Grove Farm News
Celebrating May Day with Mrs. Thronas, Catching up with Dawn Mones
A May Day Tradition to Remember
On this wonderful May Day, or Lei Day, in Hawaiʻi, we share a musical tradition that was created by Mrs. Adrienne (“Renee”) Thronas. Mrs. Thronas, as she is commonly referred to, is a retired teacher who spent her career as the music theory, band, choir/chorus, ukulele, and guitar teacher at Kapa‘a High & Intermediate School. During her 37 years of teaching there from 1954-1997, she taught, inspired, coached, and loved thousands of students, who fondly remember her. Her Show Choir traveled and performed locally and internationally in locales such as Disneyland, Walt Disney World, New York, and even Japan. In the late 1980s, Kapa‘a High School’s Show Choir garnered local and national attention when they placed in the prestigious “Young Americans” Show Choir competition in Pasadena, California.
Each May Day, in the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium on the Kapa‘a campus, the entire student body would fill the gym. The younger keiki would be seated on the floor and the upper school students and the chorus would be in the bleachers.
The May Day Court would make their entrance, dressed in the colors of the various islands. They would wear lei made from each island’s flowers, and the girls’ holokū and the boys’ waist sashes would match the respective island’s color. For instance, Maui is the color pink and the flower of Maui is the Lokelani rose. Purple is the color of our Kaua‘i.
As they made their way to the stage, Mrs. Thronas’ May Day Medley would be performed by the chorus. She chose a particular song to represent each island. Ni‘ihau’s song was “Ni‘ihau,” which is about the iconic Ni‘ihau shell. Kaua‘i’s chosen song was “Aloha Kaua‘i.”
To this day, the thousands of students, teachers and staff who were a part of her music and teachings fondly remember this medley. Listening to her May Day tradition brings back memories of the fun times, colors, sights, and even the smell of the many flowers and lei that were part of this tradition.
This table shows the colors, the flowers, the composers, and the eight songs, plus the finale, Nā Ali‘i, that comprised Mrs. Thronas’ May Day Medley:
In January 2023, Mrs. Thronas generously provided a scholarship grant to a graduating Kapa‘a High School senior majoring in music to enable a worthy graduate to pursue a career in his or her chosen profession. In describing her donation, she wrote, “As an alumna of Kapa‘a High School and an advocate for music and education, I am honored to sponsor this scholarship.” She paid it forward again!
Earlier this year, Mrs. Thronas gathered a few of her “kids,” or former students, to practice the medley and to record it so this tradition can be captured as part of Kaua’i’s rich history and culture that should not be forgotten. The singers are Aaron Cummings, Toa Hepa, Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad, Andrea Alfiler, Loke Sasil, Mandy Thronas Brown, and Lani Cummings. On bass and guitar was Kalani Dabin. And the entire medley was arranged and directed by Mrs. Thronas, on her grand piano in the comfort of her home. Perhaps watching this medley will inspire others to continue this wonderful tradition! Grove Farm hopes you enjoy it and we wish you our warmest aloha on May Day 2023!
Catching Up with 2013 Grove Farm Scholar Dawn Mones
Wedding season is approaching, and we were fortunate to catch up with 2013 Kapaʻa High School graduate and Grove Farm Scholar Dawn Mones. Dawn owns Sunrise Blooms, a floral business specializing in wedding flowers and arrangements. We were able to talk story with Dawn recently before she installed her beautiful creations for a wedding the next day.
Growing up on Kauaʻi, Dawn always had a connection with everything "green and growing." When she and her family would go to Kōkeʻe, she would come home with a random bunch of leaves, seeds, and flowers in her pockets. She felt at home in nature and around plants, so it was natural that she chose to pursue her passion for plants in college.
Dawn lives by the motto, "Bloom where you're planted." After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in horticulture, she worked full-time at a botanical garden in the area, then moved to the Bay Area to work for a landscaping company.
She began her florist journey after taking an elective class in floral design and helping her professor part-time with floral arrangements for weddings. "I quickly discovered that I was better at cutting flowers than planting them, so I decided to go full-time with weddings," Dawn said.
Sunrise Blooms started in February 2020 and serves clients in Southern California, Kaua‘i, and beyond. Dawn used to spend many hours flying back and forth from Hawaiʻi to California to make wedding arrangements. She moved home to Kaua‘i this year and her business has been thriving. If you need flowers or arrangements for your next gathering, email Dawn at email@example.com!