Kamehameha Schools Song Contest

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Kamehameha Schools Song Contest
Format Singing competition
Host Kamehameha Schools
Venue Neal Blaisdell Center
Participants Kamehameha Schools Kapālama High School Students
Kamehameha Song Contest 2014
Date March 21, 2014 (94th)
Theme Kaʻapuni Honua, Songs of World Travel

The Kamehameha Schools Song Contest is an annual choral music competition between the grades 9-12 graduating classes of the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus. The contest is televised live throughout the state of Hawaii on KGMB. It is also webcast live on the school's website and has previously been simulcast on the radio statewide, most recently on KUMU. The 94th competition, "Kaʻapuni Honua, Songs of World Travel," was held on Friday March 21, 2014.[1]


Program from the first song contest of the School for Boys, on May 26, 1921
Program from the first song contest of the School for Boys, on May 26, 1921

The first Song Contest (then called the Inter-class Sing Competition) was held on May 26, 1921 at the original Kamehameha School for Boys. It was started to perpetuate the memory of George Alanson Andrus, a music teacher at the School.[2] Each class from grades 5-9 presented four Hawaiian songs: an original song (up until 1935), a choice song selected by the class, a prize song selected by the music department of the school (up until 1972), and the school song. Each class also selected a song leader to direct the class in rehearsal and performance.[3]

One year after the Boys in 1922, the Kamehameha School for Girls held its inaugural Song Contest on the steps of the Main Hall of the Girls’ School (located opposite of the current Farrington High School), while the Boys' contest was held on the steps of Bishop Museum.[4] When Kamehameha moved to its current location at Kapālama Heights in 1931, the contests were moved to the newly built auditorium. The first combined contest took place in 1952 in Kekūhaupiʻo, the new fieldhouse.[5] In 1964, the contest was moved to the Neal Blaisdell Center (formerly the Honolulu International Auditorium), and it continues to be held there today. In 1966, the ʻike, an exhibition of Hawaiian music and hula performed by students, was added to the program while the judges' scores were being tallied.

Beginning in 1953, Song Contest has been simulcast on the radio statewide; the Contest made its television debut in 1968. Beginning in 2000, Song Contest has also been webcast live on the school's website. Kamehameha Schools briefly sold audio of the performances on iTunes and DVDs of the entire program from 2007 to 2010.


Miss Laura Brown, Director of Music at Kamehameha 1926–1947, stated that "the objectives of the song contest are to build up the repertoire of the best in Hawaiian music for the cultural heritage of any student who attends Kamehameha; to develop leadership, cooperation and good class spirit; and to give students the use of their singing voices and to give them pleasure in singing as a means of expression."[6] Participation in Song Contest is a graduation requirement for all students at Kamehameha Schools' Kapālama High School.


The current format of Song Contest involves three areas of a cappella choral competition: men, women, and coeducational. Each grade (9-12) sings a coed piece. Additionally, the sophomores, juniors, and seniors sing individual men's and women's pieces. The men's competition is held first in odd-numbered years (e.g., 2009), while the women's competition is first in even-numbered years. The coed competition always occurs last. Five prominent community members judge the competition for language and musical performance. There are two language and two music judges, as well as an overall judge who judges both categories. Both categories are worth 50% of a class' overall score; scores are used to determine which performance receives each award.[7]

Following the singing competitions, the entire student body performs school songs, including the school fight song Imua Kamehameha, Kamehameha Waltz, and Kamehameha March. The use of the latter two songs alternate each year. The ʻike, an exhibition of Hawaiian music and hula performed by students, follows. After the hō‘ike, classes are presented with awards for the singing competitions, and the evening closes with the student body singing Sons of Hawaii, the school's alma mater.

List of awards[edit]

The following awards are presented after the hōʻike and are awarded based on the judges' scores.[6]

  • The Louise Aʻoe McGregor Award, named for a member of the first graduating class of the School for Girls in 1897, was first presented in 1972. It recognizes the student director who has made the most significant contribution to the class in organizational ability, leadership, assistance to others, and persistence.
  • The Richard Lyman Jr., ʻŌlelo Makuahine Award, recognizes excellence in the use of the Hawaiian language within a song. Mr. Lyman, a Kamehameha Schools trustee from 1959 to 1988, was keenly interested in the preservation of Hawaiian language and culture.
  • The George Alanson Andrus Cup, the Kamehameha Schools Boys’ Award, George Alanson Andrus Cup was first presented in 1921. Named for the former director of music at Kamehameha School for Boys, Andrus inspired the idea of an annual song contest, and a cup was offered as an incentive in the competition.
  • The New England Mothers' Cup, the year 1922 marked the first year that both the Kamehameha boys and girls held song contests. Mrs. E. G. Scoville, a visitor to the Islands from Watertown, Connecticut, was so impressed with the singing of the Kamehameha girls that she donated the New England Mothers’ Cup for the School for Girls competition.
  • The Helen Desha Beamer Award, the Helen Desha Beamer Award recognizes the best musical performance. Donated by the Kamehameha Alumni Association, the award honors the substantial contributions of Helen Desha Beamer to the lexicon of Hawaiian music. Helen Desha Beamer was a 1900 graduate of the Kamehameha School for Girls.
  • The Charles E. King Cup, an additional trophy that was offered by the Trustees in honor of Charles Edward King, an 1891 graduate of the School for Boys. The trophy is awarded to the class winning the combined class competition.

Kamehameha Song Contest Competitions[edit]

This Year's Competition[edit]

2014 Competition [1]
The 94th annual Kamehameha Schools Song Contest was held on Friday, March 21, 2014. The theme for the 2014 Song Contest was, “Kaʻapuni Honua, Songs of World Travel.”.

Although our island home may appear to be one of the most geographically remote locations in the world, Hawai‘i has a vibrant history of global awareness and interaction that spans centuries. The sea and sky serve as our roadways and provide an infinite network of connections to the outside world. We travel to explore new places, meet new people, gain new experiences, be immersed in new cultures. And yet no matter how far or long the journey may be, our identity as Hawaiians remains.

The mele from this year’s competition served as the proverbial vehicles transporting us to various times and destinations. The stories captured within will inspire us to become more globally engaged while solidifying our homegrown connection to this land. We celebrate the experiences of our people as they traversed the globe and highlight the lasting impacts those journeys have had on our lāhui.

The Junior girls of 2015 began the Women's Competition with their song, Mai ʻItalia Kō Lei Nani. The Sophomore girls of 2016 followed, with Kaʻiulani Aliʻi. The Senior girls of the class of 2014 ended with their song, Wahīikaʻahuʻula, and they captured the New England Mother's Cup with their performance.

The Senior boys of 2014 opened the Men's Competition with their multiple award-winning song, Waiomina, for which they won the Olelo Makuahine Award, the Helen Desha Beamer Award, and the George Alanson Andrus Cup. Their leader, Jonathan Honda, also won the Louise Aʻoe Macgregor Award, for his leadership skills. The Junior boys of 2015 sang next, with their song Aina Malihini. The Sophomore boys of 2016 completed the Men's Competition with their song, Kawika.

The Co-Ed competition opened once again with the class of 2015, this year performing Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā. They were followed by the Sophomore class of 2016 and their song, E Nihi Ka Hele. The third performance was by the Freshman class of 2017 with their song No Ke Ano Ahiahi. For the second year in a row, the Senior class ended the Co-Ed competition, with the class of 2014 performing their award winning song, Iubilee O Ka Mo'i Wahine (The Queen's Jubilee), capturing both the ʻŌlelo Makuahine Award for the best use of the Hawaiian language, as well as the Charles E. King Cup for best Co-Ed performance.

Women's Competition:

  • Senior Women of 2014 - Wahīikaʻahuʻula
  • Junior Women of 2015 - Mai ʻItalia Kō Lei Nani
  • Sophomore Women of 2016 - Kaʻiulani Aliʻi

Men's Competition:

  • Senior Men of 2014 - Waiomina
  • Junior Men of 2015 - ʻĀina Malihini
  • Sophomore Men of 2016 - Kāwika

Co-Ed Competition:

  • Senior Class of 2014 - Queen's Jubilee
  • Junior Class of 2015 - Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā
  • Sophomore Class of 2016 - E Nihi Ka Hele
  • Freshmen Class of 2017 - No Ke Ano Ahiahi


2014 Song Contest Competition Scores
Competition Class of 2014 Class of 2015 Class of 2016 Class of 2017
Women's 190 168 168 N/A
Men's 200 182 182 N/A
Coed 193 190 171 188
  • Louise Aʻoe McGregor Award: Jonathan Tatsumi Makani'olu Honda (Senior Men 2014)
  • Richard Lyman, Jr. Trophy: Senior Men of 2014 and Senior Class of 2014
  • New England Mothers' Cup: Senior Women of 2014
  • George Alanson Andrus Cup: Senior Men of 2014
  • Helen Desha Beamer Award: Senior Men of 2014
  • Charles E. King Cup: Senior Class of 2014

Prior Competitions[edit]

Kamehameha Song Contest Statistics[edit]

Class Colors & Historical Data[edit]

Every year since the 1970s, the freshman class is given a list of available colors to choose from. The color they choose will be their class color for their whole high school career and is used at special events, mainly for the Song Contest competition. Each of the main Hawaiian Islands are represented by one of these colors. The options are Red (Hawai'i), Pink (Maui), Yellow (Oahu), Gray (Kaho'olawe), Green (Moloka'i), Orange (Lana'i), Purple (Kaua'i) and White (Ni'ihau). Orange was not on option until it was added to the ballot for the freshmen class of the 2006-2007 school year. Prior to the true Orange selected by the Class of 2010, classes selected an Orange shade of Goldenrod which combined yellow and orange. In 2006, the distinction between Yellow and Orange was made. Note: The Class of 2010 was the first class to be offered White as a class color, but chose Orange. The Class of 2017 was the second class to have White as a class color choice and became the first class to choose White as its class color.[13]

indicates that a class tied for an award with itself, so said award is counted twice.
* indicates a senior sweep that did NOT include the McGregor award.
Table of Song Contest Statistics [14]
Class Color Divisional Awards # of Total Awards Senior Sweep Notes (All statistics date from 1921)
Women Men Coed
2018 Pending 0 0 0 0 /22 Incoming Freshmen.
2017 0 0 0 0 /22 Incoming Sophomores.
2016 PURPLE 0 0 0 0 /22 Incoming Juniors.
2015 GREEN 0 0 0 2 /22 Incoming Seniors.
2014 YELLOW 1 1 1 7 /22 Yes Most awards received in a single competition (Tied with the class of 2011) (7)
2013 RED 1 2 2 9 /22 Yes
2012 PURPLE 1 0 0 3 /22 No
2011 GREEN 1 1 2 8 /22 Yes Most awards received in a single competition (7); Sophomore coed (5th of 5)
2010 ORANGE 3 1 2 14 /22 Yes Most awards received overall (14); Women's sweep (7th of 7); Language three-peat (2nd of 2); Most awards received as sophomores (4), Sophomore coed (4th of 5)
2009 RED 1 2 1 9 /22 No Most awards received as freshmen (3, tied with Class of 1998); Only music three-peat; Freshmen coed (4th of 4)
2008 PINK 0 0 0 3 /22 No No divisional award (first since Class of 1943)
2007 GREEN 0 1 2 9 /22 No Most awards received by a coed (6); Sophomore coed (3rd of 5)
2006 PURPLE 1 1 1 4 /22 No Sophomore coed (2nd of 5)
2005 RED 2 2 0 7 /22 No
2004 GOLDENROD 0 1 0 4 /22 No
2003 PINK 1 1 1 9 /22 No
2002 GRAY 1 1 2 7 /22 No Freshmen coed (3rd of 4); Sophomore men's (5th of 5)
2001 RED 3 1 1 10 /22 Yes Most awards received by a women's (6); Only perfect-scoring song (senior women); Women's sweep (6th of 7, first since Class of 1954)
2000 PURPLE 0 0 1 4 /22 No
1999 GOLDENROD 0 1 0 2 /22 No
1998 GREEN 1 1 2 9 /22 Yes* Most awards received as freshmen (3, tied with Class of 2009); Freshmen coed (2nd of 4)
1997 RED 2 1 1 7 /22 Yes
1996 GRAY 0 1 1 6 /22 No
1995 PURPLE 2 2 1 10 /21 No Most awards received by a men's (5); Sophomore women's (first since Class of 1954)
1994 GREEN 1 1 1 8 /20 No Most awards received as juniors (5)
1993 RED 1 0 0 3 /19 No
1992 GRAY 0 2 1 5 /18 No
1991 PINK 1 0 1 7 /17 No Director sweep (Ho)
1990 GREEN 1 1 1 5 /16 Yes*
1989 RED 1 1 1 5 /15 Yes
1988 PURPLE 1 1 1 3 /14 Yes* Language three-peat (1st of 2)
1987 PINK 1 1 1 5 /14 Yes
1986 GREEN 1 1 1 3 /14 Yes*
1985 RED 2 2 2 8 /14 Yes Junior sweep (2nd of 2); Only class to sweep twice
1984 GOLDENROD 0 2 1 4 /14 No Sophomore men's (4th of 5, first since Class of 1945)
1983 PURPLE 1 0 0 2 /14 No
1982 GREEN 1 2 2 5 /14 Yes*
1981 RED 1 1 1 5 /14 No
1980 GOLDENROD 1 0 1 2 /14 No
1979 PURPLE 1 2 1 5 /14 Yes
1978 GREEN 1 0 2 5 /14 No First freshmen coed (of 4)
1977 RED 2 1 2 5 /14 Yes*
1976 PURPLE 1 2 1 5 /14 No First sophomore coed (of 5)
1975 BLUE 1 0 0 4 /14 No
1974 BLUE 1 2 1 6 /13 No First junior sweep (of 2)

Wins by Grade Level[edit]

Competition Wins by Grade Level [15]
Competition Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman
Women's (since 1922) 61 18 13 N/A
Men's (since 1921) 57 22 5 N/A
Coed (since 1967) 28 11 5 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "94th Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  2. ^ "KS Archives". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  3. ^ "KS Archives". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  4. ^ "2010 Song Contest Program". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  5. ^ Hawaiian Holiday. 1961-03-05 http://kapalama.ksbe.edu/archives/historical/songcontest/1961hist.php |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ a b 2008 Song Contest Program, page 23
  7. ^ "Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni » Judging". Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  8. ^ "92nd Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  9. ^ "91st Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  10. ^ "90th Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  11. ^ "89th Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  12. ^ "88th Annual Song Contest". Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2008-12-14. 
  13. ^ "Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni » Class Colors". Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  14. ^ "Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni » Songs by Classes". Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  15. ^ "Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni » Records". Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 

External links[edit]