Dancers from Halau O Po’ohala led by Kumu Hula Hulali Solomon Covington grace the stage. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Na Lei Punahele, are riveting as they perform under the direction of Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Na Lei Punahele perform under the direction of Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Dancers with Lanakila Mangauil’s hui, Hula Me Ka Honua, prepare to open the hula show. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Isaac Kahumoku, John Mac Kalauli and Pas Pascual played a full repertoire for the dancers as well as during breaks for the audience. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Kumu Hulali Covington reviews the program with her dancers prior to the show. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Na Lei Punahele performed under the direction of Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Lanakila Mangauil and members of his hula hui open event dramatically with a chant based on the Kumulipo. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Zahtaelia Silva, a young member of halau Helele’i Pua ‘Waipi’o, shows off the hat that she will wear on stage.(PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Resse Arnold, soloist for hula halau Helel’i Pua ‘O Waipi’o, takes the stage to dance a beautiful rendition of the Hamakua favorite, “Hi’ilawe.” (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
Hamakua Youth Center director, Mahealani Makui, Hamakua Youth Center Board president, Vikki Catalecci, and Kumu Hula Haleakala Sakata, talk story after the show. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)
BY CATHERINE TARLETON
SPECIAL TO NORTH HAWAII NEWS
Hula, like so many other living things, thrives along the Hamakua coast, where budding dancers and those more mature bloomed onstage Saturday to celebrate and raise funds for Hamakua Youth Foundation.
Since 2005, the foundation has overseen the Hamakua Youth Center in Honokaa, the island’s only free, drop-in after school, weekend and summer activity center for children 5-18. The Second Annual Hula Festival was organized by members of their board of directors, coordinated by Board President Vikki Catellacci, with help from HYC students, staff, and extended ohana from the community. The event brought together more than 300 people from the community, with all tickets sold and more purchased that evening.
The event began with drama, as dancers of the cultural hui “Hula Me Ka Honua” filed down the darkened aisle and filled the People’s Theatre with powerful words from the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation chant. Led by Lanakila Mangauil, who has coordinated the cultural elements of HYC for eight years, the group includes people of all ages from Hamakua and Puna.
“It is a community hui for anyone who wishes to learn,” said Mangauil. Born and raised in Hamakua, Mangauil attended Honokaa High School and graduated from Kanu O Ka ‘Aina New Century Public Charter School. First as an HYC volunteer, then a staff member and now contractor and teacher at Waiakea School, he teaches hula, Hawaiian farming and plant culture, stories, chants and protocols, training for makahiki games and more.
Mangauil recently returned from a trip to Poland, where he said people were inspired by hula to rediscover their own ancient roots. He brought back two very special lei to share with the audience: one made of leaves from the white oak, sacred in Poland; the other from beads of resin called “blood sap.”
Following with hula to an oli by Keala Ching, Beamer Solomon Halau O Po’ohala performed, featuring their multi-generational dancers from age 5 to 78. Led by Kumu Hula Hulali Solomon Covington, the group had earlier in the day performed at E Mau Ana Ka Hula celebration in Kona; and at last week’s Moku O Keawe Hula Festival, they had winners in every category.
Na Lei Punahele, Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade and Hala Hula Helele i Pua O Waipio, Kumu Hula Haleakala Sakata completed the program with stunning hula in kahiko and auana forms. At one point, the audience was invited to join in “Hi’ilawe,” the iconic song by Gabby Pahinui that honors the region’s famous twin waterfalls. The stage and apron area filled with hula, lovingly performed in different styles of choreography, by dancers in costume, in street clothes and in love with the moment.
One of the dancers was Mahealani Maikui, director of HYC. A dancer since age 7, she has performed with Ray Fonseca’s halau, and went with them to Merrie Monarch when she was an eighth grader. One of seven siblings in the family, she said that her three sisters were more into sports, while her brothers took up hula.
“It’s funny, I wanted to be like my brothers, so I started dancing,” she said. Maikui started with HYC in 2011 as a contractor and a few months later moved into an office coordinator position, then co-director and now what she calls “the head go-to person.”
“I’m carrying the kuleana for the kids, so they can get what they deserve,” she said.
As a place where all children and youth — not just one particular group — can receive help with homework, meals and snacks, activities, the youth center provides a safe environment where students can interact with each other and caring adults.
“They are all our kids,” said Maikui. “Because we are a small town, most kids, their parents and grandparents grew up on the plantation. So, in a way, we are all ‘at risk kids.’ We are all at risk for something.”
“I made leis for the board and helped with the fans,” said Kama Ventura, 12, who worked with the backstage team to put the hula festival together. She and her brothers and sisters are “regulars” at HYC, and she likes the arts and crafts best.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks!” said HYC Board Member Phyllis Tarail, who helped with the fan project, too. “Lanakila’s hui picked and stripped the lauhala for us, but still it takes time to make each one. The fans are being used as makana for the kumu and other entertainers.”
“It’s so natural for them to help,” said Maikui. “It’s hard for them to even think about it as doing something for the Center or something for the community. It’s just part of life.”
“Hawaiian cultural values are part of our mission,” said Tarail’s husband and fellow board member, Joel Cohen. “The Hula Festival is a fundraiser, but it’s more than that. It’s the community coming together … and that’s all coming out of a passion, out of their hearts.”
Cohen said that the first Hula Festival raised about $6,000 last year and they are hoping to top that—through ticket sales, sponsorships and a silent auction.
“Twenty-five per cent of the HYC budget is from fundraisers,” said Cohen.
Located just down the street from the People’s Theatre, HYC is located in what was the “Honokaa Cash & Carry” store, founded by Suekuma Nakashima, great-grandfather of Hawaii State Representative Mark Nakashima, who bought the property in 1939 for a whopping $1,000. Always a place kids loved to come, the store is best remembered for its long and inviting candy counter. Eventually, the Nakashima family transferred the building to the YWCA, who nurtured the original HYC for 13 years, until it became an independent organization.
“I have very much enjoyed working with HYC,” said Theresa Lee, a board member since HYC’s beginning. “We want a place for kids to be able to come and be themselves, have food and get to know each other and adults in loving situation. All the board feels like that.”
“It’s a great thing to have in the community,” said Dave Pettus, Hiilani EcoHouse resident and former director of the Hamakua Music Festival. “There’s nothing like it on the island. Every community should have one.”
“I’m grateful that the HYC has been a persistent and steady presence for youth in Honokaa who don’t do sports or have the support of hula, jazz band, robotics or whatever it is. They have caring, mentoring adults to help them learn good study habits and how to act interpersonally with each other. And the staff are truly beautiful, truthful people.”
“It’s a fundraiser but really a community celebration,” said Board President Vikki Catellacci, who appeared in the show and has been dancing with Hula Me Ke Honua for about four years. “We had thought about having a competition last year, but it just didn’t feel right. This is more of a hoike or exhibition, a celebration of Hawaiian culture through dance. It is our one big fundraiser for the year now.”
“We have wonderful sponsors,” said Catellacci, acknowledging Hawaii Comomunity Federal Credit Union, Stacy Disney, Barbara Franklin, Joel Cohen and Phyllis Tarail, Jack Zimmerman and Jacquelyn McCandless, and the “Ahualoa Aunties,” Sara McCay, Moyce Reed, Grethe Jaeckie, Mare Grace, January Herron and herself, who made cash contributions to the production.
“The community has been amazing,” she said.
Catellacci has been a licensed marriage and family therapist in Waimea for more than 30 years, in addition to dancing and spearheading HYC fundraisers. She is more than pleased with the youth center’s progress over the years, and happy to welcome new board members, Chalinthorn Burian and Chelsea Yagong.
“Mahealani has done an amazing job this year,” said Catellacci. “It has been a big turn-around time for us—financially, program-wise, energy-wise—there are a lot of positive things happening.”
“This is incredible. It’s like Hamakua’s ‘mini Merrie Monarch,’” said Phaeton Keeney, who runs the People’s Theatre with her father Dr. Tawn Keeney. “It’s great seeing the entire coastline come and welcome the talent here—and nothing brings people out like the Hamakua Youth Foundation … They rock it.”
To be part of the positive vibe at Hamakua Youth Center, to participate in the next Hula Festival, or to donate time or resources, visit www.hamakuayouthcenter.wordpress.com, or call 775-0976.
Hamakua Youth Center in Hamakua Times
A young camper shows how to make pa’i’ai
On June 18, 2012, the Hamakua Youth Center partnered with Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana (KALO) and the Queen Liliokalani Children’s Center (QLCC) to provide a week-long enriching summer camp for children and their families. Fourteen youth and eleven adults participated in the summer program.
This camp brought together the youth and their families to experience an ‘Ohana focused camp for one week in Waipi’o Valley, at the property of Ben and Ku’ulei Badua. The week was full of various activities, including Hawaiian language classes, hula, the making of the Hawaiian bamboo flute, and excursions out to lend a helping hand to neighboring taro farmers in the valley. History and education were provided about the ‘Auwai and Po’owai (waterways) in Waipi’o, as well as information and history about the valley, its’ chiefs and the Hawaiian Monarchy. One of the primary focuses of this summer camp was to bring youth and their families together to share in the various activities and learning opportunities presented through the enriching program designed by the staff from the three organizations, which are focused on the youth of this island.
Each day began with morning protocol which included chanting and prayer. Evening programs included after-dinner story telling, and lessons in Hawaiian culture and history. Through-out the days, youth and their families learned how to clean and prepare the taro patch, or lo’i, for planting, and enjoyed harvesting taro and making poi, and pa’i ‘ai, which is a tasty version of poi before the water is added. Youth also learned how to set prawn traps, make lau lau, and which ferns from the valley are good for eating.
The success of the partnership of Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning ‘Ohana, the Queen Liliokalani Children’s Center and the Hamakua Youth Center in bringing this ‘Ohana camp to youth and their families was evident during the culminating Ho’ike presented by the youth for an enthusiastic audience. Even with the rain all week in Waipi’o, everyone’s spirits were high, life skills and life-long learning were integrated, and plans for the next camp were already underway.
Hamakua Youth Center’s Hula Festival in North Hawaii News:
Hula festival supports Hamakua Youth Center
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
BY LISA MARIE DAHM
North Hawaii News
On April 21, the Honokaa People’s Theatre will be alive with hula.
Some of Hawaii’s most exciting halaus will perform at the Hamakua Youth Foundation Hula Festival, starting at 4 p.m., in support of the Hamakua Youth Center in Honokaa.
Read Entire Article Here: http://northhawaiinews.com/news/hula-festival-supports-hamakua-youth-center.html
1st Annual Hamakua Youth Foundation Hula Festival
It takes a village to be successful. This was definitely true for the Honoka`a community on Saturday, April 21 with the Hamakua Youth Foundation’s 1st Annual Hula Festival turning out to be a huge success.
Over 300 youth and adults including an appreciative enthusiastic audience, dancers and musicians of all ages from 4 years old to kupuna, and an all-volunteer production company joined in a celebration of Hawaiian culture and community done local style at the Honoka`a People’s Theater. All of this happened in support of the Hamakua Youth Center and it’s mission to provide a safe place and healthy alternative for the youth of the community.
The audience enjoyed performances from Halau O Po`ohala, Halua Na Lei Punahele, Halau Hula Helele`i Pua O Waipi’o, dancers from the Honoka`a Schools Hawaiian Studies program featuring Keala Peters Case and Daylemarc Aten, Hamakua Youth Center soloist Andrea Gonzales, and kupuna soloists kumu hula Aloha DelaRosa and Grace Walker.
Festivities began and continued through the evening with music provided by Hoku Hatico & Auntie Arlene Pihanakalani, and our emcees, Ka`iulani Pahi`o and Dane Maikui kept the program moving along with humor and good fun.
The 4 hour celebration included an intermission with ono chicken long rice prepared by the Maikui family and bell ringing as $20 donations or more were put into the calabash.
This was truly a memorable occasion for all those in attendance. Although the youngest of the keiki were not always dancing in unison, it definitely contributed to a sense of joy in watching them perform. Other dancers truly performed at a professional level. The applause and hoots and hollers from the audience were truly an expression of genuine appreciation.
The evening ended emotionally with the performers and audience holding hands and singing “Hawai`i Aloha” lead by Hamakua’s own Lanakila Manguail.
The celebration also brought in much needed funding for the Hamakua Youth Center in the form of a combination of ticket sales, sponsorships, and generous contributions at the event. Sponsors included the North Hawaii Drug Free Coalition, Paul Mitchell Systems (Harry and Sandy McDonald), Lava Rock Realty (Peggy Yuan), Renewable Energy (Peter and Lisa Shakleford), Dave and Sherry Pettus, Jack Zimmerman and Jaquelyn McCandless, Barbara Franklin, and Joel Cohen and Phyllis Tarail.
Plans are already in the works for the next Hula Festival. The Hamakua Youth Foundation wants to make this community event an annual affair. It will be only one of more fund raising events planned by the organization to ensure that the valuable programs provided by the Hamakua Youth Center continue to thrive and grow. Event committees are being formed and others are encouraged to participate in this grassroots effort. Please call the Center at 775-0976 to become part of the Hamakua Youth Foundation ohana.