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Meet The Singers-Lilinoe Kauahikaua

As a young Hawaiian growing up primarily on the mainland, it’s safe to say I often felt lost. During the school years, I spent my time on the mainland. In the summers, I would come back to my home here on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I always felt disconnected from things in Hawaii while living so far away. Music became one of the most important things in my life, giving me something to always sooth my soul and to help me feel connected to something greater then myself.

I first became interested in music at a very young age, singing in the shower, or with my mom or even along with Disney movies. It wasn’t until Junior High and High School that I began taking choir. Before too long I had joined The Madrigal Singers from my High School. I have so many amazing memories from the wonderful trips we went on to perform at various events. I was even given the opportunity to join the Central Regional Honor Choir. During this time I also became interested in solo singing, performing solos with my choir, as well as entering into our State’s solo and ensemble competitions.

After graduation I was accepted as a Vocal Music major at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. This was an absolutely amazing experience. I learned so much about the inner workings of music. Under the watchful eye of these amazing professors, my vocal technique grew and grew. However, there came a point after that first year that I began to question my devotion to the major. I left Cal Poly to do some soul searching of my own. I learned many valuable lessons along the way.

Years later I decided to go back to school to pursue a different passion, Criminal Justice. I enrolled in Modesto Junior College. I found this new passion to be a trying yet rewarding one. To balance out the disturbing nature of my studies, I began to dive back into choir. I joined the Chamber and University Choirs, as well as began taking vocal lessons. This was one of the most rewarding things I could have done for myself. It gave me such a sense of pride and strength. I decided I wanted to further my education and pursue a BA in my field. I felt it was time to go home, so I applied to the University of Hawaii Hilo.

I was accepted and transferred to the University of Hawaii Hilo In 2011. Here I pursued my BA in Administration of Justice and a minor in Hawaiian Studies, two very rewarding areas of study. Before my arrival at UH, I had reached out to the then director of the Kapili Choir. He assured me that I was welcome to join the choir upon my arrival. This was music to my ears! In addition to the choir, I was also permitted to begin private voice lessons with one of the most knowledgeable voice instructors I have ever worked with. This filled my heart with so much joy. It was as if the road to success was already being paved. It’s quite rewarding to have such a creative escape while maintaining a major that focuses on crime every day. Simultaneously, in my Hawaiian studies classes, I was introduced to beautiful mele and a completely different way of looking and experiencing music through a cultural lens. Before long I would feel an urge to push myself even further out of my comfort zone. I would begin auditioning for musicals and guest singing roles with our very own Jazz Orchestra. I landed a few roles in some small productions, as well as a supporting lead as Gigi in Miss Saigon. I was also quite fortunate to be asked back each semester to perform timeless songs with the incredibly talented UH Hilo Jazz Band, performing selections from Frank Zappa, The Blues Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Jackson 5, and even The Beatles. This was and still is an amazing opportunity for me.

As I continue to grow in my musical journey, I am blessed with more and more opportunities to try new experiences. I have been fortunate enough to sing with one of the island’s leading top 40 bands, I’ve even been given the opportunity to spend some time in the recording studio. I know as life progresses, so will my musical journey….onward and upward….never stopping…never ending…holomua!

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