Categorized | Entertainment

Palace performance honors ‘Merrie Monarch’ (Nov. 15)


The Daughters of Hawaii present a free concert 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15 at Hulihee Palace to remember King David Kalakaua (1836-1891), palace curator Aunty Lei Collins and bandmaster Charles ‘Bud’ Dant.

In addition to enjoying the voices of the Merrie Monarchs and Hawaiian performing arts by Kumu Hula Etua Lopes and his hula halau, Na Pua Ui O Hawaii, stick around the monthly Kokua Kailua Village Stroll.

Bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided. Concert goers may then take advantage of the free “chair check” conveniently located across from the palace while they troll.

During the 1-6 p.m. stroll, Alii Drive is turned into a pedestrian mall and musicians and artists take to the street in a fun and festive family atmosphere.

The brother of Queen Liliuokalani, Kalakaua became king by election, rather than birthright, in 1874. He was from a long line of chiefs from the Big Island; his queen was Kapiolani.

“During Kalakaua’s reign, music thrived due to royal patronage,” said Fanny Au Hoy, palace administrator. “He loved the performing arts, especially music.”

The king played the piano and composed chants and mele (songs) in Hawaiian and English. Nicknamed the “Merrie Monarch,” Kalakaua also embraced Western music and promoted the playing of the ukulele.

He composed the words to the kingdom’s national anthem, “Hawaii Ponoi,” which was set to music by his Royal Hawaiian Band.

“Kalakaua was a Renaissance man for Hawaiian arts,” Au Hoy said. “Kalakaua felt the political survival of his kingdom depended upon the cultural revitalization of the Hawaiian people. He included mele oli (chant) and hula in the king’s 1883 coronation and 1886 jubilee.

“The king enjoyed visiting Kona, bought Hulihee Palace and remodeled it,” she said. “He stuccoed the exterior, plastered the interior and enlarged the ocean lanai. The home took on a Victorian air with crown and gold leaf picture moldings and crystal chandeliers. Ever the Merrie Monarch, Kalakaua furnished Hulihee with the finery needed for entertaining: china, glassware, satin cushions, rugs and paintings.”

Kalakaua visited Washington, D.C. and brought about a reciprocity treaty of duty-free commerce with the U.S. He also sailed around the world in 1881 to promote Hawaii’s sugar industry.

During this period, different countries attempted to take control of several Pacific islands. A group of foreigners, with the help of a military unit, forced the king to sign the Bayonet Constitution in 1887, taking away most of his power.

Kalakaua died in 1891 on a trip to San Francisco and Liliuokalani, his regent, became queen.

Kokua Kailua Stroll

“We are always working to keep Kokua Kailua fresh and interesting,” says Special Events Coordinator Dorlene Kolina Chao. “It seems as though each month, we’re able to add more exhibitors and get more restaurants involved. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and an excellent way for everyone to support local businesses, especially for the holidays.”

A behind-the-scenes volunteer committee, including Chao, Carrie McKnight and Marie Aguilar, works collecting basket give-away items, obtaining road closure permits, assigning participants booths and more.

Specifically in the coming months, two Kokua Kailua volunteers are sought to help with event promotion and with basket donations and assembly.

Contact Chao at 936-9202.

Last date of the year: Dec. 13

The next Kokua Kailua Hulihee Palace Concert and Village Stroll date is Sunday, Dec. 13 as part of the second annual Kailua Kalikimaka festivities.

Kokua Kailua Hulihee Palace Concert and Village Stroll is sponsored by the Kailua Village Business Improvement District, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Destination Kona Coast, Kailua Village Merchants Association, Hulihee Palace and Pacific Radio Group.

The program is designed to rally support for merchants and restaurants and to remind residents to shop, dine and buy local.

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