Samoan and Tongan communities wow the RNC in Los Angeles
Los Angeles CA— At the general session of the Republican National Committee's (RNC) Spring Meeting last week, members of the Los Angeles area Samoan and Tongan communities gave a moving musical performance that caught the eye of the national media including The Associated Press.
The performance brought a prolonged standing ovation from the RNC's 168 leaders from across the nation and led National Committee Chairman Priebus to say, "I think RNC has found its choir."
Carson Christian Center Pastor Henry Yandall, originally of Pago Pago, opened the session with an invocation that was followed by a capella singing by "Straight Up" —an amazing talented group co-directed by Mark Vaki and Deanna Tulikihihifo. Their rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" brought the audience to its feet and overwhelmed some with tears.
Anita Sisi Hingano, a former first runner up for Utah American Idol, followed up with 'America the Beautiful'. Sisi also sang the National Anthem at a Cubs game.
Continuing with an "all-Pacific Islander" opening, a local Polynesian Boy Scout Color Guard team presented the colors and Guam Republican National Committeeman David Sablan led the participants in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Said Aumua Amata, who arranged for the group to perform at the Republican National Committee meeting, "I want to thank Papali'i David Cohen, Alisi Mataele and Seiuli Fa'auliulito Meni for organizing this event. Our young people are excellent ambassadors for conveying the message about who we are and what our beautiful culture is all about, especially in California where we have more Samoans than we do back home in American Samoa, as well as a huge Tongan community. Wherever you find Polynesians you find a lot of churches and where you find the churches you find music because we are a spiritual, singing people. We especially thank them for doing this as a labor of love because they're all good Republicans."
The meeting concluded on Saturday, April 14.