The 2017 Festivals of Aloha committee is seeking contestants for the 16th Richard Ho‘opi‘i Leo Ki‘eki‘e Falsetto Contest. Applicants who at least 18 and have not released a recording for sale are eligible to apply; contestants will be judged on the following criteria: vocals/music, Hawaiian language and overall presentation. The deadline for applications is Sept. 1.
A Maui music tradition, champions have gone on to release their own albums and carry Uncle Richard’s hopes for the continuation of Hawaiian music. “Every island had a falsetto contest except for Maui,” Ho‘opi‘i said. “I was honored when the committee asked to name the contest after me. It’s my kuleana.”
Presently, Maui is the only island with a falsetto contest. The rest of the state has retired their contests and have transitioned their to concerts or ho‘ike due to challenges like finding contestants and funding.
At the event, Ho‘opi‘i will be joined on stage by his ‘ohana and will pay tribute to his band mate and Maui treasure, the late Sheldon Brown.
Vocals/music judging will be based on vocal quality (balance, intonation, strength); vocal technique (control, ha‘i, glissando, vibrato); vocal aesthetics (dynamics/expression, individuality, phrasing); musicianship (accompanied by house musicians); and musicianship (contestant accompanies self).
Hawaiian language judging will be based on mele background, pronunciation, enunciation and technique. Judges will also look at overall presentation including grooming, stage presence, posture, communication (accurate, enlightening, entertaining), delivery, and emotion.
The Falsetto Contest will be held Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel. Doors Open at 5:30pm, Contest begins at 6:30pm. Admission ($60) includes buffet dinner, festival ribbon and entertainment.
The theme of the 2017 contest is Aloha ka Ho‘i a ka Holokahiki–”beloved is the sailors’ return home.” Festivals of Aloha is joining in the celebration of the return of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, the Polynesian voyaging canoes that sailed across the world’s oceans.
Additional details can be found at Festivalsofaloha.com.
Photo courtesy Daryl Fujiwara