Young voices to be raised in song

The 41st annual Na Mele O Maui Song & Art Competition will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Sponsored by Ka’aanapali Beach Resort, 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, “Na Wahi Pana Aloha I Hawai’i,” will showcase songs and artwork of beloved places of Hawaii.

Family, friends and the general public are invited to attend this free event. Donations are 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 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. Twenty-three classes representing 16 schools will participate this year. They include three classes from Molokai, three from Upcountry, six from West Maui, four from East Maui and seven from Central Maui.

Prizes are awarded based on overall scores within grade-level divisions. A combination of scores for the two songs determines the winner in each grade division and the overall winner of the entire competition. This year’s song competition judges are: Reiko Fukino, music judge; Kahuli Eldridge, language; and Kamaka Kukona, overall judge.

The 2013 art competition finalists will be recognized during a special awards presentation. The winning artwork will be displayed onstage.

Na Mele O Maui continues through support from Ka’anapali Beach Resort, AKAKU, the MACC, Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association – Maui Region, and Mele Ukulele.