Kamehameha School seniors unite virtually to mark 100 years of Song Contest

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 5:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Like so many other island events, the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest wasn’t immune to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the in-person competition was called off back in March, the school got creative to keep at least one important part of the tradition alive: The senior’s mele.

It was the first time in 100 years that a senior class couldn’t share their mele with the Kamehameha Schools ohana and community. But thanks to technology, songs of the outgoing senior class will be heard after all.

With a modern, socially distant twist, a virtual choir of outgoing seniors united in song for one last time.

Together they sang “Ola nā 'Ōiwi Aloha 'Āina.” An original mele composed by the students that would’ve been their co-ed finale.

“When we were originally approached with this idea, it was a bit hard for us to understand how it was going to reach so many people,” Senior Co-Ed director Josias Fronda said. “The reality is we’ve never had to deal with something like this before”

Hundreds of students recorded their parts and sent them in. The finished product was music to the ears.

Kamehameha Schools Choral Director Zachary Lum hopes viewers will hear more than just the music.

“You’ll hear their effort. Especially for those who may feel, ‘Oh I don’t know if I can do this, but I’m going to try my best.’ You’re gonna fee that,” Lum said. “I think what you’re going to see, are these faces that will inspire you.”

From the event’s early days on campus, to when it moved to the Blaisdell Center in 1964, Song Contest has remained true to its melodic roots. And this year simply brings a new look to an old tradition.

“We talk about knowing who we are as a Hawaiian people. But also adapting to our modern civilization and the technology aspects of it,” Fronda said.

The class of 2020 may not have the elation of experiencing a senior sweep, but they can look back and say they were the authors of their own story.

“This is who we are today and how that story has progressed,” Fronda said.

The men, women, and co-ed performances of the senior class will debut online Friday at noon. You can click here for a link to the webpage.

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