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Beamer-Solomon Halau O Po’ohala to perform hula drama at Kahilu Theatre on March 8

Keiki with Halau o Po’ohala’s Papa Ohelo are from left, Mahina Gabriele, Kealia Haitsuka, Kaua Sanchez, Joey Cootey and Kahe’e Remsen. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Keiki with Halau o Po’ohala’s Papa Ohelo are from left, Mahina Gabriele, Kealia Haitsuka, Kaua Sanchez, Joey Cootey and Kahe’e Remsen. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Two deep loves of the people of Hawaii – Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole Pi’ikoi, and the custom of making, giving and wearing flower lei — will be celebrated during the Beamer-Solomon Halau O Po’ohala “Eia Ka Hula V” hula drama at Kahilu Theatre on Saturday evening, March 8.

This is the fifth in a series of presentations exploring the 154-year hula and music legacy of the Beamer-Solomon family. Directing the show will be Hula Loea Hulali Solomon Covington, with scripting and narration by halau historian Malama Solomon. Featured guest chanter and presenter will be Kumu Keala Ching and providing musical accompaniment will be Russell Paio as lead musician, Kama Hopkins on guitar, Ha’i Kelly on bass and Hula Loea Covington on ‘ukulele.

Doors to Kahilu will open at 5 p.m., with the show from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $20 pre-sale; $25 at the door from 4:30 p.m. on performance day. For tickets, email po’, or call 938-6357 and leave a message.

Because the first half of the show honors Kauai’s native son, Prince Kuhio, the program will begin with a beloved mele written by the late Aunty Alice Namakelua, called “My Hala Lei of Kauai.” The song’s literal translation describes Kauai “as an ancient hala lei that surrounds me” but the beautiful kaona – the hidden or deeper meaning – refers to Prince Kuhio – “admired by the people.”

Prince Jonah Kuhio, born in 1871, lived a storied life. He is best known for having been elected as the Territory of Hawai’i’s second non-voting member to the U.S. Congress. Despite having no vote, Kuhio was able to secure passage of the Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act in 1921 to preserve the culture and traditions of native Hawaiians, promote self-sufficiency and provide low cost farming land to native Hawaiians of 50 percent blood quantum.

Through mele and hula, the show will tell Kuhio’s story – from being adopted at the age of 10 into the childless royal family of King David La’amea Kalakaua and his Aunt Queen Kapiolani to become one of the heirs of the Kalakaua dynasty. A brave man with extraordinary foresight, he helped found the Royal Order of Kamehameha in 1903 and the first Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu in 1918, both of which continue to provide valuable community service.

The second half of the show will shift to more contemporary hula and music, beginning with a beloved song by composer Charles E. King, “Lei Aloha Lei Makamae,” which describes and compares a lei and its fragrance to a person whom one admires and loves.

As the story continues, the sixth generation of the Beamer-Solomon hula legacy, Leiomalama Tamasese Solomon, will be featured. A UH-Manoa sophomore, she will represent the halau in the Miss Aloha Hula Competition at this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival, and she along with her hula sisters will be entering Merrie Monarch 2014 in the wahine division.

Concluding the performance will be several dances that have taken top honors for the halau during the 8th Annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival in November 2013. Featured mele are drawn from the Beamer-Solomon family’s musical legacy.

Before the performance begins and during intermission, refreshments will be available including Robert Covington’s paniolo smoked meat with deli bagels, musubi and soft drinks. For information, call Hula Loea Covington at 938-6357.