1st Annual Benefit Lu'au
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 Ka Lei Hali'a O Ka Lokelani gathered in the commons area of Beaverton High School to pule (pray) in preparation for this year. As we stood joining hands, I took the time to look at my 'olapa (hula dancer) and for those few moments my heart was content. We were exactly where we needed to be, together.
When we came up from our pule my eyes teared up and for my girls, they are never surprised. I looked at the 'olapa they have become and I told myself that night, "Wow, Lei, you are, we are, so truly blessed." To be able to share Hawai'i's culture, here in the greater Northwest, is an unbelievable gift and as we all stood there, taking our last glance at each other, I saw these beautiful 'olapa admiring each other with great ha'aha'a (humility). There faces said it all, this is the year, the year we continue to make a difference.
As we all walked down the stairs I turned and said, "Be here girls,be here!" And you saw the trickle of nods flow up the stair way. The stage was set and the audience was silenced. I open the stage with Pa Ka Makani, the blessing of a new day, a welcoming chant to all those in attendance. Then, Oli Komo, an entrance chant performed by the 'olapa of Ka Lei Hali'a O Ka Lokelani, the strength in their voices poured with pride. The audience remained in "aww" as they were taken to the islands of Hawai'i with the beautiful sound of the 'ipu (drum/gourd) and the dancing began.
As we neared the end of our Kahiko (traditional) section, I was taken back to September 18th, 2010; our 1st annual hula exhibition, and was reminded of all the sweat and tears that went into the success of our show, but it was the audience that made this show what it will be and tonight we accomplished our goal. We created a moment. "You made me want to dance, you made me want to speak the language, you made me fall in love with Hawai'i and I've never been there", said a member in the audience. Filled with pride I, of course, teared up and said, "Mahalo, thank you, these girls work hard and we are the fortunate ones who are able to continue the Hawaiian culture".
Saturday's performance solidified the reason Ka Lei Hali'a O Ka Lokelani was born; to create a moment, to educate and share. Mahalo, again, to Beaverton High School Marching Band for inviting us to take part in their 1st annual benefit lu'au! Good luck in Hawai'i!
10 years from now a new generation will take the stage and create their moment, but till then, our 'olapa pave the way and will continue to build a stage in hopes that every time we grace it we touch the audience and help them fall in love with a culture that is so beautiful, Hawai'i.