Nola Nahulu

Summer Conference Plenary Speaker

Nola A. Nahulu is a prolific conductor, educator, and clinician with over four decades of contributions to the choral field in Hawai’i and the promotion of Hawaiian music. Her conducting work has included music education and children’s ensembles, several community choruses and glee clubs, church choirs, the Hawaiian Chorus at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, and serving as director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and Hawai’i Opera Theatre Chorus. Choruses under her direction have toured nationally and internationally, as well as hosted numerous choruses from all over the world.

During her tenure as Artistic Director of the Hawai’i Youth Opera Chorus, the chorus has grown from twenty singers to over 240 children in grades K-12, with offerings in eight graduated ensembles and choral conducting internships. Its mission to serve as a leader in music education throughout the state of Hawai’i has brought about several community choral festivals for elementary, middle, and high school singers, a youth opera summer program that commissions Hawaiian and cultural folk operas, and an outreach music education program in elementary schools, all incorporating Hawaiian choral music and traditions.

In 1997, having attended several international and national choral conventions, Ms. Nahulu noticed the non- representation of Hawaiian choral music in performances and repertoire. This was the impetus to develop an adult community a cappella choral ensemble, Kawaiolaonapukanileo, whose mission is to perpetuate and promote Hawaiian choral literature. This ensemble hosts an annual choral festival “Ke Ahe Lau Makani” specifically to celebrate Hawaiian choral repertoire. Ms. Nahulu also focuses on sacred Hawaiian choral literature in her role as director of the Kawaiaha’o Church Choir, the second oldest church in Hawai’i and historic church home to many of Hawai’i’s monarchs.

Ms. Nahulu is an active member in the community. She serves on the boards of Hawai’i Arts, Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, and the Waikiki Health Clinic. Awards and accolades include the Kalani Ali’i Award by the Hawaiian Community and Ali’i Societies, Living Treasure by the Honpa Hongwanji of Hawai’i, Ho’okele Award from Hawai’i Community Foundation, Leadership Award from YWCA, Dale Noble Award from the O’ahu Choral Society, and Hawaiian of the Year Award from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

Ms. Nahulu received a bachelor of arts in psychology from Whitman College and a master of arts in choral music education from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. With her family, Ms. Nahulu owns Bete Mu’u, a line of traditionally based elegant Hawaiian mu’umu’u. She is a native of Makaha on the island of O’ahu, and splits her time between there and Honolulu with her dogs Ho’ola and Dachi.