Watch: 1,000 Gather to Say Aloha to Johnny Lum Ho

May 7, 2022, 4:15 PM HST
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Around 1,000 people gathered on Saturday to pay respects to beloved Big Island son Johnny Lum Ho at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

A video of the full service can be viewed here.

Photos courtesy Darde Gamayo/Pacific Media Group

Renowned kumu hula, musician, composer and recording artist Lum Ho died Sunday, April 3. Born in 1941, Lum Ho grew up in Keaukaha was a man who became synonymous with hula and profoundly impacted the lives of anyone who knew him.

“Today we celebrate the life of a man. Taken too soon, but it was all in God’s plan. Kumu Hula worldwide is what many knew, but he was also Uncle Johnny to many, and UJ to a few,” a eulogy at the service read.

“And let’s not forget he was the number one prankster, always planning and scaring so many dancers,” it said.


Known for his creativity and writing most of the chants and songs performed by his hālau, Hālau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua, he also crafted the group’s choreography, all of which made them favorites during the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.


Lum Ho was one of the kumu in the first Merrie Monarch competition in 1971 and made his final trip to the festival’s competition stage in 2018. He led Hālau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua to many victories on the Merrie Monarch stage and also fostered Miss Aloha Hula candidates as well as keiki hula dancers.

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