Na Wai Chamber Choir annual concert this weekend

  • Courtesy photo Jace Kaholokula Saplan

Na Wai Chamber Choir, a women’s vocal ensemble dedicated to the preservation, propagation and innovation of Hawaiian choral and vocal music, presents its annual concert “Moloka‘i Nui a Hina” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (July 28) at First United Protestant Church in Hilo.

This year, the choir is spending some time on Molokai doing service projects in Kalaupapa and performing for the community.


The choir’s annual concert will feature works that celebrate the cherished mo‘olelo of Hawaii, including works that honor the stories and places of Moloka‘i, as well as premiere new and contemporary works that honor the texts of Hawaiian monarchs through the lens of modern composers.

This kauwela season, come and explore a diverse array of choral music that embraces the connectedness between the past and present.

Na Wai is directed by Hilo native Jace Kaholokula Saplan, who is known for his work in celebrating the intersection between Hawaiian music and choral performance.

Under Saplan’s direction, the choir has commissioned and mentored emerging Native Hawaiian composers and conductors, toured throughout rural Hawaiian communities and led workshops on the performance of Hawaiian choral music at schools and universities throughout the country.

Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Queen Lili‘uokalani’s choral compositions; multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender and sexuality in communities of color; and Native Hawaiian agency in music.

Saplan, currently on leave from Hamilton College for the 2018-19 academic year after his first year of teaching, is serving as the interim director of choral activities and is an assistant professor of music at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the same positions he has at Hamilton.

Admission to Na Wai’s annual concert is free, but donations are welcome.

First United Protestant Church is located at 1350 Waianuenue Ave.

For more information, contact Lilinoe Kauahikaua at 854-9422 or via email at

Can’t make the concert? Not a problem.


Na Wai just released its first album featuring the original compositions of Queen Lili‘uokalani titled “Eo e Lili‘uokalani,” so now you can hear the choir wherever you go.

The album is available at Hawaiian Force and Basically Books and on iTunes and Amazon Music.