Category Archives: Hāʻupu

Performing Arts Week events at KSH

The annual Performing Arts Week is coming up, May 2 – 7, 2016.  All events will be held at the William Charles Lunalilo Center.  Open to the public.  Free of charge.


MONDAY, May 2 — High School Band Concert  

Start time:  6 PM  Presenting selections of “program music”:  music from musicals, movies, TV, literature, and opera.  Featuring selections from “Lord of the Rings”, “The Incredibles”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”.  We will also reconize the graduating senior class of 2016.

TUESDAY, May 3 — Hāʻupu

Start time:  6 PM  Workshop production of the touring production of this yearʻs Hōʻike presentation, the Hawaiian opera Hāʻupu, featuring the traveling cast that will be performing in Edinburgh, Scotland in August as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the American High School Theater Festival.

WEDNESDAY, May 4 — East Hawaii Choral Festival

Start time:  6 PM  KS welcomes Mountain View Elementary, middle schoolers from HAAS, the Hilo High School Ambassadors, Waiakea High School Choir, the UH Hilo Chorus, and the Kamehameha Alumni Choir for an evening of musical sharing.  Also featuring the KS Elementary Keiki Choir.

FRIDAY, May 6 — SCOTY (Student Choice of The Year) Awards

Start time: 6 PM  The tradition of the SCOTYs (Student Choice Of The Year) Awards continues, with recognition for outstanding student work in theater, band, singing, video, and all things performing arts.  Semi-formal attire.

Hōʻike cast on the morning news – Monday, March 7

Four cast members will be traveling to Oʻahu to appear on three morning news shows:  KITV, Hawaii News Now, and KHON to promote Hōʻike 2016: Hāʻupu.   Leads Mara-Jayde “Hiwa” Brown (Hina), Daylan-Blake Kalaʻi (Kapepeʻekauila), Pomai Longakit (Uli), and Kaeo Cachola (Niheu) will be in costume to sing selections from the opera and speak about the presentation.

Tune into any of the three stations to hear on Monday, March 7.

KITV 5:45 am – Live interview with all four cast members

Hawaii News Now  7:50am and 8:10am Daylan and Hiwa

KHON 8:10am  Pomai and Kāʻeo

The cast at KITV
The cast at KITV




Hōʻike on the radio!

KWXX and KAPA are now running ads for Hōʻike featuring Kaeo Cachola (Nihau) and Pomai Longakit (Uli) singing one of their duets from Act 1.

Kuuhiapo Jeong (Kana) and Makana Waikiki (Nuʻakea) will be interviewed on KWXX this Friday, March 2.  Tune in to hear the broadcast!

Kamalanai Kekuewa


Sharle “Kamalanai” Kekuewa (Kana Shadow) is currently a senior at Kamehameha Schools Hawaii. She is the youngest of four children and in her free time enjoys spending time with friends and family and watching a good sports game. When her time at Kamehameha is over she hopes to attend New York University or Duke majoring in business. It was in elementary school that Kamalanai first got into performing arts. She participated in the Kamehameha Schools Keiki Choir from third grade through fifth grade.  Along with performing at Christmas and spring concerts, the Keiki Choir was also able to perform in the high school musicals! Kamalanai was an extra in Jesus Christ Superstar, and 42nd Street.  In middle school she got bigger roles:  a Von Trapp child in The Sound of Music, and Pepper the orphan, in the musical Annie.  When she reached high school, she wanted to experience another part of the theater and began working backstage during her freshman year. She enjoyed it because the backstage crew takes care of all the small details of the production and seemed to be the ones in control of everything and everyone. In her sophomore year she felt lucky and honored to be asked to work the light board because no one is allowed to touch it, and not many people know how to operate it. She enjoyed her years working in backstage but  is definitely looking forward to performing on stage again. She loves being able to step into another character and act as someone totally different from herself. What she hopes to gain from performing at the Fringe is a good response or reaction from those who watch. Kamalanai is excited that this will be the first time that the festival will feature a Hawaiian-language performance. “My castmates and I have the opportunity to represent our school and our Hawaiian culture. We have a chance to show people from around the world what aloha really is.  It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel extremely lucky and humbled that I was chosen.”

Alexia Iwamoto

Alexia Iwamoto (Kana Shadow), born and raised in Hilo, Hawai‘i,  is currently a junior at Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School. Her daily activities include, ballet, tap, jazz, and hula classes; she has also done other activities such as taiko, gymnastics, tennis, Tahitian, and Okinawan arts, all of which she has enjoyed profusely. She has appeared as Juliet, in Romeo, you Idiot, has had several parts in The Greek Mythology Olympiganza, West Side Story as a Jet girl, and has performed in many ballet, tap, jazz, hula, and taiko performances.  She has also been an emcee for her Elementary School’s Hō‘ike.  She plans to go into the school Business Academy. This is her first time participating in a hō‘ike, and she’s embodying the role of one of Kana’s shadows.  She was blessed to receive the opportunity to be one of twenty fortunate students to take this show to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform at the American High School Theater Festival.  There, she desires to learn about Scottish culture and its similarities and differences to Hawaiian culture as well as about all the historic sites.  Along this journey, she would not only like to learn from the ‘āina, but from the people around her.  It is her hope to learn from the people about their daily lives and from the other actors participating at the Fringe. She plans to improve her prowess in leadership, teamwork, and responsibility so that she can better prepare herself for what the future has in store.  She would like to give her warmest mahalo to her mother, father, and older sister who have enthusiastically supported her in all her passions along with everyone who has made the chance to share Hawaiian culture on a worldwide scale happen.

Scotland Cast

Full Cast FINAL

Members of the touring cast of Hāʻupu:


Hiwa Brown (Hina)

Cast Photos_Pono

Pono Brown (Hakalanileo)


Kaeo Cachola (Niheu)


Leiana Clark (Warrior)


Kayla Enanoria (Warrior)


Tiari Faagata (Lāanoano/Attendant to Hina)


Sierra Gleason (Hina understudy/Attendant to Hina)


Alexia Iwamoto (Kana Shadow)


Kuuhiapo Jeong (Kana)


Hansel Kaaumoana (Keoloʻewa)


Daylan-Blake Kalai (Kapepeʻekauila)


Alya-Joy Kanehailua (Keaʻuleinakahi/Nu’akea understudy)


Kamalanai Kekuewa (Kana Shadow)


Pomai Longakit (Uli)


Tenille Nagareda (Kolea)


Jameson Sato (Moi)


Damien Stack (Haho)


Chalet Tauati (Kahaʻalewa)


Makana Waikiki (Nuʻakea)

Mr. Mahelona returns from Scotland

It has been a couple of weeks since I returned from Edinburgh, Scotland to participate in the “Familiarization Tour” for the American High School Theater Festival.  The “FAM Tour” is a great opportunity for potential participants to experience the festival and see the performance venues and activities that the students will participate in as part of AHSTF.

AHSTF is an independent theater festival embedded in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the worldʻs largest international arts festival.  AHSTF selects high schools from the U.S. and Canada to participate in the Fringe.  They provide housing, educational activities, meals, and performance venues and technical support for participating high schools, and also provide consulting and assistance with fundraising and logistics.

I arrived a day late for the tour because my flight from Hilo to LA was cancelled, so the entire group was already out touring.  I left my bags in the dorm and ventured into Edinburgh on my own.

Edinburgh is a lovely city not much bigger than Hilo proper, but centuries older.  No big skyscrapers to block the skyline that looks out onto the North Sea, much like Hilo looks out onto the Pacific.  Lots of beautiful stone churches, old halls, cobbled streets in the old part of town where most of the festival is held.

There are a LOT of performance venues!  I saw signs advertising “Venue #433”!  The streets are filled with families and visitors from all over the world.  I heard many different languages spoken, but the tone was always shock and amazement at what was going on around us:  performers and performances everywhere.  People juggling balls, pins, flaming torches; a choir in beautiful African costume singing a cappella, street magicians, performance artists posing as statues, a woman dressed as Marie Antoinette with a portable guillotine that she used to “behead” willing volunteers.  After the hooded head rolled, audiences cheered when the volunteer emerged from the guillotine unharmed.

I spoke with many people who were handing out flyers to promote their shows.  One guy wrote a musical with his girlfriend – a one-woman show about depression.  I was intrigued and paid my 5 pounds for a ticket.  The performance was stunning and deeply moving, a harrowingly accurate portrait of someone struggling with emotions out of control, but ultimately hopeful.  The lone, brave woman engaged all of us in the audience.  We felt everything she was feeling.  We rooted for her and wanted her to be happy.  Glitter and confetti flew everywhere.  We sang along with her and cheered her on her courageous journey.

Over the course of four days, I watched American high schools, a high school from England, a college a cappella choir, a puppet show version of Beowulf, some great improvised comedy, an improvised musical, and many wonderful performances in venues of every size.

The overall vibe of the festival is family-friendly and wildly creative in the best possible sense.  Everyone is there to share and give, and the feeling is infectious.

Good food!  Scots know how to eat, obviously.  Lots of food options, and not any more expensive than Hilo.  Many food courts and food “festivals” to choose from as well as local restaurants offering a variety of international cuisine.

The weather is unpredictable as far as temperature goes.  Highs in the 70s, lows in the 40s. Fortunately I am one-fourth Scottish, so part of me doesnʻt mind the cold.  The Hawaiian side had some issues, though.

Got to meet the other teachers who will be coming next year, many of whom are coming for the second or third time.  When the issue of fundraising came up, they all had one message:  if you focus on the students, and believe that this is the best thing for them, a life-changing experience that will better them as students and human beings, then the money will come.  I believe!

American High School Theater Festival

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School has been invited to participate the 2016 American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF).  Twenty students and five chaperones will have the opportunity to join an elite troupe of high school artists and perform as part of the AHSTF program at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the worldʻs largest performing arts festival held annually in Scotland.  The Edinburgh Festival Fringe involves 42,000 performers from all over the world and attracts about 1 million visitors each year to performances throughout the month of August.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School was first nominated to apply for the festival by two local theatre professionals this past fall.  The nominations were based on the high standard of excellence demonstrated by Kamehameha’s theatrical performances, ranging from well-known musicals to original works such as Hawaiian-language operas. The AHSTF Board of Advisors selected Kamehameha Hawaiʻi’s program for their commitment to theatre education, promotion of culture, level of administrative support and community involvement.  Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi will be the first non-Oʻahu school to attend the AHSTF.

Since its first Hōʻike presentation in 2004, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi  High School has been taken small steps toward building its performing arts program.  In 2006, the school initiated its annual Fall Musical and will produce its twelfth musical this November (Into the Woods).  In 2011, Kamehameha Hawaiʻi produced its first Hōʻike in the Hawaiian language.  This feat was followed by entire operas in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in 2012 and 2013.  For the AHSTF, the school plans to perform its third opera, an adaptation of an earlier Hōike production based on the saga of Hina and Kapepeʻekauila.

The honor of attending the AHSTF is a great leap forward for the school.  Enterprises of this pitch and moment come with a large price tag and fundraising efforts have been ongoing since the start of the school year.  With funds raised from our performances and the generous contributions of corporate and private donors, the trip will happen as planned.  A heartfelt Mahalo nui to all those who contributed to this effort.  

Read about Mr. Mahelonaʻs experience at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and American High School Theater Festival.