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Entries Sought for Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i 2017 Falsetto Contest

Courtesy of Daryl Fujiwara / The Festivals of Aloha

The 16th annual Richard Hoopii Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest is seeking contestants. The contest will be on September 16, 2017 and will be held in the Kanahele Room at the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel. Doors Open at 5:30pm, Contest begins at 6:30pm. $60 Admission includes: Buffet Dinner, Festival Ribbon and Entertainment. For tickets and information call – (808) 280-8098

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, I was honored when the committee asked to name the contest after me. It’s my kuleana” Uncle Richard said. Presently, Maui is the only island with a falsetto contest. The other islands have retired their contests and have transitioned their to concerts or ho‘ike due to challenges like finding contestants and funding.

“Uncle Richard,” as he is affectionately known, is one of Hawaiʻi’s music treasures. At the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Hoʻopiʻi was honored with the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. Best known as one half of the popular Maui duo, The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers, he has mastered the traditional Hawaiian art of leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto).

The 2017 Festivals of Aloha committee is seeking contestants. If you are 18 years of age and have not released a recording for sale, you are able to apply! Visit to download the application. Deadline is September 1, 2017

Contestants are judged on the following criteria:
• VOCALS/MUSIC – Vocal Quality (Balance, Intonation, Strength); Vocal Technique (Control, Ha‘i (up/down), Glissando., Vibrato); Vocal Aesthetics (Dynamics/Expression, Individuality, Phrasing); Musicianship (Accompanied by house musicians); Musicianship (Contestant accompanies self)
• HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE – Mele Background (Composer, moʻolelo; manaʻo/inspiration; amount and accuracy of moʻolelo Hawai‘i); Pronunciation/Enunciation (Articulation and command of the Hawaiian Language, Kahakō); Technique (Haʻi/grace note in appropriate places; comfort/ease in moʻolelo delivery)
• OVERALL PRESENTATION – Grooming; Stage presence; Posture; Communication (Accurate, Enlightening, Entertaining); Delivery; Emotion.

Legendary Richard Hoʻopiʻi will be joined on stage by his ‘ohana and will pay tribute to his band mate and Maui treasure, the late Sheldon Brown.

Past contest winners are posted below:
2016 – Gregory Kahikina Maxwell Juan
2015 – Kamalei Kawaʻa, Waiehu, Maui
2014 – Grant Kono, Honolulu, O‘ahu
2013 – Micah Hoapili Kuʻaimoku 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, O‘ahu, 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

Our 2017 theme is “Aloha ka Ho‘i a ka Holokahiki” – Beloved is the sailors return home. We’re joining in the celebration of the return of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, our Polynesian voyaging canoes, that sailed across Earth’s oceans. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Mālama Hawaiʻi sail around our archipelago, and circled back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe. They used the opportunity to study sustainability and pass the torch of navigation to the next generation of wayfinders. We are proud of our wa‘a and their crew, their accomplishments, showing the world the strength of our Hawai‘i.

For the latest information and schedule of events, go to

Official Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style ribbons are $5 each and provide discounted admission to many events. For information on purchasing a ribbon, call (808) 268-9285.

Sales are cash-only and help fund countywide events.

Festivals of Aloha, Maui Nui Style is sponsored by the 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, Pacific Media Group, Läna‘i Heritage and Cultural Center, Moana’s Florist, Moana’s Hula Hälau, Friendly Market, Misaki, Imamura Store, Rawlins Chevron, Island Refuse, Inc., Monsato, Mycogen Seeds, Manae Goods & Grinds, Lähainä Town Action Committee, Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club, Wailuku First Friday, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Destinations Moloka‘i Visitor Association, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Goodfellow Brothers, Don Couch, Old Lahaina Lü‘au and Napili Kai Beach Resort

For overall event information, contact Maui County Coordinator, Daryl Fujiwara, [email protected].



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