Kapaa choir brings home top honors from festival

Mary Lardizabal said she is proud of her Kapa’a Middle School Choir students, who earned some of the top honors at the Heritage Music Festival recently.

“When they went up to receive the ‘Spirit of Hawaii award, I was in tears,” Lardizabal said of her group members who took part in the festival held on O’ahu.

The 38 performers of the choir earned the Gold award for garnering a score between 90 points and 100 points, the Spirit of Hawai’i award for best representing their school and community and, finally, the Outstanding Choral Award that was presented to members of the choir who earned the highest ratings in the competition.

“It was an incredible weekend,” said Lardizabal. “To see my students so alive and excited about the event brought tears of happiness to my eyes. It is such an honor to teach such a wonderful group of talented young adults.” Lardizabal said the students worked hard to prepare their program, and were adjudicated by Dr. Karen Kennedy, the University of Hawai’i’s choral director; Corrin Overland, the Punahou choral director; and Dale Nobel, former Kamehameha Schools choral director.

But, she said, the work extended beyond perfecting their program, as they participated in fund-raisers along with their parents.

That effort started with the Kauai United Way Walk-a-thon, a silent auction at the school’s Winter Choral Concert, and numerous community performances during the holidays.

These helped defray some of the expenses of the trip.

Lardizabal added that, in addition to their personal efforts, contributions from officers of the Kapa’a Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association and Wal-Mart supplemented the students’ efforts.

Reggie McCabe, Nicole Waialeale, Nancy Wilson, Lolet Young, Toby Tuttle, Sam Wong, Lokelani Borrero, Penny Manuel, and the Iloreta family members spearheaded the chaperone and cheer section for both the performance and awards ceremony.

“Our school has so much to offer,” Lardizabal said. “Our students have a true gift that they share each and every day. They shared their aloha with schools from the Mainland that participated in this festival.” This is Kapa’a Middle School’s fifth year of participation in the Heritage Music Festival, and Lardizabal hopes to continue providing this opportunity for her students, she said.

The Kapa’a Middle School Choirs will now begin their preparation for their upcoming Spring Concert that is scheduled for May 10 at 7 p.m. at the school’s covered court.

This concert is open to the public, and there is no admission charge.

For more information, call Lardizabal at 821-4470, ext. 136.

I Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

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