University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Music

Choral Studies

Distinguished Speakers Series

Jace Saplan

Eo E Lili'uokalani: The Matriarch of Hawaiian Choral Music


Nani Nā Pua Koʻolau
Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translation by Liliʻuokalani

The flow’rs of Koolau in their beauty
Fill the vale, fill with golden gleam.
I cull and wreathe them for my lov’d one,
At morn and night she fills my waking dream.
Where art thou, fairest of all fair ones?
Where art thou sweetest of all sweets?
A flow’r of Paradise thou seemest,
That the morning breeze ever kindly greets

I praise thy beauty, thou my fair one,
Thou the flow’r art of flow’rs to me.
The “lehua” flower whose ardent sweetness
O’erpowers that wand’rer o’er the lea,
And I cry “Where art thou, my loved one,
My spirit would dwell with thee.”
To taste hours of tranquil pleasure
And wander ‘neath Koi-ahi’s tree.

The thrilling notes of hidden songsters,
As they sport round the jasmine bower,
Whose odor yet in mem’ry lingers,
Reminds of thee, the fairest flower,
Of Vi-li-au the sweetest blossom,
Without thee, my life is lone.
Come fill my hours with bliss, I pray thee,
My flower, my bird, my chief and chosen one!

He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi
Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translation by Liliʻuokalani

Almighty Father bend thine ear,
And lift a nation’s prayer,
That lowly bows before thy throne,
And seeks thy fostering care.
Grant thou peace through-out the land,
O’er these sunny, sea-girl isles,
Keep the nation’s life, O Lord,
And upon our sovereign smile.

Grant thy Peace, through-out the land,
O’er these sunny, sea-girl Isles,
Keep the nation’s life, O Lord.
And upon our sovereign smile.

Guard him with thy tender care,
Give him length of years to reign
On the throne his fathers won,
Bless the King thy loving grace,
And with wisdom from on high,
Prosperous lead his people on,
As beneath thy watchful eye.

Bless, O Lord, our country’s chiefs,
Grant them wisdom so to live,
That our people may be saved,
And to thee the glory give,
Watch thou o’er us day by day,
King and people with thy love,
For our hope is all in thee,
Bless us thou who reign’st above

Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translation by Hui Hānai

Listen, friends
Of the singing school
Let us strive together
So our work progresses.

Do not abandon
This good work
Steadfast, stand firm
(For) our constitution

Let us all join together
With unanimous agreement
Steadfast in righteousness
Standing firm with serenity

Ahe Lau Makani
Text by Lilʻuokalani, Likelike, and Kapoli
Translation by The Three Graces of Hamohao

There is a breath so gently breathing,
So soft, so sweet by sighing breezes,
That as it touches my whole being,
It brings a warmth unto my soul.

We, fair one, together, shall enjoy such moments, while murmuring wind sweeps, o’er my fatherland.

There is a breath so soft and balmy,
Brought by sweet zephyrs, Līlīlehua,
And while wafted to my bosom,
It brings a yearning for one I love

Puna Paia ʻAʻala
Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translations by Liliʻuokalani

Puna’s bowery walls of fragrance
Are laden groves of sweet flowers,
There my heart yearns to be loved,
To dwell there, my sincere desire.

Puna’s shaded bowers
Are made redolent with perfume,
Sweet in language, full of love,
Binding ever thee and me.

So I long for thy image,
Bright flower of the Lehua,
I would take thee and pluck thee,
And press thee near to my heart

Puīa Ka Nahele
Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translation by Liliʻuokalani

For the lovely woodland and dells
Shall our fond songs ever be,
For as the shades of even draw nigh
Bring cherished memories of thee.

How soft and sweetly fragrant the air
In the deep blue woods where birds oft love to dwell,
Thou, O Iwi Iwa bird, with loveliest eyes,
Come thou back to me, oh, never to part again.

Now see the mist pass o’er the trees, Now closely press near the cliffs, Gracefully droops the leaf of the Palai, Laden with crystals of the Waahi

The Queen’s Jubilee
Text by Lili’uokalani
Translation by Lili’uokalani

All hail to thee, Great Queen of England,
Fair Queen who rul’st o’er land and sea,
From Northern seas to Southern shores
Thy sway is known both far and near.
We come to thy shores, most gracious Lady,
On this great day of thy Jubilee
To bring kind greeting from afar,
May Heaven bless thee, long may’st thou reign.

All hail, all hail, Empress of India,
In this thy year of Jubilee.
Now Kings and Queens and Princes great
Have all assembled here today
To pay due homage and reverent love,
Hawaii joins with loyal fervor,
May heaven shed her smiles on thee,
God bless the Queen, long may she live.

Kuʻu Pua I Paoakalani
Text by Liliʻuokalani
Translation by Liliʻuokalani

O ye gentle breeze that waft to me,
Sweet cherished memories of thee,
Of that sweet never fading flower,
That blooms in the fields of Paoakalani.

Tho’ I’ve often seen those beauteous flow’rs
That grew at Uluhaimalama,
But none of those could be compared
To my flow’r that blooms in the fields of Paoakalani.

Her face is fair to behold,
With softest eyes as black as jet,
Pink cheeks so delicate of hue,
That grew in the fields of Paoakalani.

Now name to me the one I love,
Ye gentle breezes passing by,
And bring to me that blossom fair,
That bloometh in the fields of Paoakalani.

Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan (they/he) serves as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Learning & Teaching and Choral Conducting at Arizona State University where they oversee the graduate program in choral conducting, conduct the ASU Concert Choir, and teach courses in choral literature and pedagogy that weave decolonial and critical theories with communal vocal practice. Recently, Dr. Saplan was named as the third Artistic Director of the Choral Arts Society of Washington (Choral Arts DC).

As a Kanaka Maoli advocate, artist, and culture bearer, Dr. Saplan is also the artistic director of Nā Wai Chamber Choir, a vocal ensemble based in Hawaiʻi dedicated to the preservation, propagation, and innovation of Hawaiian choral music. Under Dr. Saplan’s direction, Nā Wai recorded a Global Music Award-winning album entitled Eō Liliʻuoklani under the Mālama Music label and performed for the 2021 Chorus America Summer Conference, the 2021 National American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conference, and the 2020 ACDA Western Region Conference in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Pasifika choral traditions and Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions; decolonial approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the choral classroom; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender, and sexuality in communities of color; and trauma informed practice and boundary building with BBIA (Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian) music educators. Their scholarship on these topics has also led them to lead clinics at the state, regional, and national level for the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the LGBTQ Studies in Music Education Conference.

Dr. Saplan received their Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Music from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, their Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University-Portland, their Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Oregon, and their Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with cognates in Music Education and Ethnomusicology from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. They are the student of Dr. Maya Hoover, Mrs. Wanda Gereben, Dr. Sharon Paul, and Dr. Karen Kennedy.