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The "Skinny" on Aloha Week Hula

From Harry B. Soria, Jr. of "Territorial Airwaves"

Jack Pitman composed this popular tune for the annual Aloha Week song competition. Aloha Week (now known as Aloha Festivals) was created by businessman Harry Nordmark and the local business community right after World War II. It was seen as an effort to kickstart the visitor industry in the traditionally "soft" October month.

In the first couple of years, a variety of events were created to accompany the Royal Court, etc., that we still see today. The Aloha Week Parade was first held in 1949, but the Aloha Week Song Contest began in 1948. Each year's winner would be released as a 78rpm recording. Surprisingly, neither "Aloha Week Hula" nor its composer Jack Pitman were not the first winners.

The first great success for Pitman, the Canadian lounge pianist working in Waikiki, came in 1948 when he composed "Beyond the Reef" and it was recorded by rising star Alfred Apaka. Apaka also recorded "Aloha Week Hula" when it finally won the Song Contest in the early 1950's. The recording was so popular it became the informal anthem of the annual festival, which no doubt contributed to the eventual demise of the Aloha Week Song Contest.

[ED: You will find the song's lyrics in Harry's message at our website "Talk Story Forum".]

Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame
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