School Music Program Expands
Our Hawaiian music instructional program, E Mele Kakou (We Sing), continues to expand. New 4th and 5th grades were added this school year. Now, in springtime, "class graduation" is a very special Friday performance with the Royal Hawaiian Band on the lawn of `Iolani Palace.
On March 12, the entire Nu`uanu Elementary School 5th grade of 55 students had their music "graduation". The group's Director, Nola Nahulu (HMHF Vice President and Education Committee Chair) said "lots of parents showed up, and Principal Clayton Kaninau was thrilled. Nu`uanu wants us back next year."
`Aiea Elementary School's 4th grade of 80 students had their day at `Iolani on March 19. The `Iolani graduation performance for Nu`uanu's 4th grade of close to 60 students sang with the Royal Hawaiian Band on Friday, May 21.
Each school's `Iolani Palace graduation day includes both a short informational video about the E Mele Kakou instruction program, and an historic tour of the Palace grounds, provided by Palace docents. Just before the noon concert, a Bento lunch is served and a short "warm-up" rehearsal is conducted.
The keiki portion of the RHB Friday concert on the lawn always begins with "Hawai`i Pono`i" and the performance of E Aloha E (mele ho`okipa). Following, each school sings a song they have been taught, and performs a simple hula. "Makalapua" is performed with the Band. Concerts end with the singing of "Aloha `Oe".
E Mele Kakou is a collaborative effort of Hawaiian Music Foundation and the Hawai`i Youth Opera Chorus. The staff includes: Phil Hidalgo (Hawaiian History/Accompanist/Project Coordinator), Wendy Chang (Music Theory/Accompanist), Nola Nahulu (Choral Director), and Noelani Goldstein (Hula). Each school contributes to the cost of the program, with the balance covered by Grant funding from The Cooke Foundation..
Seven new elementary schools are targeted for the 2004-2005 school year, and Princess Ka`iulani Elementary has once again requested E Mele Kakou for their Fall 2004 session.