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E Mele Kakou - "A Wonderful Pilot"

Comment by David R. Moncrief
Pilot Program Backed by Kaiulani School 4th grade Hawaiian music students, the E Mele Kakou instructors perform at the final ice cream social.

December 2, 1999 marked the end of the E Mele Kakou pilot program for 4th grade classes at Kaiulani School. The students presented leis and special gifts to their music educators who asked the students to evaluate the course.

All the students had stories of overcoming fear singing in front of the whole school, and gratitude for learning the songs and the history of the Na Lani `Eha period. One of instructor Nalani Olds' girls said she had never before while singing in a group experienced everyone singing with a single voice. That captured the spirit of the transformation perfectly.

If you had heard the classes struggling to learn the words, the phrasing, the notes, while attempting to stay on key, in the first few lessons, and then watched Van Diamond, Nalani and Gary lovingly correct and motivate, and finally witnessed the students performance last Tuesday at the "Ice Cream Social", you could not have described it any more poignantly.

After the strains of Hawai`i Aloha concluded as the students and teachers of all three classes held hands, the music educators said their goodbyes. With appropriate emotion, Van Diamond told us what a special day this was for him. Years ago, in the 1930's, his mother had taught at Kaiulani School. Today is her birthday. Neither the students nor the teachers wanted to leave the classroom to go to lunch.

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Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame
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