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Gregory Juan named 15th Richard Ho’opi’i Falsetto Contest Champion

The Contestants / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha

The Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Ki’eki’e Falsetto Contest named its 15th champion Friday, September 23, 2016 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club. Gregory James Kahikina Maikalani Maxwell Juan is the grandson of Charlie and Nina Maxwell, famed kumu of Pukalani Hula Hale and son of Rodney and Hi’ilei Juan. An alumni of Kamehameha Schools Maui Class of 2012, he recently graduated from the University of Hawaii Manoa with degrees in Public Relations and Hawaiian language.

Gregory Juan, 2016 Richard Hoopii Falsetto Contest Champion / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha
Gregory Juan, 2016 Richard Hoopii Falsetto Contest Champion / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha

“This is one of our bigger events for Festivals of Aloha, people travel from all over the world, plan their trips to come around this event to see Uncle Richards Falsetto Contest. It was a magical evening of Hawaiian music, highlighting the beautiful culture. Culture is so important to me.” – said Festivals of Aloha coordinator, Yuki Lei Sugimura.

“Na Wiliwili” was his choice song and earned him the Hawaiian Language award – a one night stay and brunch for 2 at Kaanapali Beach Hotel and a first place wood award, a round trip on Makani Air, Big Island Candies, a $10,000 scholarship from Argosy University, $600.00 Cash and a Soprano Kamaka Ukulele with carrying case.

In third place, 18 year old Kason Gomes of Maui sang “Alika” and received a wood award, Big Island Candies, A $4,000 scholarship from Argosy University, $300.00 Cash and a Kohala Concert Ukulele with carrying case and built in electronic tuner.

Gregory Juan with Uncle Richard Hoopii / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha
Gregory Juan with Uncle Richard Hoopii / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha

Second place winner is Koakane Mattos who sang “Ke ‘Ala Ka’u I Honi” and received a wood award, Big Island Candies, A $6,000 scholarship from Argosy University, $400.00 Cash and a Soprano Kohala Concert Ukulele with carrying case and built in electronic tuner

Scholarships were donated by Argosy University in the name of Ramsey Ho’opi’i, the first champion of the Richard Ho’opi’i Falsetto Contest and uncle Richards late son.

Group Photo: Kakou / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha
Group Photo: Kakou / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aloha

The evening kicked off with a pre-show performance with falsetto freshmen, Kaulike Pescaia. Later, legendary Richard Ho’opi’i took stage with his ‘ohana and performed before intermission. Other special performances include the 2011 Champion Ezra Kau’i Krueger, 2005 Champion Hiroshi Okada from Osaka, Japan, Hawaiian Language Judge Kalani Pe’a who sang “E Na Kini” from his cd release “E Walea”, music judges Ata Damasco and Kai Ho’opi’i and the 2015 champion Kamalei Kawa’a of Waiehu, Maui who sang his winning song “Pua Ahihi” accompanied with hula by his kumu Haunani and Iliahi Paredes.

“This is one of our bigger events for Festivals of Aloha, people travel from all over the world, plan their trips to come around this event to see Uncle Richards Falsetto Contest. It was a magical evening of Hawaiian music, highlighting the beautiful culture. Culture is so important to me.” – said Festivals of Aloha coordinator, Yuki Lei Sugimura.

Nani. Raysha, Gregory, and Alyka / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aoha
Nani. Raysha, Gregory, and Alyka / Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / Festivals of Aoha

The Festivals of Aloha continue on Moloka’i October 7, 8 and 15. Lana’i’s parade and ho’olaule’a is on October 15 and Hana runs October 8-15th. For more information visit FestivalsOfAloha.com

Mahalo to our partners: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, County of Maui, Tri-Isle RC&D, Inc., Hasegawa General Store, Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Pülama Läna‘i, Travaasa Hotel Häna, KPOA 93.5 FM, Missing Polynesia, Sig Zane Designs, Pacific Media Group, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Goodfellow Brothers, Councilmember Don Couch and Old Lahaina Lü‘au, Monsato, Mycogen Seeds, Feather Leis of Maui, Safeway, Ha Wahine, Maui Creation, Na Lima Hauoli Uptown Food Mart and Gas, Tasty Crust, Lower Main Gas Station, Kahului Florist, Dina’s Sandwiches and John & Alyka Nakoa-Clark

Other Partners include: Läna‘i Heritage and Cultural Center, Moana’s Florist, Moana’s Hula Hälau, Friendly Market, Misaki, MKK Drug Store, Imamura Store, Rawlins Chevron, Island Refuse, Inc., Hotel Moloka‘i, Lähainä Town Action Committee, Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club, Wailuku First Friday, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Destinations Moloka‘i Visitor Association

Our 2016 Festival of Aloha theme is “He Keiki Aloha, Na Mea Kanu” – Beloved children are the plants. Good farmers know that in order to grow truly healthy crops, plants must be cared for as if they are children. This reciprocal, familial kind of love is the philosophical foundation – it can fuel the soul of our people into an aloha-filled future.

Festival Ribbons are $5 and provide discounted admission to many events. For info on purchasing a button, call (808) 268-9285. For more information visit festivalsofaloha.com and check us out on facebook.
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“Uncle Richard”, as he is affectionately known, is one of Hawai’i’s music treasures. Best known as one half of the popular Maui duo, The Ho’opi’i Brothers, he has mastered the traditional Hawaiian art of leo ki’eki’e (falsetto). Thus the falsetto contest was created in order to ensure this tradition is kept alive. At the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Ho’opi’i was honored with the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Our Falsetto Champions:

2016 – Gregory Juan, Wailuku, Maui

2015 – Kamalei Kawa‘a, Waiehu, Maui

2014 – Grant Kono, Honolulu, Oahu

2013 – Micah Hoapili Ku‘aimoku De Aguiar, Kona, Hawai‘i

2012 – Joshua No‘eau Kalima, Hilo, Hawai‘i

2011 – Ezra Kaui Krueger, Maui, Hawai‘i

2010 – Po‘okela Wood, Maui, Hawai‘i

2009 – Pomaika‘i Krueger, Maui, Hawai‘i

2008 – Kamakani Kiaha, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i

2007 – Kapono Na‘ili‘ili, Oahu, Hawai‘i

2006 – Kalani Benanua, Lana‘i, Hawai‘i

2005 – Hiroshi Okada, Japan

2004 – Kai Ho‘opi‘i – Maui, Hawai‘i

2003 – Kamaka Fernandez, Maui, Hawai‘i

2002 – Ramzey Ho‘opi‘i, Maui, Hawai‘i

More info on uncle Richard:
http://pasifika-artists.com/index.php?page=bio—richard-ho-opi-i

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