The Holualoa Festival of Lights was, as always, a special magical time
for Leilehua. The 2003 festival was held on Friday, December 5. The tiny
coffee village of Holualoa is a close community of friends, and though
Leilehua no longer lives in the Kona agricultural community, she
maintains her ties there. So, she was delighted to be invited to perform
with friends Jesse Colin
Young, Vito Truglio, and
the Magic Strings.
The stage was set up in front of the community
library, near the town's Christmas tree, which was decorated with
ornaments made by community members.
Audience members sang along with Jesse in Christmas
favorites, and in Get Together. Leilehua also got some of the children
to accompany her in hula noho, the seated hula. Rudolph the
Red Nosed Reindeer is, of course, a standard!
The old Mamalahoa Highway, which runs through
the Holualoa town center, was packed with families and friends out to
enjoy the balmy Kona weather. Food booths, craft booths, and stages
offered wares and entertainment through the evening. Homes, shops, and
the public areas were decorated in lights. Over its seven years, the
annual festival has become a tradition of the village, and is
attended by people from around the island of Hawai`i.
Jesse Young and Leilehua first met through the Kona
Pacific Waldorf School, where Leilehua was the Hawai`iana
teacher. Jesse and his wife Connie teach music at the school. Leilehua
is the chanter in the opening of Jesse's song, Aloha E, which honors those killed in the 9-11 tragedy.