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From left, IHM project specialist Leihuanani Kealiʻinohomoku, IHM faculty coordinator Keola Donaghy and students Kyoko Meinen, Marie Donaghy, Elaine Olson and Max Angel. (Not pictured: Koakāne Mattos)

The University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s Institute of Hawaiian Music (IHM) held a blessing for its recently renovated ʻApo Leo Learning Studio last month, just in time to honor its faculty and students whose final recording project was selected as the Hawaiian EP (extended play) of the Year at the 2019 Nā Hōkū Hanohano music awards.

IHM faculty coordinator Keola Donaghy was proud of the team’s recognition, noting the limitations they had prior to the studio’s renovation, which necessitated renting time at commercial studios to ensure acoustic quality. “The Nā Hōkū win was a great measure of our success, so imagine what our future students can do with the newly improved facility,” said Donaghy.

people standing in music studio
The new ʻApo Leo Learning Studio at UH Maui College.

The ʻApo Leo Learning Studio renovation began last year as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant intended to strengthen music and Hawaiian performing arts at UH Maui College. It includes a combination classroom and control room that houses the facility’s state-of-the-art recording system and space for student learning. There is also an isolated talent room, with sound lock, where performances are recorded.

The IHM program has won two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards so far—the first for the compilation CD “Aloha ʻIaʻO Maui” in 2016, and “ʻHe Lani Ko Luna, He Honua Ko Lalo,” which was this year’s Hawaiian EP of the Year.

Interested Institute of Hawaiian Music students

Katz standing in music studio
IHM faculty Joel Katz, who was also instrumental in the award-winning album, showcases the new studio.

UH Maui College’s IHM is a one-of-a-kind mentorship program dedicated to the perpetuation and preservation of Hawaiian music. Formal university classes are supplemented with mentorship sessions led by professional Hawaiian musicians. Students selected for the IHM program will receive exclusive opportunities to receive personal training, guidance and knowledge through mentor-mentee relationships with performers, composers and industry professionals including Kealiʻi Reichel, Raiatea Helm, Jake Shimabukuro, Kenneth Makuakāneand former IHM director and Grammy Award-winning slack key guitarist George Kahumoku Jr.

Interested students may audition by contacting or (808) 984-3570. The application deadline for fall 2019 is August 1.

Maui College’s new program preserves future of Hawaiian music

More about the Institute of Hawaiian Music at UH News.

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