Nola Nahulu

Main Stage
Sunday May 6, 1:00 pm
Conducting the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus and Kawaiolaonapukanileo ensemble


Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus: As Hawaii’s premier community and largest and oldest community youth choir, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus offers a full spectrum of music education. We welcome students, grades K – 12 from any school on Oahu. We welcome all students regardless of ethnicity, religious preference, gender or national origin. Each year, HYOC serves approximately 1200 students from nearly 100 schools, in our program either through weekly involvement with us or in participation through our outreach and festival programs. Participants range from absolute beginners to Hawaii’s finest young vocalists and musicians. We produce, on average, 20-30 concerts per year, half of which are free to the public including music concerts in elderly care facilities and other community venues.

Kawaiolaonapukanileo: Kawaiolaonapukanileo was founded in 1997 to perpetuate the genre of Hawaiian Choral Music. They have toured to every island in the state of Hawai‘i sharing the beloved music of the ‘aina. They also toured to Europe in 1999 to participate in the Wales Llangollen Eisteddfod Festival.

They host a community choral festival featuring Hawaiian Choral Music called “Ke Ahe Lau Makani.” They also give an annual concert in early January each year. They can be heard in concert most often in events which feature Hawaiian cultural activities i.e. Onipa‘a Celebration at Iolani Palace, Kawaiaha‘o Church, Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs Aha Mele and Conventions, various Aha Mele, Kamehameha Schools, St. Andrew‘s Cathedral, Orvis Auditorium etc.


It’s hard to think of a choir or chorus without thinking of Nola Nahulu – one of Hawaii’s premiere conductors and music teachers. Nola got hooked on music while taking piano and ballet growing up as a child in Makaha, and she parlayed that passion into a career that has spanned more than three decades.

Nola has taught and conducted some of the islands’ legendary and beloved choral groups – including the Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus and the Honolulu Symphony Chorus. She has also taught music and choir at churches and schools – including Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii.


Ms. Nola Nahulu is a native of Makaha, O‘ahu and received her education from: Wai‘anae Elementary School, Kamehameha Schools, Whitman College (B.A. Psychology), and University of Hawai‘i Manoa (M.A. in Music Education, Choral).

Ms. Nahulu has been involved in the Choral Music scene of Hawai‘i since 1979. The organizations she has been associated with have included the Unitarian Church, Bishop Memorial Church, Moloka‘i Children’s Chorus and the Kamehameha Alumni Glee Club. She is currently the interim Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and Director of Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus (Executive and Artistic Director), The Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir, Hawai‘i Opera Theater Chorus, and the Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Club. She is the founder and director of the Kawaiolaonapukanileo ensemble (an ensemble dedicated to the preservation of the Hawaiian choral music genre).

Her teaching endeavors have included: Our Redeemer Lutheran School, the Kamehameha Schools, the University Laboratory School, and lecturer at UH Manoa Music Department. She and her sister own Bete, Inc., a designer Hawaiian apparel company.

Aunty Nola, as she is often called, is respected within the choral circle of Hawai‘i as well as the nation. She is in high demand as a choral director and clinician. With HYOC, Ms. Nahulu has directed many festivals in Hawai‘i including the Na Leo Pili Mai Choral Festival and E Mele Kakou Children’s Choral Festival. In Spring 2006 she conducted a small clinic as part of the MENC convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. She also participates in the annual Pacific Rim Children’s Chorus Festival every summer as the host choir; she also frequently jumps in to help with the Hawaiian pieces which have become a staple of the festival.

Ms. Nahulu also arranges music, primarily Hawaiian songs. She arranged a version of Queen Lili‘uokalani’s Nani Na Pua O Ko‘olau for the Pacific Rim festival. However, many of Ms. Nahulu’s arrangements have never been written down, as they are often invented during rehearsals to account for balance issues or to add additional harmony parts to a simple Hawaiian melody. Many of the songs done by her choirs are her own personal arrangements or were done improv-style to a general melody, a typical practice in Kanikapila-style Hawaiian music.

About the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus

Nola Nahulu conducting Nani Ke ‘Li’i Ki‘eki‘e at the 2011 Mozart Choral Festival

Kawaiolaonapukanileo presents Na Lani Eha


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