One of Waimea’s oldest traditions – the celebration of May Day by Waimea Middle School students – continues on Friday, May 10. But for the first time ever, the morning performance will partially be repeated in the early evening, and also students from other Waimea schools will join in the celebration.
Doors to Thelma Parker Memorial Gym will open for seating for the morning performance at 8:30 a.m. though kupuna and families of the May Day Court and families with infants will be allowed to enter at 8:15 a.m. Talented Waimea musicians and singers who work closely with WMS students year-round — Hawane Rios, Keali’i Bertelmann and Chadd Paishon — will perform from 8:30 a.m. until the start of the performance at 9 a.m. For the evening performance, doors to the gym will open at 5:30 p.m. to music by the same talented trio, and the pu will sound at 6 p.m. signaling the arrival of the court and showtime.
There is no charge for May Day performances and everyone is invited to both shows. The only suggestion is to please consider wearing a lei.
Themed, “No Ku’u Hawa’i - Ke Aloha Nani E,” which translates “For My Hawaii - A Beloved Beauty,” both presentations will begin with a protocol opening and formal introduction of the WMS May Day Court led by eighth grade King Maile Etherton, and eighth grade Queen Tania duPont, who are accompanied by a retinue of pu blowers, kahili bearers and island princesses and their escorts, as well as the coronation of the king and queen by members of their immediate family.
Island Princesses and royal court representatives include: eighth graders Terriann Aholelei, Janese Ambrosio, Quiana Anastacio, Faithlyn Bala Derla, Tyrah Fernandez, Keanianiokealaula Kaleleiki, Alaynia Preston-Kauhola, Kaylene Lincoln, Nicole Lorenzo, Destiny Lyman, Kamehanamauloa Tachera and Kiara Wilsey.
Male escorts include: eighth graders Brian Abad, Elijah Anakalea-Buckley, Kahakea Callihan, Cody Cook, Joseph Hooper
Iokepa Keli’iholokai-Agustin, Fernando Pancho, Kalena Roldan, Kainoa Salumbides, Jeremiah Sam, Ezra Wakinekona and Keighsen Walker.
Serving as a WMS May Day Court member is significant undertaking. While court members are elected, becoming eligible and then serving on the court requires a substantial commitment of both community service time and many non-school hours dedicated to researching, writing and also training for the performance. Court members were required to complete a research project on their own time, this year by studying “the traits of a warrior” as defined by the Nishiyuu Walkers, a group of First Nations youth who journeyed 900 miles across the Canadian tundra to honor their homeland and ancestors. Students read about the Nishiyuu Walkers in social studies class and then had to identify a leader in their family or community who personified the traits of such a warrior and prepare a research paper on them.
Students learned that a Nishiyuu Kinwhapmackin, or warrior, is a person with leadership qualities that include sacrificing themselves for the betterment of others, protecting the people, culture, heritage and land, and by doing so, they ensure a promising future for present and generations to come, guided by the teaching of courage, honesty, humility, compassion, respect, sharing and wisdom.
For the morning presentation, WMS students will perform a rainbow of songs and dances. Also in the morning, WMS students who have participated in the after-school K(Arts) program will perform Tahitian and ‘ukulele numbers.
For the evening performance, students from every school in Waimea have been invited to perform, sharing a dance, song or chant of their choosing.
Coordinating WMS May Day are ‘Ike Hawai’i Resource teachers Pua Case, kumu Keala Kahuanui and kumu Keali’i Bertelmann, who work with all WMS eighth grade teachers and staff. In addition, Hawane Rios has been working on protocol, history and dance instruction with the May Day Court girls, who will perform a tribute to the island of Kaho’olawe, entitled “’O Kohemalamalama I Ke Kai.”
Attendees are invited to arrive as early as 4:45 p.m. to purchase and enjoy a delicious local-style dinner prepared by the families of our eighth Grade East Coast Travelers featuring grass-fed Waimea Ranch beef stew ‘n rice, or sweet-sour pork n’ rice bowls with salad and dessert. Funds raised support this summer’s trip to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia.
Donations of greenery are needed and may be brought to the gym on Wednesday, May 8, between 3-6 p.m. or at 9 a.m., Thursday, May 9. Kokua with decorating also is welcome from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday. For information about May Day, please call Pua Case at 938-5550.