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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.

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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.

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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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