BYU students sing, dance in Multicultural Student Services Lu’au

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The Multicultural Student Services presented the Lu’au program Nov. 16 and 17, which represented a variety of Polynesian countries and cultures, such as Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti and Samoa. Sections of each culture performed several dances and songs native to that country. 

The Lu’au is “an event in which students showcase the diverse heritage and traditions of Polynesian peoples through music, song, and dance,” according to the MSS website.

One of Hawaii’s section leaders, Kekua Chun, expressed his gratitude for being able to show BYU campus his culture. 

“Hula is one of the foundational practices in Hawaiian culture that encapsulates every single one of our values,” Chun said. “When you are dancing in a group, you are dancing in sync with the people next to you, and that synchronization is only built off of a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood and that sibling kind of love. That’s what you see in hula.” 

Both nights of the Lu’au sold out online and the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom was packed. Event staff pulled out more chairs to accommodate the audience. 

“It was a little hard to get in,” audience member Baylee Johnson said. “But I am so glad we made it. The whole thing was amazing.”

The night kicked off with the announcement of each represented country and their respective section leaders. The men of the New Zeland section opened the night by blowing conch shells, with the Tahitian section following their performance.

Up next, Hawaii portrayed the story of Queen Liliʻuokalani through their performance. Tonga honored 22-year-old BYU student Sokopeti Brown Yamazaki, who tragically passed away on Nov. 11, with song and dance.

Filling the stage and aisles, the Samoan section sang and danced the program to a close.

“Watching all of the different countries and seeing how different they all are was really cool,” audience member Emily Bunker said.

The MSS presents other programs, such as Fiesta, Black History and Pow Wow. The events “build awareness of diverse cultures and peoples, encourage cultural education, and provide outlets for students to share their unique heritage,” according to the MSS website.

“I know there are a lot of different cultures here at BYU,” Bunker said. “I’m glad BYU puts on programs like Lu’au to give students the chance to experience those cultures.”

Students interested in joining next year can inquire at the MSS office. The Lu’au welcomes all students to join any section. 

Chun expressed his appreciation for the Lu’au and its members. “Thank you to everyone for their support in helping the sections,” he said. “I am beyond grateful for everyone.” 

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