Southern Oregon University’s Hawaii Club hosted the 19th Luau on Saturday in McNeal Pavilion. The theme was ‘Mai Hula Ke Nele Aku I Ka Mana’ or “Don’t Dance Without A Meaning”.
The night began with two members singing and playing the ukelele while guests waited in line for their classic Hawaiian food. The menu included Kalua pork, Huli Huli chicken, and Lomi Lomi salmon. Once seated, there were 12 performances, including a special first-ever fire dance.
SOU student and club member Darius Kila, who hosted the event, was satisfied with this year’s Luau. “I think each year we get better. Celebrating 19 years is awesome. The hula was there, the energy was there. There was a lot more people who weren’t from Hawaii that were apart of the club, which I thought was awesome.”
Kila MC’ed the event and often stole the show with his singing, dancing, and witty comments. This is his second year hosting the Hawaii Club Luau and it’s apparent he absolutely enjoys it. Kila continued, saying, “To me, it’s an opportunity to interact with the crowd. I want people leaving saying, ‘wow that was such a good show’ on my part, on the dancer’s part … I look at is as I’m pretty much taking the ship through the waters and I want the people to have a good ride.”
The Hawaii Club has been preparing for this event all year. They’ve been practicing the dance routines since the second week of January, including every day for the past three weeks.
This years’ Luau had the biggest turnout in years. According to Kila, there were 560 people in attendance. “[The crowd] makes it what it is every year. Everyone is so excited to be there, everyone’s attitudes are awesome … They don’t get enough credit in my opinion”.
Next year will be the 20th Annual Hawaii Club Luau, but there will a major obstacle to the Luau’s success. McNeal Pavilion will be under construction, so the Club will try to have the event at either the Armory or Ashland High School. According to Kila, there has been some talk about some alumni coming back and doing a performance, with the main objective being, “we have to go big for 20 years.”