Bob Underwood brings music education to Molokai
At the end of the day, when students have left and the halls of Kaunakakai Elementary School are quiet, first grade teacher Bob Underwood picks up his violin and continues educating. He does not get paid for it, and he welcomes anyone with a desire to learn. But why would someone who spends all day in the classroom, constantly teaching, want to volunteer his free time doing that same thing?
“There’s one reason, and it’s very simple,” Underwood said. “I love music.”
Underwood shares that love with budding musical artists each week. Keiki are joined by their parents and other community members as they take on some of the toughest instruments to learn.…
Ho`olehua Veterans Cemetery was filled with the power of music on Memorial Day last Monday as singers and veterans united to honor the fallen.
“If you ask any veteran who has been in war,” said Molokai veteran Jesse Church, “they’ll tell you Memorial Day is the toughest day of the year emotionally because of the people you knew personally who didn’t come back with you.”
Church said despite the time off work, Memorial Day is not a day to enjoy; it is a day for remembrance. As Oahu-based vocal ensemble Melemai Kapu`uwaimai performed beside the graves, the mood was somber yet hopeful.…
Aka`ula School’s first high school graduate claimed her diploma May 30, marking an important milestone for both the young scholar and for the school.
It was an afternoon of joy and tears for Aaliya Chyna Ku`uipo Ka`ai, who as Aka`ula’s lone upperclassman served as a mentor for younger students and a helper for the teachers. She took deep breaths on stage before addressing the crowd and reflecting on her years at the school.
“While the diploma I receive today will be an important thing I carry with me wherever I go,” said Ka`ai in her graduation speech, “I want you to know that the diploma is just one piece of the puzzle.”
Teachers spoke of their confidence that Ka`ai will be very successful.…
By Dara Lukonen, Aka`ula School
For six decades, Bob Hope brought the USO’s famous “touch of home” and a string of smiles to millions of GIs. Bob Hope is remembered from generation to generation for the wonderful memories he and his Hollywood “band of gypsies” gave to U.S. troops through the years.
Aka`ula School continued this tradition last week with its econd USO-tribute show, “Thanks for the Memory 2,” performed entirely by Aka`ula students. One singer felt “the performances lacked energy during Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, but performers were pumped up and ready to go for Wednesday’s dinner theater.”
Joining Bob Hope on stage were comedians Abbott and Costello with a new take on “Who’s on First?” and two other routines, and the cast of “I Love Lucy” and their famous Chocolate Factory sketch.…
Each year, schools around the island celebrate May Day, known as Lei Day in Hawaii. Students at each school are selected for the royal court to represent every island, and perform songs and dances for family and friends. Here are some photos from May Day at Molokai Middle, Kualapu`u, Molokai High, Kaunakakai, Kilohana and Maunaloa schools.…
Kaunakakai students build ukulele and ohana
Nearly 75 third and fourth graders at Kaunakakai Elementary School took a break from regular classes last week for three days. But far from slacking off, they were engaged in the learning experience of a lifetime — building their own ukulele.
“This is the coolest thing in the world,” said Lydia Clemens, mother of fourth grader Kayla. “We’re blessed to have this opportunity. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Kayla, engrossed in using sand paper to smooth the unfinished wooden surface of her instrument, said she’s looking forward to playing it.
“I can say I made it on my own,” said fellow fourth grader, Marcus, proudly.…
For the past 22 years, Ka Hula Piko has brought the Molokai community and ohana together, along with visitors from around the world, to celebrate Hawaii’s cultural traditions and identity through hula.
“It’s a gathering of ohana — that’s what it’s all about,” said Molokai kupuna Julia Hoe. “[Hula] is who you are and where you come from. You’re dancing your genealogy.”
Halau and Hawaiian music groups from around the state and as far as Japan shared their talents and traditions with hundreds of attendees at Saturday’s ho`olaulea event, held for the first time this year at Lanikeha in Ho`olehua.
“Remember, hula was here before Zumba,” Hoe laughed.…
Thousands of supporters from Molokai, Hawaii and around the world gathered on Molokai April 27 to celebrate the life and legacy of Aunty Moana Dudoit. Members of the late kumu hula’s halau over the past 40 years reunited, performing together in remembrance of Dudoit, who died March 16 at the age of 73.
The celebration, which followed a memorial service for friends and family, honored Dudoit with hula, food and togetherness. Dudoit’s grandniece Zhantell Dudoit emceed the event, adding humor and commentary as different generations of the halau took the stage. Dudoit’s sister Raquel Dudoit, who also led the halau, helped provide music for the dancers.…
Ten years ago, six Molokai musicians assembled to showcase the island on Maui at an event at the Queen Ka`ahumanu Center. The group, which stayed together afterwards and became MoBettah the Band, celebrated a decade of entertainment, music and friendship with an anniversary concert at Paddlers Inn last Friday.
“We played for 13 hours that weekend on Maui,” remembered Tania Manaba-Will, lead vocalist and ukulele, timbale and tambourine player. Since then, the band has become a way to give back and share music and “encouraging messages” with the community, Manaba-Will said.
“We all have full time jobs on Molokai but our passion is our music,” said guitarist Rick Schonely, another of the four original band members still in the group.…
Homesteaders and Molokai residents celebrated Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole’s birthday Saturday on the island where his Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was first put into practice.
“If it weren’t for the success of homesteads on Molokai, the [Hawaiian homestead] program wouldn’t still be around,” event organizer Kammy Purdy said. Prince Kuhio’s 132nd birthday was honored with food, music and a ho`okupu at the Lanikeha Community Center.
Prince Kuhio was next in line for the throne when the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1984. He later became a congressional delegate and championed for the rights of Native Hawaiians. His 1920 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act provided homelands for the people he represented.…