Indigenous people have been subjected to colonization for centuries. However, by contrast with several other settler nations, the genocide of indigenous people in the United States has rarely entered the mainstream narrative. Recently, some in our profession are interrogating the colonial nature of the Euro paradigm of choral music while searching for more expressive and authentic expressions of indigenous culture.
Conductor, educator, and scholar, Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan is known for his work in celebrating the intersection between Hawaiian music and choral performance. He is director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at the University of Hawai’i, and the founder and artistic director of Nā Wai Chamber Choir.
Nā Wai Chamber Choir is a treble ensemble dedicated to the preservation, propagation, and innovation of Hawaiian choral music. They perform a diverse array of repertoire from across the world, rooting process and perspectives through a Hawaiian lens. Since 2009, Nā Wai has commissioned and mentored emerging Native Hawaiian composers and choral musicians, toured throughout rural Hawaiian communities, and led workshops on the performance of Hawaiian choral music throughout the country.