Hawaiian Culture Comes to Ephraim

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Roy Leabig uses his ukelele to help teach Hawaiian culture. Photo Courtesy of Matt Harris

Roy Leabig uses his ukelele to help teach Hawaiian culture.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Harris

Imagine waking up one morning escaping Ephraim to spend just a couple hours in Hawaii. Can you picture it? The sun overhead, the sand beneath your toes, the culture, the people… Your chances have just gotten a little better, as the Hawaiian Culture class begins in Ephraim.

For eight weeks, Roy Leabig will be your “Kumu” (teacher). He will teach you of the Hawaiian culture through stories, song, dance, and chants. The class goes as the students guide it, through questions and discussions. This is an experience that you will never forget!

“I found it to be an excellent opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture,” says Matt Harris. “And not just the culture that’s there now, but the culture that always has been there and the deeper aspects of the culture.”

Of the culture itself, Leabig says, “It seems like a lot of rules, but there are no rules. It’s total respect.” That statement reflects in the class, as Leabig treats everyone as equals, not as teacher and student.

For this class, you leave your shoes, and even your name, at the door as you arrive. You adopt a Hawaiian name for the class, which is how Leabig will refer to you. As for the shoes, you leave them at the door because you can more easily transfer to the spirit world when there is nothing blocking you. The barrier you place between your feet and the floor don’t allow you to transfer to the spirit world.

In the Hawaiian culture, 50% of the language is through hand motions. “You do not get hand motions from a cell phone or smartphone,” says Leabig. “Everything you see tells a story.”

This class is taught to students as they present themselves, ask questions, and simply live the culture. “Please come in and have food,” says Leabig. “I’m not talking about ‘food’ food. I’m talking about knowledge.”

This class is taught of Saturday mornings from 9:30 am to 11 am in Founder’s Hall (Noyes Building, top floor). For the public, this eight-week course costs $85, but Snow students, employees, and senior citizens ages 62 and older get a 40% discount, coming to about $51 for the eight-weeks. Call 435-283-7670, Opt 4 to register!

Emily Suckow is a twenty year-old sophomore at Snow College. She grew up in South Jordan and graduated from Bingham High School in 2014. Being well-to do in the oboe, flute, and English horn, she was drawn to Snow for their four-year music major program, but has since switched her major and is pursuing a degree in Public Relations at this time. Emily spent her sophomore year at Snow College as Webmaster and Vice President of the Snowdrift, Snow College's student newspaper. When she was 13, Emily was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, but is currently cancer-free and loving life.

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