Lokomaikaʻi ʻAha Hīmeni Songfest ** You'll need to have an Hawaiian Font in your system to read the diacriticals correctly. The Lokomaikaʻi 'Aha H´meni Songfest is a project of H.A.L.I.A. (Hawaiian Arts & Liturgical Inculturation Awareness)
Composers & Arrangers
At the 2004 ʻAha Hīmeni Songfest, we will feature some o the composing artistry of one of Kauaʻi's renowned haku mele.
(following excerpted from the Kauaʻi Historical Society, 1998, with
additions from Rob's interview with Hale Sylvester in 2004)
Henry Wilfred Waiaʻu (1889-1949)
The ʻāina hānau or birthplace of Henry Wilfred Waiaʻu is a wahi pana- a legendary place that has long been celebrated for its calm waters and rosy cloud banks. Originally from the fishing village of Hoʻokena in South Kona, Hawaiʻi, Henry Waiaʻu was born on February 8, 1889, as the second child of Gersham Kelekoma Waiaʻu and Haole Kaupu.
Henry Waiaʻu attended the Kamehameha School for Boys, where he graduated with the Class of 1908. It is there that he initially received formal music training and the needed skills to excel at reading, writing and arranging music compositions. After Kamehameha, he worked as a roadman for the US Geological Survey, and in 1914 was a clerk to William Henry Rice. Successive jobs included bailiff, employment at the County Treasury Dept., Board of Harbors Commission and the Dept .of Public Works. He enlisted for a short stint in the US Army in 1918. All the while his musical quest for excellence continued. Songwriting and arranging music soon became a favorite past-time for him. He had excellent musical penmanship, and beautifully transcribed his own musical works.
Several years later, he met a Kauaʻi woman by the name of Lydia Kaluapiʻilāhainā Ellis. They were married on June 20, 1920 at Lawaʻi, Kōloa.. Together, the couple raised four children. which included Edgar Miki, Leopold Puʻ unoni, Pearl Kapika and Mildred Haleakalā. They were all musically talented..
As a Hawaiian song writer; Henry Waiaʻu regularly composed and arranged songs as gifts that he dedicated to the classes of his children. For Leopold's Kamehameha Schools Class of 1941 he composed, "Kona Kai ʻŌpua," and for Haleakalā's Kamehameha Schools Class of 1945 he composed, "Kuʻu Home O Kamehameha." More often than not, he composed songs and gave them away with love to friends and family.
Henry Waiaʻu's passion always remained close to church and music. In his later years, he served as the Kahu for the Hanapēpē Hawaiian Church. He particularly loved church hymns. The selections that he especially enjoyed were translated into the Hawaiian language, then put to special arrangements for the congregation to sing as part of their weekly services. He was also the choir director of the Līhuʻe Hawaiian Church for many years. In 1925, he specially composed
the song, "Lei I Ka Mokihana", which won his choir the top accolades at the Territorial Singing Contest that was held at the Oliver's Tabenacle (i.e., Kawaiahaʻo Church) in Honolulu. From Nāwiliwili to the fragrant dainty-leafed maile, Henry Waiaʻu's deep love for Kaua'i will always live on through his songs.
E Hauoli Ē
One of Henry's largest religious works ("E Hauʻoli Ē") was originally composed for a Hīmeni Hoʻokūkū (Choir Competition) for the Territory-wide Congregational Church community in 1927. It celebrates the anniversary of Kawaiahaʻo's consecration as a place of Christian worship, metaphorically comparing its members to the sparkling stars of early dawn. The Mendelssohn-like setting includes march-like figures proudly exhorting the faithful to came to God's house with singing, joy, and praise. What is most surprising is the central fugal section which is unique in its contrapuntal setting of Hawaiian text, a somewhat technically demanding challenge to the average choir. Henry's prize-winning Līhuʻe Church choir group was renowned in the mid 1920's for their choral beauty, discipline, and ability to present new Hawaiian works to the community, both sacred and secular. There is a famous 1925 picture of them in the Hawaiian language newspaper. Tonight's arrangement is a 4-part reduction of the original, as Henry's original setting was for a double choir of 8 vocal parts. This arrangement captures the same spirit ands enthusiasm of those heady mid 20s, when Hawaiian politicians successfully vied for Territorial office by having their own Hawaiian campaign songs (even Henry wrote one), nearly a half-dozen Hawaiian language newspapers thrived, where the outside world clamored to spend vacation time in our famous paradise, serenaded by world-famous local musicians and their still-famous songs. The "roaring twenties" were aptly named, and Hawaii's enthusiasm for the times was no less engaging. Translation of "E Hau'oli Ē"
Rejoice, o ye faithful, how joyous! Let all everywhere sing
in honor of Kawaiahaʻo Church
(Sing) for the glorious church of God
Lift high the torch of righteousness
Come to Zion to praise the glorious King of Kings
Hearken and give thanks for the glorious church of Kawaiahaʻo
Greatly brilliant are the morning stars at dawn
within the glorious walls of Kawaiahaʻo's Church.
Rejoice in song, o ye faithful everywhere, of Kawaiahaʻo's everlasting glory!
The choirs will also sing Psalm 84 "How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place", based on Waiaʻu's song "Kaʻililauokekoa", which, by the way, was debuted in a church choir venue not unlike ours this evening. The joyful verses are gracefully counter-balanced by an original antiphon by R. Mondoy. Our Gathering Song, "God's Kingdom Is Upon Us", is an Anglican Church hymn-text to the tune of Waiaʻu's song "Kauaʻi Beauty", dating from 1929. Mahalo to Hale Sylvester for permission of use her Dad's tunes for our use in a sacred-music setting.
Go to Mondoy Music Web Page Index (at the left) for more options