Kamehameha captures top honors at Na Mele

Students from Kamehameha Schools Maui sing “Ka‘ena” while competing in the ‘Opio Division in the 45th annual Na Mele O Maui, presented by Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association on Tuesday in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater. As the only school in the high school division, Kamehameha Maui was assured of first place, but its performance was so powerful and well sung, the school was named the competition’s overall winner. The teachers for the Kamehameha Maui group were Dale Nitta and Kalei ‘A‘arona. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

The Maui News

Kamehameha Schools Maui, singing “Ka’ena” and “Mahai’ula,” captured the overall title and ‘Opio Division, grades 9-12, of the 45th Na Mele O Maui at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater.

Dale Nitta and Kalei ‘A’arona are the students’ teachers. “Ka’ena” is the competition song that all the groups sang, and “Mahai’ula” was the group’s song of choice.

Ke Kula Kauaipuni o Pa’ia, competing in the grades 2-3 Division, took home the language award. The students’ teachers are Kulia Johnson, Kaha’iola Harders, Kaleialoha Kaniaupio Crozer, Ulu Kepani and Keala Kaiwi.

Three students from Kihei Charter High School won awards in the Na Mele O Maui Art Competition. Maile Getzen is the teacher for all of the winners.

Kamehameha Maui seniors Kaylee-Marie Zimmerman and Ikaika Mendez accept a prize ukulele from Mele Ukulele after their group earned first place in the ‘Opio Division and as overall winner.

Khaira Rajvong, a 10th-grader, won Division I (grades 9-10) honors and $100. The Division II winners (grades 11-12) were Makena Riemenschneider, an 11th-grader, first and $100; and Gabe Cagnoni, an 11th-grader, second and $75.

The song contest is presented by the Ka’anapali Beach Resort Association. The judges were Kaluhi Eldridge, language; George Kahumoku, music; and Keola Donaghy, overall. Ekela Kaniaupio Crozier was the emcee.

The division winners, place, teachers and choice song follow:

• Division 1 (kindergarten-1st grade), competition song “Pupu Hinuhinu.” Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Pa’ia, first, Kamaka’eu Williams, Kaleikaumaka Nauka, Kapeka Vares, “Ka Nohona Pili Kai”; Princess Nahi’ena’ena, second, Amy Kohlhepp, Su Lun Novikoff, “Kananaka.”

• Division 2 (grades 2-3), “Puamama.” Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Maui ma Pa’ia, first, Kulia Johnson, Kaha’iola Harders, Kaleialoha Kaniaupio Crozier, Ulu Kepani, Keala Kaiwi, “Na Hoa He’e Nalu”; Kamehameha Schools Maui, second, Kawehi Kammerer, Clark Tuitele, ” ‘O Hokule’a ‘Oe.”

Pomaikai Elementary School 4th-graders La‘i Greene Abafo (left) and Talan Scida descend the Castle Theater stairs after their Na Mele performance Tuesday.

• Division 3 (grades 4-5). “Ka Ulu Wehi O Ke Kai.” Kamehameha Schools Maui, first, Clark Tuitele, “Kaulana Ka Inoa ‘O Hokule’a”; Ke Kula Kauaipuni o Pa’ia, second, Leinani Kana, Kalei Johnson, Kalamaku Freitas, “Ho’okipa Paka.”

• Division 4 (grades 6-8), ” ‘Ulili E.” Lahaina Intermediate School, first, Kanoelani Stewart, Beth Fobb-Willis, “No Hoa He’e Nalu“; Kamehameha Schools Maui, second, Leimamo Nitta, Dale Gushiken-Nip,” ‘Opae E.”

• ‘Opio Division (grades 9-12), “Ka’ena.” Kamehameha Schools Maui, first, Dale Nitta, Kalei ‘A’arona, “Mahai’ula.”

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