Rev. Shuji Komagata, right, beats a taiko drum during last weekend’s Bon dance. Photo by Catherine Cluett
On the lawn of the Molokai Guzeiji Soto Mission Buddhist temple, dancers stepped with slow grace in a circle beneath glowing paper lanterns and a fading sky. Families joined in the dance or enjoyed food and the company of family and friends. But there was more to the rhythmic steps than just a dance — for those in the Buddhist tradition, it was a once-a-year chance to reunite with the spirits of those who have passed.
“Bon dance is the time that we remember our departed loved ones… a time to celebrate and honor life,” said Rev.…
Twenty-two and a half tons of free groceries. Two thousand one hundred pairs of free children’s shoes. Thirteen hair stylists offering free haircuts. These are the statistics for an event called the Convoy of Hope on Molokai this weekend, part of a three-day Weekend of Hope. But the humanitarian effort is about more than just numbers and free services — organizers say it’s really about bringing churches and people together to share an important message: helping one another and sharing hope.
Four years ago, churches on Molokai teamed up for the first Concert of Hope, featuring award-winning and well-known Christian musicians from around the state.…
Molokai returned to its roots July 5 as moms and their supporters empowered the community to live healthy lifestyles. Keiki made recycled art while moms prepared local organic food. Performers sung along to the spirit of the evening as families and organizers shared how they love the land. Besides being a night of fun and aloha, the Grassroots Benefit Concert aimed to provide a path for youth to one day be restorers of health.
“The spirit behind [the event] is to promote an awareness of health and wellness on the island and be able to offer the upcoming generation support,” said Ehulani Kane, a member of the Mom Hui, the group that organized the event.…
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?
Bob Underwood teaches violin to Kualapu`u students during a 21st Century Music class last year
“There’s one reason, and it’s very simple,” Underwood said.…
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.
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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.…