Young ukulele players play for judges, honors

November 7, 2010

KAANAPALI – More than 30 young ukulele players put their best music on display for a panel of Na Hoku and Grammy award-winning judges at the 14th annual Maui Youth Ukulele Contest.

Winners in four age divisions and a group division took home new Ko Aloha ukulele in the competition held Oct. 7 at Hula Grill Kaanapali.

The grand-prize winners were: kindergarten-2nd grade – Santana Sebastian, Emmanuel Lutheran School; 3rd to 5th grades – Bryson Faafiti, Lihikai Elementary School; 6th to 8th grades – Kaulike Pescaia, Kamehameha Schools Maui; 9th to 12th grades – Mika Kane, Kamehameha Schools Maui; group division – Gabriel Goebbert and Austin Carvalho.

Contestants were judged on ukulele skills, such as strumming, rhythm, picking and singing, along with stage presence, off-stage attitude and originality.

This year’s judges included Peter DeAquino, Derrick Sebastian and Garrett Probst – all former contest prodigies, who have garnered Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano awards.

Others placing second through fourth were, in order of placement: 3rd to 5th grades – Namaka Cosma White, Paia School, second. 6th to 8th grades – Johnathan You, Iao Intermediate School; Kieran Clark, Sacred Hearts School; Nick Ricca, Kalama Intermediate School. 9th to 12th grades – Gabriel Goebbert, Maui High School; Ashley Toda, Seabury Hall; Max Becerra, Lahaina Intermediate School. Group division – Edward Juan, Shae Johnson-Eugenio and Johnathan LumLung; Shai Ibara, Kaiani Kiaha, Isaac Kala and Destinee Murray; Makanahele Emmsley, Katie Marie Jacinto and Kamuel Dudoit.