The 89th Annual Song Contest: Celebrating the Music of John Kameaaloha Almeida; March 20, 2009; Neal Blaisdell Center; 7:30 PM Hawai‘i Time

DVD and iTunes

Now Available!

The DVD of the 2009 Song Contest features the full program, including the men’s, women’s and combined classes competitions, as well as the Hō‘ike presentation, “E Lilo Ana ‘Oe Ia‘u!” and awards ceremony. Bonus features include KGMB9 news segments and a 45-minute preshow titled “John Kameaaloha Almeida: The Dean of Hawaiian Music.” The preshow features archival photos and audio recordings of composer Johnny Almeida, as well as interviews with members of his family, friends and fellow musicians.

Go to KS eMall now to order your copy of this traditional music competition.

Also Available

2009 Winners

  • Louise Aoe McGregor Award

    Outstanding Student Director

  • Richard Lyman, Jr. Trophy

    ‘Ōlelo Makuahine Award

  • New England Mothers’ Cup

    Girls’ Competition Award

  • George Alanson Andrus Cup

    Boys’ Competition Award

  • Helen Desha Beamer Award

    Best Musical Performance

  • Charles E. King Cup

    Combined Class Award

Louise Aoe McGregor Award

Outstanding Student Director

C. Ka‘ai‘ōhelo McAfee-Torco
Class of 2010

Richard Lyman, Jr. Trophy

‘Ōlelo Makuahine Award

Women of 2010
Grade 11

New England Mothers’ Cup

Girls’ Competition Award

Women of 2010
Grade 11

George Alanson Andrus Cup

Boys’ Competition Award

Men of 2009
Grade 12

Helen Desha Beamer Award

Best Musical Performance

Men of 2009
Grade 12

Charles E. King Cup

Combined Class Award

Class of 2011
Grade 10

This Year’s Theme

Celebrating the Music of John Kameaaloha Almeida

This year’s contest celebrates the music of John Kameaaloha Almeida, fondly remembered as “The Dean of Hawaiian Music.” This prolific composer distinguished himself over a 70–year musical career, creating a legacy of over 200 mele which are still enjoyed today.

At ten years of age, Johnny was totally blind. He increasingly turned to music for comfort and enjoyment, and eventually mastered some nine different instruments. In 1917, at Queen Lili‘uokalani’s funeral, Johnny was asked to perform.

With his trademark dark glasses and signature mandolin, he was continually in demand at clubs and cafes throughout the islands, and he became a recording artist and a radio star. He also taught music, and mentored many young musicians. He outlived many of his contemporaries before passing away in 1985 at the age of 87.

About Song Contest

The Song Contest has been an important tradition of Kamehameha since the first annual competition in 1921. Miss Laura Brown, a director of music at Kamehameha between 1926 and 1947, stated that “the objective of the song contest are to build up the repertoire of the best in Hawaiian music for the cultural heritage of any student who attends Kamehameha; to develop leadership, cooperation and good class spirit; and to give students the use of their singing voices and to give them pleasure in singing as a means of expression.” Today, the Song Contest represents a proud tradition spanning 89 years of Kamehameha’s history.

Learn More

For more information about the 89-year history of Song Contest, visit the Kamehameha Schools Archives.

Where to Watch

Watch the Replay

The 2009 Song Contest webcast has ended. Mahalo nui loa for joining us.

Download the program — This digital copy includes a biography of Johnny Almeida, lyrics and English translations, previous Song Contest winners, and more. Download now (PDF; 6.5 MB) »

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