Lahela Lee Park of Hāna, Maui is first Carmen Hulu Lindsey Leo Haʻihaʻi Falsetto Champion

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Hāna’s own Lahela Lee Park of Kawaipapa won the inaugural Carmen Hulu Lindsey Leo Ha‘iha‘i Falsetto Contest, held last night as part of the 30th annual Celebration of the Arts at the The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua.

“Conventionally a kāne (male) competition, Maui leads the way in a new tradition, highlighting another beautiful facet of Hawaiian music,” according to event organizers.

Park performed “Pua Like ‘Ole” that she dedicated to the recently passed kumu hula and haku mele, Johnny Lum Ho.

“It’s not about singing high. It’s about knowing when to break the notes up,” said Carmen Hulu Lindsey. “Hardly anyone sings this Hawaiian style of music. I’m honored to be the namesake of this contest. I am honored to help keep the tradition alive.”

By night, Park is a musician, performing weekly at Hāna Farms and the Hāna Maui Resort. Her day job is ad National Park Service Ranger, where she has been employed for 14 years at Haleakalā National Park in the Kīpahulu District at ʻOheʻo in East Maui.

For fun, Park likes to send “mele-grams” to friends and family for their birthdays on social media. She dedicated her performance Saturday night to her best friend and #1 fan, Kama Helekahi, and their daughters Aveleena and Kanikawai.

As the inaugural champion, Park took home Lei hulu by Hulunani – Leonani Meyer, $600 Cash, a performance at Keauhou Shopping Center in Kona, Hawaiʻi, a K-1 Super Soprano ʻukulele from Kanileʻa ʻUkulele, a custom 10 mm bracelet from Hawaiʻi’s Heritage Jewelers, and a professional recording opportunity with Nāpua Greig and Pihana Productions.

The inaugural contest premiered at the newly renovated, open-air Aloha Garden Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua. Park was one of five contestants, the complete list of which included the following:

  • Polanimakamae Kahakalau-Kalima of Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island
  • Leimana Purdy of Waiohuli, Maui
  • Rainbow Ulii, of Honolulu, Oʻahu
  • Lahela Lee Park of Kawaipapa, Hāna
  • Teressa Deneen Welolani Medeiros Noury of Lahaina, Maui

Second Place was awarded Leimana Purdy, senior at Kamehameha School Maui at ʻA‘apueo for her rendition of Aloha Punalu‘u. She took home $400 cash.

Third Place went to Pōlanimakamae Kahakalau-Kalima of Hawaiʻi Island who performed her mele inoa (name song) entitled He Pō Lani Makamae. She took home $300 cash.

The ‘Ōlelo Hawaiʻi award was presented to Lahela Lee Park by Clifford Naeole, the Cultural Advisor and General Manager Andrew Rogers. She will enjoy a Complimentary two night stay at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua in a suite with breakfast for two daily.

All contestants will receive makana from:

  • Kauluae Hawaiʻi
  • Maui Kuia Estate Chocolate
  • DoTerra Kaone Wellness & Essential Island Living – Janice Acopan
  • The Original Maui Crisps
  • The Maui Cookie Lady – Mitzi Toro
  • Queen Kaʻahumanu Center and Kauwela Bisquera
  • One-Eighty Boardshop
  • Nā Koa Brand
  • Ari South
  • Manaola Hawaiʻi
  • Makakū Maui by Kamaka Kukona

Contestants were judged by the following criteria:

Vocals/Music – Vocal Quality (Balance, Intonation, Strength); Vocal Technique (Control, Ha‘i (up/down), Glissando., Vibrato); Vocal Aesthetics (Dynamics/Expression, Individuality, Phrasing); Musicianship (Accompanied by house musicians); Musicianship (Contestant accompanies self)

Hawaiian Language – Mele Background (Composer, moʻolelo; manaʻo/inspiration; amount and accuracy of moʻolelo Hawai‘i); Pronunciation/Enunciation (Articulation and command of the Hawaiian Language, Kahakō); Technique (Haʻi/grace note in appropriate places; comfort/ease in moʻolelo delivery.

Overall Presentation– Grooming; Stage presence; Posture; Communication (Accurate, Enlightening, Entertaining); Delivery; Emotion.

Carmen Hulu Lindsey has represented Maui as an OHA trustee since January 2012 and a long-time member of the ʻAhahui Kaʻahumanu and the Central Maui Hawaiian Civic Club. A professional entertainer and recording artist “Hulu” won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Female vocalist of the year in 2014 for Hulu Lindsey, “A He Leo Wale No E” (Kahulu). In addition she has been featured on many projects and complications. Most recently on the album, “Lei Nahonoapiʻilani” recording the song “Ka Wai ʻO Eleile.”

The Carmen Hulu Lindsey Leo Ha’iha’i Falsetto Contest was sponsored by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Festivals of Aloha, Lōkahi Pacific and the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua.

To watch the live feed visit Festivals of Aloha’s Facebook here.

More information about the 30th annual Celebration of the Arts is available here.