards presentation. The winning artwork will be on display.
Art competition judges include Steve Brinkman, photographer; Bonnie Friedman, arts/culture; and Todd Campbell, woodcarver.
For more information, call Kaanapali Beach Resort Association at 661-3271 or visit www.kaanapaliresort.com.