Grantee:  Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus
Location:  Honolulu, Hawaii
Award:  Artist and Community Collaboration Initiative
Discipline:  OPERAtunities
Web Site:

Students from fourth to twelfth grades premiered “Ulu Tree”, a newly commissioned original 120 minute, two-act opera, showcased in July of 2012, composed by Herb Mahelona, Jr. accompanied by a small nine-piece orchestra.

The original one hour and twenty minute opera, “Ula Tree”, incorporates stories about the Hawaiian sugar and pineapple plantation days, including both legend and historical issues relating to Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage. This newly commissioned opera was performed in the Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawaii. 450 individuals, including children and adults, attended its three performances. Accessible to all ages, the new composition has been made available to local schools and other choirs interested in a youth opera. Building on the repertoire of original Hawaiian music through opera based on Native Hawaiian themes, “Ula Tree” continues to educate and entertain the public as it highlights Hawaii’s wide and unique array of cultures and ethnicities.