Part of our kuleana as students is to give back to the communities we are part of. For students in the Applied Hawaiian Music course (MUS132), giving back includes performing at community events. It is also an excellent way to fulfill rehearsal and performance requirements for the course. Beginning in Fall 2019, Moloka‘i students were fortunate to be offered the opportunity of taking the class, which is offered by UHMC’s Institute of Hawaiian Music. Kumu Keola Donaghy travels over from Maui each Monday, and also teaches the same course on Thursdays in the IHM recording studio on the Kahului campus.
In October, Maui-based students came over to Moloka‘i to join the students here in a performance at one of the island’s many fishponds. Ka Honua Momona is a nonprofit that educates the public about the importance of traditional Hawaiian food production, such as those used to nurture fish stocks in the loko i‘a. The evening event at which the students performed was the annual Kupuna Pa‘ina, where food was gathered from the loko i‘a and ā‘ina, and invited kūpuna from a cross-section of Moloka‘i were treated to an ‘ono meal and entertainment. While on the island, the Maui students also got a chance to visit several local cultural sites. Specific locations play a significant role in traditional Hawaiian mele, and researching those links is also part of the course.
December is, of course, a time for celebration, and community events abound. As part of its focus on ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle, the Molokai Community Health Center invited the community to join in a sing-along of seasonal mele. Colorful flyers posted around the island invited people to bring their instruments so they could play along as well as sing. Many did—besides ‘ukulele and guitars, the audience brought jingle bells and even a slide guitar to add to the music provided by the IHM students. It was a wonderful way to round out the year.