Sophomore Kaena Kekoa excels in performing arts

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Sophomore Kaena Kekoa excels in performing arts

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Sacred Hearts Academy has many students who share their extraordinary talents with the community.

Sophomore Kaena Kekoa participates in Liturgical Corps and Academy plays, but she is also immersed in community theater.

“When I was in the sixth grade, I saw a flyer for the musical, ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ I decided to try out, and to my surprise, I got one of the leads. Being a part of that show was really fun, and it sparked my love for theater. I progressed and began to audition more and get into different shows,” said Kekoa.

After her debut in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Kekoa appeared in many productions including “Beauty and The Beast,” “Into the Woods” and the Academy productions of “Aida” and “Mulan.”

While performing in community theater is a big commitment, it requires great support from family and friends.

“Balancing school and theater can be really hard. My parents always said, ‘If you want to do this, you need to keep up your grades, and you can’t miss a lot of school.’ Their support enables me to pursue all the things I want to do in theater. I’m really thankful for supportive people like them in my life,” said Kekoa.

It was Kekoa’s parents who first introduced her to singing and the performing arts.

“My mom is a singer, and my dad is very talented with instruments. When my siblings and I were growing up, my parents raised us in a singing environment. My two older siblings were more of the outgoing singers, and my little sister and I liked to be more offstage ones. Even though I was shyer, my parents always encouraged us to try new things and test it out,” said Kekoa.

With more than six productions to her credit, Kekoa has built self-confidence. Performing arts also gave her an outlet to express herself freely and creatively.

Despite the many accolades which have come her way, Kekoa remains humble.

“I try to maintain my humility because I always perform for God. One of my pet peeves is performers who are really good, know they’re good and act stuck up,” said Kekoa.

Currently, Kekoa is working with the Paliku Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA).

“I’m working on my dancing with PAPA. I’ve never had any vocal training, but growing up, my mom helped me and my siblings to sing. Taking voice lessons would be something I want to pursue as well,” said Kekoa.

Her genuine modesty, extraordinary talent and professionalism are present to all who have performed with and watched her.

“Kaena is an absolute joy with whom to work. She brings a level of professionalism to each rehearsal and every performance and pulls the quality of every performer up to their greatest potential. Honestly, she puts in 100 percent of everything she has into her craft, and it rubs off on her castmates. She makes everything she’s a part of even better,” said Jonah Hookano who played opposite Kekoa in the Academy production of “Aida.”

“She has such a beautiful voice and it is so entertaining to watch her perform. I’m always amazed,” said junior Amanda Choo.

Kekoa has performed with organizations around the island, including Hawaii Education of the Arts (HEARTS), Ohia Productions, New Hope, Maryknoll Performing Arts and Sacred Hearts Academy.