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Music – Mele

Mrs. Thronas' May Day Medley - Kapaʻa High and Intermediate School

On this wonderful May Day, or Lei Day, in Hawaii, 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 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!