E Mele Kakou Seeks More Schools
The Hawaiian Music Foundation's music education outreach project, E Mele Kakou (We Sing), is now entering its 4th year of providing Elementary school music education to 4th and 5th graders. Taught, in collaboration with Hawai`i Youth Opera Chorus (HYOC), the introduction of classic Hawaiian repertoire is through choral singing.
Each child receives music basics. Each teacher receives training so that he or she may continue the program with each successive year. Nola Nahulu, HMF's Vice President is project Choral Director/Project Coordinator.
In her year-end report at the Foundation's Annual Meeting, September 17, Director Nahulu noted the addition of HYOC staff members to the teaching program in the fall of 2002 to provide instruction in the basics of music education. Ka`iulani Elementary School 5th graders "began with a half day choral workshop. Students rotated in four workshops covering Bel canto singing technique, Dalcroze movement, hula, basic music theory and Kodaly."
During the Fall semester eleven one hour sessions were conducted using the curriculum developed by the Foundation's Education Committee in 1999. The song repertoire is selected from the compositions of Na Lani Eha (The Royal Four, honored by the Hall of Fame as the patrons of Hawaiian music.)
The seventy-one 5th grade singers made their concert debut at `Iolani Palace on September 7, 2002, as part of a birthday celebration in memory of Queen Lili`uokalani, and again in September on the Palace grounds with the Royal Hawaiian Band. The Queen's mele "He Inoa no Ka`iulani" written in memory of her niece, Princess Ka`iulani, was the centerpiece of their school celebration of the Princess' birthday in October.
Eighty eight `Aiea 4th graders and 62 Hokulani Elementary 5th graders were added to E Mele Kakou in Spring 2003, using the same format as the one structured for Ka`iulani School.
Director Nahulu thanked the Cooke Foundation for continuing their generous funding of the education project, and announced that Cooke has again granted funding for 2004.
In closing, she said E Mele Kakou is seeking potential school participation. "We are looking specifically at schools who do not presently have a music resource teacher or program." She noted that "each school contributes $1,500 per semester for the project, with the balance provided through Grant funding."
Request: if you know of any potential schools, please contact the project's new coordinator, Phil Hidalgo, 282-5606 or email to [email protected]
Ka`iulani's Principal, Charlotte White writes: "We are most fortunate to have participated in the E Mele Kakou program for the past three years. What a gift this has been to our school and a tremendous opportunity for our students." She goes on to say "the opportunities for the children to sing in public "are not only memorable for our students but serve as a "gateway" for economically deprived students to experience cultural opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them." Mrs. White noted that "over 250 students have come to understand and appreciate Hawaiian music" and have learned to "define Hawaiian music as a way of sharing the culture of Hawai`i through oli (chant), mele (song) and leo (melody)." And, she added, "they have have had fun!" Those of us who have seen and heard them perform say: "Awesome!"