15th Falsetto Champion Gregory Maxwell Juan
The Richard Hoʻopiʻi Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest named its 15th champion Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club. Gregory James Kahikina Maikalani Maxwell Juan is the grandson of Charlie and Nina Maxwell, kumu of Pukalani Hula Hale and son of Rodney and Hiʻilei Juan.
An alumni of Kamehameha Schools Maui Class of 2012, Maxwell Juan recently graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa with degrees in Public Relations and Hawaiian language.
“Nā Wiliwili” was his choice song and earned him the Hawaiian Language award – a one night stay and brunch for 2 at Kāʻanapali 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 cash and a Soprano Kamaka ʻUkulele 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 cash and a Kohala Concert ʻUkulele with carrying case and built in electronic tuner.
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 cash and a Soprano Kohala Concert ʻUkulele 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 Hoʻopiʻi Falsetto Contest and Uncle Richard’s late son.
The evening kicked off with a pre-show performance with falsetto freshmen, Kaulike Pescaia. Later, legendary Richard Hoʻopiʻi took stage with his ʻohana and performed before intermission. Other special performances included the 2011 Champion Ezra Kauʻi Krueger, 2005 Champion Hiroshi Okada from Osaka, Japan, Hawaiian Language Judge Kalani Peʻa who sang “E Na Kini” from his CD release “E Walea”, music judges Ata Damasco and Kai Hoʻopiʻi and the 2015 champion Kamalei Kawaʻa 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 Richard’s 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.
The Festivals of Aloha continue on Molokaʻi Oct. 7, 8 and 15. Lana’i’s parade and hoʻolauleʻa is on Oct. 15 and Hāna runs Oct. 8-15, 2016. For more information visit FestivalsOfAloha.com.
Partners include: Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, County of Maui, Tri-Isle RC&D, Inc., Hasegawa General Store, Queen Kaʻahumanu 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: Lānaʻi Heritage and Cultural Center, Moana’s Florist, Moana’s Hula Hālau, Friendly Market, Misaki, MKK Drug Store, Imamura Store, Rawlins Chevron, Island Refuse, Inc., Hotel Molokaʻi, Lahaina Town Action Committee, Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club, Wailuku First Friday, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Destinations Molokaʻi Visitor Association
Our 2016 Festival of Aloha theme is “He Keiki Aloha, Nā 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.
“Uncle Richard”, as he is affectionately known, is one of Hawaiʻi’s music treasures. Best known as one half of the popular Maui duo, The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers, he has mastered the traditional Hawaiian art of leo kiʻekiʻe (falsetto). Thus the falsetto contest was created in order to ensure this tradition is kept alive. At the 2015 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Hoʻopiʻi was honored with the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.
Past Falsetto Champions Include:
2016 – Gregory Juan, Wailuku, Maui
2015 – Kamalei Kawaʻa, Waiehu, Maui
2014 – Grant Kono, Honolulu, Oʻahu
2013 – Micah Hoapili Ku‘aimoku De Aguiar, Kona, Hawai‘i
2012 – Joshua No‘eau Kalima, Hilo, Hawaiʻi
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, Oʻahu, Hawai‘i
2006 – Kalani Benanua, Lāna‘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