Winging it

Mystic Rose Oratory

Mystic Rose Oratory

Last Friday I was supposed to try out the organ in the Mystic Rose Oratory at Chaminade University in advance of a rehearsal there on Saturday. You see I will be accompanying the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble in their annual Masterworks Festival in June. Many of the choristers, in addition to others on the mainland and Europe, will join forces to tour Ireland in the first week of July. And yes, I’ll be going along as their organist! We’ll be visiting Cork, Waterford and Dublin and will perform the Gabriel Fauré Requiem with the Dublin Symphony!

When I arrived at the chapel on Friday, I found the organ locked, but was told by Tim Carney, the director, that a key would be found in an adjacent locked closet. I was supposed to call security, and they would open up the closet for me. I did just that and we got the closet opened but guess what, no key of any kind.

I decided to look in the organ bench, usually a hiding place. No key! About half an hour of looking all over the closet and the sacristy, I gave up and went home. “I will just have to wing it at the rehearsal,” I told the security guard.

The ceiling and windows of the Mystic Rose Oratory.

The ceiling and windows of the Mystic Rose Oratory.

Did you know where the expression “to wing it” came from? It actually is a theatrical term which “refers to impromptu performances that given by actors who had hurriedly learned their lines while waiting in the wings and then received prompts from there.” The phrase dates from the 19th century where it was defined by Stage magazine in 1885:

“‘To wing’… indicates the capacity to play a rôle without knowing the text, and the word itself came into use from the fact that the artiste frequently received the assistance of a special prompter, who… stood… screened by a piece of the scenery or a wing.”

According to Better@English, “to wing it” is an idiom that means to improvise, to something without proper preparation or time to rehearse. “People often talk about winging it when they have to do something difficult that they didn’t have time to prepare — like a make speech or give a presentation. They might say something like “Sorry if I seem a bit disorganized, I’m totally winging it.” You tell people that you’re winging it, that you’re improvising, so that they won’t expect too much from you, or so that they will be more forgiving if you make a mistake.”

Well, the Saturday rehearsal went just fine, even though I didn’t get to try out the organ beforehand. Tim found out from the sacristan where the key is hidden, so I arrived only about 5 minutes before I had to start playing, and opened the organ without incident. It’s an ancient Allen electronic organ, “over fifty years old,” according to Tim, and in pretty bad shape with some dead notes but overall, quite soft even with the volume pedal all the way down. (How is it that organs that are not worth much get locked up, and others which are much more valuable are kept open? Hmmm….)

Tim Carney conducts the rehearsal.

Tim Carney conducts the rehearsal.

 

 

 

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So unbelievably proud

The May issue of The Diapason finally arrived, and I eagerly scanned through the pages to find the write-ups about the Class of 2016: 20 leaders under the age of 30. I found what I was looking for starting on page 26.

The Diapason’s second annual “20 under 30″ selections came from a field that included over 130 nominations, a response that exceeded the previous year’s. The nominees were evaluated based upon information provided in the nominations; we selected only from those who had been nominated. We looked for evidence of such things as career advancement, technical skills, and creativity and innovation; we considered a nominee’s awards and competition prizes, publications, and compositions, and significant positions in the mix. Our selections were not limited merely to organists but reflect the breadth of our editorial scope, which includes the organ, harpsichord, carillon, and church music….

Since we had to decline multiple nominees for each one we chose, selecting only 20 from a field of very worthy nominees was quite a challenge.

And on page 27, I found it!

Joey Fala's bio.

Joey Fala’s bio.

Joey, we are so unbelievably proud of what you have accomplished and know that you are having the time of your life at Yale. We can’t wait to hear you play at the Annual Organ Concert next March 2017! [Hey, thanks for giving me a little credit!]

Also named to this elite “Class” were several who have played concerts in Hawaii: Michael Hey, Wyatt Smith and Gregory Zelek. One feature of the article which I enjoyed reading was the “interesting fact” posed to each student:

Michael Hey: Wearing my flower print shirt, I showed up five minutes before a rehearsal on Carnegie Hall’s main stage. Then, on the backstage monitor, I saw a choir ascend the risers in tuxes and black dresses, and it occurred to me that I was actually grossly underdressed because it was actually a concert. So, in the blink of an eye, a stagehand threw me his XXL black long sleeve polo shirt and pushed me on stage.

Wyatt Smith: Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I am becoming more of an outdoor person. I love going for walks in different parks in Seattle, when the sun is out. I even became a member of REI.

Gregory Zelek: Although I look very American, I am half Cuban and only spoke Spanish until the age of four. I spent summers playing the organ in a village in northern Spain called Ramales de la Victoria, and now work at a bilingual church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Clay Logue, Greg Zelek and Karl Bachman at St. John's Episcopal, Kula.

Clay Logue, Greg Zelek and Karl Bachman at St. John’s Episcopal, Kula.

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Baccalaureate time

One of my students is playing for the upcoming baccalaureate service for Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic all-girls school here in Honolulu, and asked me to help her with organ registration. It was the first time I had ever been in the chapel there, and was quite amazed when I saw the beautiful interior.

Interior of Sacred Heart Academy chapel

Interior of Sacred Heart Academy chapel

Nameplate on the pipe organ in Sacred Heart Academy.

Nameplate on the pipe organ in Sacred Heart Academy.

We climbed the 29 steps to the organ loft where there is a small two-manual pipe organ by Felix F. Schoenstein, the founder of a five-generation organbuilding firm begun in the Black Forest of Germany in the mid-19th century. The Schoenstein & Co. is the oldest and largest organ factory in the Western United States. In 1868, Felix F. Schoenstein came to San Francisco representing his father and brothers. By 1877 he established his independent firm—the most consistently steadfast and successful company in the history of organ building on the Pacific coast, according to the company website. Each son of each generation has been sent to train with other firms. For example, Felix’s son, Louis, worked for E.M. Skinner. Louis’ son, Lawrence, and later his grandson Terrence, joined Æolian-Skinner. (Terry Schoenstein, a Honolulu resident and fifth-generation organbuilder, helped his father Lawrence L. Schoenstein install the Æolian-Skinner organ in 1960 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The same company has given a proposal to restore the Cathedral organ.)

The organ at Sacred Hearts Academy chapel.

The organ at Sacred Hearts Academy chapel.

I bet you’ll be surprised that at one time, there were forty-some pipe organs in Hawaii!

Here is a 1981 video introduced by Tom Brokaw about the history of this organbuilding company.

As it turns out, I myself will be back at Iolani School playing their Baccalaureate service on May 29th, since their current organist, Geri Ching (my first organ student in Hawaii!) will not be available. I’ll also be playing for the 6th grade Moving Up Ceremony.

It’s Back to School for me!

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Come, holy spirit

Tomorrow, May 15, is the Feast of the Pentecost, and I was so glad to read that the Men’s Schola will be performing Peter Hallock’s “Come holy spirit” for Evensong at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 5:30 pm. Did you know that the world premiere of this piece happened right in Honolulu at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Friday, June 22, 1979? You see, Carl Crosier, as Program Chair of the Far West Region of the American Guild of Organists, invited Peter Hallock to come to Hawaii as a guest organist. But Peter demurred, and wondered if he could bring the men of the Compline Choir of St. Mark’s Cathedral on the trip. A couple of letters later, Peter wrote us,

“The boys said YES! Hallock says “AMEN!”

Artist Roland Roy designed this logo for the LCH Compline.

Artist Roland Roy designed this logo for the LCH Compline.

Peter wrote his anthem, “Come, Holy Spirit” for opening day of the convention. We began with a grand reception on the front lawn of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, followed by a wonderful concert by organist Gerre Hancock of St. Thomas Church, New York City. At the conclusion of the concert, the lights dimmed, and we heard the spine-tingling and absolutely gorgeous chant coming from the Compline Choir, who sang from the back of the cathedral (underneath the Great West Window).

I still remember that first performance of “Come, holy Spirit” and especially those excruciating dissonances which melted into beauty and deliciousness. The anonymous prayer, “Come Holy Spirit” was offered by the Right Reverend Alan Jones as an introduction to a series of lectures presented at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, Washington in 1979.

Come Holy Spirit and wound us and make us whole. Come Holy Spirit and smite us and give us peace. In your hands we rest, In the cup of whose hands an ark sailed rudderless and without mast. In your hands we rest, And own a providence as large as sea and sky that could make of the aimless wandering of the ark a new beginning for the world. In your hands we rest, Ready and content this night. To see thee is the end and the beginning. Thou carriest me and thou goest before. Thou art the journey and the journey’s end.

In researching this anthem, I found Ken Peterson’s blog post about the Honolulu Compline services (which sadly, are no more), and his remembrances of that opening service. Ken writes: I first remember Carl from the summer of 1979, when the Seattle Compline Choir made a trip to Honolulu to sing at a regional convention of the American Guild of Organists.  Peter wrote his anthem “Come, Holy Spirit” for the occasion, and we sang it at a candlelit Compline service at the Episcopal Cathedral.  We also sang Compline with Carl’s choir at the Kawaiahao Church.  Over the years, Carl has sung with the Seattle choir, including our travels to Russia and Scandinavia (1997) and England (2000). 

Click here to hear Peter Hallock conducting the May 30, 2009 Pentecost Compline Service from St. Mark’s Cathedral, including a performance of “Come Holy Spirit” as the anthem.

Artist Roland Roy.

Artist Roland Roy.

Ken posted Roland Roy’s design for the LCH Compline Choir on his blog, and I was curious to find out what Roland is doing these days. In the 70s he was a parishioner of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and a policeman. As I remember the story, he was writing down a description and details of a “perp” and started sketching. His drawing was so good and realistic that they actually “caught the guy” based on his artwork. Here’s Roland’s bio:

Some people said that our wedding logo was perfect for us— a candle burning at both ends!

Our wedding logo, made into a banner.

I was born and raised in Honolulu and developed an interest in Art as an adult working for the Honolulu Police Department. Art became my sanctuary from my job, and I drew furiously for a year, while a friend sent my drawings to art colleges on the mainland. I chose Art Center in Pasadena and ventured off to California. After Art Center, I pursued a career in television and design that led to numerous awards, including the New York Film Festival Award for a documentary he co-wrote and directed. I also designed the CBS promotional Fall Campaign in 1986 and followed with the Star Wars Congressional Presentation for Ronald Reagan with Bob Able and Associates. I retired soon after that to concentrate on my own Art. I convey many moods in my work and am more interested in the effect of a subject than its correctness. I like to explore all facets of art from music to poetry, sculpting to stage plays. I want to touch, to feel everything. 

You might remember that he also a designed a logo for our wedding in 1977! Here is a video of some of Roland’s impressionistic artwork. I believe he now lives in California.

 

 

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Not “if” but “when”

This afternoon, many of us received this shocking news from St. Andrew’s Cathedral:

St. Andrew's Cathedral was vandalized last night.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral was vandalized last night.

According to a follow-up story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Dean Walter Brownridge said damage to two stained-glass windows was estimated at $8,000 each. “The incident marked the second apparent vandalism attack within the past few weeks. A week ago Monday, furniture and the church’s harpsichord were damaged, he said.”

Here are comments from Facebook:

“No words to describe people who damage churches. Check out the pictures. Someone threw rocks at the stained glass windows.

“So senseless, thoughtless… makes me want to weep.” 

“So very sad. There have been so many incidents of vandalism at the Cathedral recently.”

“There’s something very wrong with people who do this type of thing”

Ironically, in January of this year I attended a Historic Hawaii Foundation lecture on stained glass, and it was held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The lecturers, Jim Erickson and Glenn Mason, presented a talk entitled “Stained Glass: Preservation and Protection.” They showed numerous slides of damage to locally-installed stained glass, whether by natural forces such as fire or strong winds or man-made out-and-out vandalism. I remember one of them saying at the time, “it’s not a matter of ‘if’ your church’s stained glass will be damaged, but ‘when.’

You wonder what type of person would vandalize a church, or steal from one either. Last February when I returned from my Yale visit, Pastor Jeff Lilley told me that the Lutheran Church of Honolulu had been broken into — cash was taken out from the youth fundraiser, Punahou Carnival parking proceeds, and new computers were stolen. “Why would anyone want to steal from a church?” I asked.

And apparently church vandalism happens all over, and parishioners are left heartbroken, saddened that someone would do such terrible damage to their church. A New Jersey priest, Father Joseph Capella, said after his church was vandalized, “I was shocked and then—it’s kind of interesting, my thoughts immediately turned to the person who did it and I thought, what a shame. I wonder what’s going on in his or her life that they would take it out on the church.”

The interior of St. Andrew's Cathedral.

The interior of St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

According to one website I found, here are the reasons churches are often targeted by vandals and thieves:

Why Are Churches Often Targeted by Vandals and Thieves?

It’s hard to say why criminals do the things they do, but churches are often especially vulnerable to vandals and thieves because:

  • Churches often leave their doors open to all. Churches are supposed to be safe, welcoming havens, and the doors are often left unlocked so that members of the congregation can come and go as needed. Unfortunately, this can also offer an easy opportunity for thieves or vandals.
  • Vandals or thieves may hope to make a statement. It’s unfortunate, but some vandals may target churches hoping to make a political or social statement.
  • Church security may be more relaxed. Many churches trust their communities and don’t consider the need for strong locks, good lighting, or security cameras, and some criminals may take advantage of the low security.

As to St. Andrew’s Cathedral, I wondered, “What will happen to the Iolani Spring Concert,” I asked John Alexander. He replied, “No problem. Talked to them today; we’re good to go.”

Thankfully, there are professionals who can repair the damaged stained glass, matching the color and techniques used in the original glass. But what a shame this has happened.

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to school at the Cathedral

Iolani's spring concert is this Friday, May 13 at 7:30 pm at St. Andrew's Cathedral.

Iolani’s spring concert is this Friday, May 13 at 7:30 pm at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Last Sunday I found myself back in the Chorus Room at Iolani School doing, what else, accompanying the Iolani School Chorus and Hōkūloa Singers in rehearsal for their upcoming concert, “The Long and Winding Road,”  this Friday, May 13th at 7:30 pm, which will be held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It’s an opportunity to hear director John Alexander’s own composition, Mass in A, published by Colla Voce Music, which I will be accompanying on the Aeolian-Skinner organ. Other songs in Hawaiian, Latin, Japanese and even English will be sung, representing a variety of cultures, time periods and styles. Parking and admission are free.

The Iolani Chorus at last yearʻs concert.  If you look carefully, youʻll see me on the far right.

The Iolani Chorus at last yearʻs concert. If you click on the photo, youʻll see me on the far right.

Yes, I’m supposedly “retired,” but John has coaxed me out of retirement with an email which began, “Aloha! I know you are the State’s Busiest Organist, but . . . “ I was happy to say “yes.”

For twenty years I played for daily chapel services at Iolani School, a co-educational, college prep school for over 1800 students in grades K-12. Every Friday at 7:30 am I had a quick rehearsal with the Lower School Choir in preparation for their singing an anthem during the chapel service.

Pictured with John Alexander on our last chapel together with the Lower School Choir.

Pictured with John Alexander on our last chapel together with the Lower School Choir.

Here’s John’s bio: Originally from Homer, New York, John Starr Alexander has been teaching choral music at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i since 1982, during which time he has served as musical director, vocal director and/or pianist for dozens of musicals produced by various theatrical institutions around Honolulu.  He spent two years as a linguistics major at Georgetown University, and eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts and Literature from The George Washington University, also in Washington, D.C.  He has served as president and vice-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

John was a member of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir for 25 years and is now the cantor at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. For several years he was the choir director and pianist for the 8:00 am service at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.  He writes and arranges choral and instrumental music; and occasionally he can be seen playing piano and singing at various night spots around town.  His favorite pastimes are hiking and lei making, but his first love is composition.  

 

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Aloha and Welcome, Todd and Jennifer!

Todd and Jennifer are now in Hawaii!

Todd and Jennifer are now in Hawaii!

It all started with an inquiry to my Ionian Arts email account last January 28th, 2016: Dear Mrs. Crosier, I found your email address on the Ionian Arts website. I hope it is O.K. to contact you. My wife and I may be moving from Cape Cod MA to Honolulu in the coming months and I am trying to make musical contacts with people who might know of churches looking for organists/ directors of music, teaching opportunities in schools or any musical opportunities in early music performance. I am attaching my resume to give you an idea of my background. Please feel free to share with anyone who might be able to help.

And the next thing you know, four months later, Todd and Jennifer Beckham are my houseguests until the apartment I found for them is ready! You see I spent the last month scouring Craigslist, RentJungle, Zillow, HotPads and other housing rental websites looking for an apartment for the Beckhams in their preferred area. This included putting my email on alerts for new bookings, calling real estate companies, setting up appointments with real estate agents, and going onsite to take pictures to email back to them. It has taken a lot of energy, but it’s been so much fun. (Hmmm… a new career for me?)

Todd tried out my baby organ.

Todd tried out my baby organ.

Todd (countertenor) and Jennifer (soprano) have already sung several services with St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir since their arrival last Tuesday — his impressive resumé most recently included Organist/Director of Music of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Falmouth, MA; Countertenor chorister at First Church, Cambridge, MA; Conductor of the Meridian Singers at MIT; Harpsichord Tutor/Ensemble Coach at Harvard University. Todd graduated as an organ performance major from Youngstown State University, OH, and obtained a master of music in organ and harpsichord performance from Converse College, Spartanburg, SC. He also did postgraduate studies in choral conducting and sacred music from Boston University. As for singing, he was in Dame Emma Kirkby‘s masterclass at Dartington, UK in 2000 and 2002, and studied with Max van Egmond throughout 1982 to 2009 at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute.

Jennifer checked out all the varieties of Spam in Hawaii!

Jennifer checked out all the varieties of Spam in Hawaii!

Jennifer will be working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration office in Honolulu and is transferring from the NOAA office in Massachusetts. I found out that they met at Todd’s last church job — she joined the choir and started dating the choirmaster! They are essentially newlyweds and have only been married about a year.

Guess what! Todd and Jennifer are moving into an apartment in the very same building I live in! What fun it will be to be neighbors!

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Springtime in Provence

The Springtime in Provence menu

The Springtime in Provence menu

This blog supposedly has the underlying theme of music but sometimes I deviate to include travel, art, and today, food. For seventeen years, Chef George Mavrosalassitis, a James Beard winner whose Honolulu restaurant, Chef Mavro, has been awarded a five-diamond star rating for six years in a row, presented a dinner for supporters of Hawaii Public Radio. You remember that I was asked to speak on the radio last month during the fundraising campaign?

The restaurant normally has an elegant, subdued atmosphere, but  filled with 70 public radio fans who took over the whole restaurant, the noise was deafening, and you had to shout across the table to the strangers sitting with you. It was the last Chef Mavro dinner for HPR president Michael Titterton before he retires.

Dorado cure marinée

Dorado cure marinée. Extra virgin olive oil marinated day boat catch onaga, ogo, plum tomato, rainforest fiddlehead fern and country bread crouton.   Wine:   Wagner-Stemplel 2015 Pinot Blanc, Rheine

Espadon en croute de pommes de terre: island shutome with Yukon potato scales, roasted radicchio, Spanisg capers, beurre rouge. Wine: La Demarrante, 2014 vin de la vallée du paradise rouge.

Agneau roti

Agneau roti sur l’os and topinanbourg. Niman Ranch lamb loin roasted on the bone, sun choke and eggplant purée, niçoise olive crumbs, toasted sunflower seed, lamb jus. Wine: Baron Philippe de Rothschild, 2012 La capitale de Aron arques.

Gateau de fromage de chèvre frais

Gateau de fromage de chèvre frais. Hawaii island goat cheese cake, extra virgin olive oil gelée, roquette salad. Wine: Schloss lieser estate, 2012 Riesling, Mosel

Pre-Dessert.

Pre-Dessert: Honeydew melon in champagne gelée, fresh mint. My neighbor gave me hers since she was allergic to honeydew.

The real star of the evening, though, is the food, beautifully presented, each one a work of art in both taste and appearance. Chef Mavro described each course just before it was served, and then the wine sommelier described each wine. I tried to take a picture of the menu card but had difficulty getting all of it. I guess I should have used the panoramic option on my iPhone!

As I said before, I was seated at a table with people I had never seen before but we quickly started to make conversation. The woman sitting across from me was a real estate broker and her husband was a psychiatrist. Seated next to me was a woman who was one of the tireless HPR volunteers answering the phone to take your pledge. Over the course of the evening we talked about our devotion to public radio, our careers, our travels and our families.

Mille feuille de mange: Mango chi oust and coulis, almond phyllo crisp, chocolate crémeux, coconut powder, Hawaiian vanilla ice cream. Wine: Piazzo, 2013 Moscato d'asti.

Mille feuille de mange: Mango chiboust and coulis, almond phyllo crisp, chocolate crémeux, coconut powder, Hawaiian vanilla ice cream. Wine: Piazzo, 2013 Moscato d’asti.

Instead of presenting all my photos as a slideshow, you can view each one here and savor every delicious morsel. It is hard to say which one was my favorite! I was so proud of myself because I was brave enough to try all the wine pairings and believe it or not, I did not feel full afterwards, mostly because the dinner started at 6:30 and I did not return home until well after 10:00pm! At one point, my dinner companion looked at his watch and said, “Hmmm… Two hours have gone by and we have gone through only two courses!”

One tidbit I learned was that the second course, swordfish, is named “shutome” in Hawaiian cuisine, also called the mother-in-law fish. Chef Mavro said that the world over, in all languages, there are mother-in-law jokes but he declined to tell any. The woman who sat next to me guessed that it is called the mother-in-law fish because of its pointed snout, jabbing out at its victims. Heavens! I hope my daughter-in-law, Jessica, doesn’t think of me in this way!

With altogether six courses and five wines plus champagne,  we all guessed that the restaurant had a boatload of stemware to wash. Just at our table of four people, we used 24 glasses! It reminded me of the many parties that are held at The Marble Palace in the Sky (aka Chez Crosier) with so many pieces of stemware to wash afterwards. I told my dinner companions about Carl’s last Christmas dinner for our condo floor, a feast called The Twelve Tastes of Christmas, which had twelve courses. It took me three days afterwards to wash all the dishes!

At last night’s dinner, with each course we also got new silverware, either knife and fork, or fork and spoon. So there was a ton of silverware to wash, too. I’m assuming the restaurant has a high-capacity dishwasher!

All in all, it was a five-star evening, and all in support of Hawaii Public Radio, which has done so much for the classical music community. As I said on the radio, we who are in the smaller niches like organ and choral music, can always count on HPR to help publicize our events by airing interviews with our guest artists. Early Music Hawaii, the American Guild of Organists, and the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, have greatly benefited by having such a fine public radio station in our community.

Mignardises: Peanut brittle blonde, apricot pate de fruit, early grey chocolate pave.

Mignardises: Peanut brittle blondie, apricot pate de fruit, earl grey chocolate pave.

Two years ago was the last time I went to the Springtime in Provence dinner, and it was with my sister, Margo. People said that they noticed an uncanny resemblance!

With my sister Margo 2 years ago.

With my sister Margo 2 years ago.

 

 

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On This Day

For those of you who are Facebook users, you probably have seen the “On This Day” feature which is meant to spark nostalgia by highlighting content you posted to the site in years past. It pops up in your news feed and shows you photos and status updates you posted on the same calendar day a year or more ago.

Betsy treated us to dinner at the Pacific Club.

Betsy treated us to dinner at the Pacific Club.

Last night I had a lovely dinner at the Pacific Club with Betsy McCreary, Karl Bachman and John Mount (thank you, Betsy!) and I thought to myself, here we are, four singles and three of us are widowed meaning that we carry our loved ones in our hearts always. I came home and checked my Facebook page, and what came up was this picture I had posted two years ago of Peter Hallock and Carl Crosier.

Carl Crosier and Peter Hallock at the 100th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu (2000)

Carl Crosier and Peter Hallock at the 100th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu (2000)

You see, it was two years ago today that we bid farewell to our longtime friend, mentor and business partner, composer Peter Hallock (November 19, 1924 – April 27, 2014) who died of congestive heart failure.

“Peter has died!”  I came home to find Carl sobbing and absolutely inconsolable at the loss of this man who had been such an inspiration to his work as a church musician over a nearly forty-year span.

Peter and Carl spent many hours solving all the world's problems.

Peter and Carl spent many hours solving all the world’s problems.

At St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle, where Peter's remains lie.

At St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, where Peter’s remains lie.

Jason Anderson, who was Peter’s successor as the director of the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s Cathedral Seattle, posted this picture today of the niche in St. Mark’s Cathedral where some of Peter’s ashes are interred. In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto Thy departed servant Peter and make his memory to be eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!

Here is a recording of Peter’s composition, “Peace”, sung by the Compline Choir. From the album, Night Music: Music for Men’s Voices by Peter Hallock.

Peter, you and your music will never be forgotten!

 

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Ethereal Masterworks

 

Oahu Choral Society

Oahu Choral Society

It was about a month ago that I attended the Oahu Choral Society fundraiser, “Vivace,” which celebrated that organization’s 20th anniversary. Originally it was formed as the Honolulu Symphony Chorus under the direction of Sydney Rothstein, who was the Assistant Conductor of the Honolulu Symphony. In 1995 it reorganized as an independent non-profit entity called the Oahu Choral Society. It’s the same organization that honored Carl Crosier in 2012 for his contributions to the choral community of Honolulu.

1420602918I found out recently from Pamela Eliashof, who spoke at the dinner about the history of OCS, that she “neglected to mention that it was Carl who helped OCS get started since we had to apply for our 501(c)(3) status under the umbrella of another organization (namely the AGO) and he was a great help to us during the application process. Also, during my 18 year tenure as Treasurer of  OCS, I had occasion to ask his advice several times. He was always so helpful to me. We all miss him and the beautiful music he made.” 

You see, for years and years, we would see Pam and her husband, Dr. Byron Eliashof, at the Christmas Eve services and concerts at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu because they are classical music lovers. They also were the former neighbors of retired Pastor Donald Johnson before  he moved to the windward side.

Anton Bruckner, 1824-1896

Anton Bruckner, 1824-1896

This Friday, April 29 at 7:30 pm, I’ll be attending the Oahu Choral Society’s spring concert called “Ethereal Masterworks,” featuring the Mass in E minor by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) with members of the Hawai’i Symphony, and the Mass in E-flat major by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) which will be sung a cappella. Esther Yoo will conduct the OCS in addition to a newly-formed Chamber Choir.

I was surprised to read this sentence in the Vivace program: We are carving our own future and are looking forward to the first performance by a chorus in Hawai’i of Bruckner’s Mass No. 2 in E Minor next month. 

Not so! Carl Crosier conducted the Bruckner E-Minor Mass at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on March 18, 2001 with the combined choirs of St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Lutheran Church of Honolulu.  Anton Bruckner, an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses and motets, sets the Ordinary of the Mass for eight-part mixed choir and wind band. The work was commissioned for the dedication of the Votive Chapel of Linz Cathedral, which took place on September 29, 1869.

You ought to read this article in The Guardian titled “Sex, death and dissonance: the strange, obsessive world of Anton Bruckner.” Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite: There’s no doubt Anton Bruckner was an oddball, a man with an unhealthy interest in dead bodies and teenage girls. But the composer’s obsessions and terrors also gave us some astonishing music. A credulous yokel who propositioned girls half his age. A death-obsessed ghoul who kept a photo of his mother’s corpse. A cranky, backwards-looking obsessive. The composer of some of the 19th century’s greatest, grandest and most ambitious symphonies. Anton Bruckner was all of these things. One thing he wasn’t, however, was a writer of beautiful music offering serene escapism.

Anyway, this Friday’s concert will take place at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 N. School Street. You might remember it was Carl Crosier who paved the way for concerts at this venue when he scheduled the Monteverdi Vespers there in 2010. Ever since, St. Theresa’s has been the site for concerts by Early Music Hawaii, Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble and other musical groups. Its reverberant cathedral acoustics greatly enhance the performance of sacred music. Go back and re-read my post: “The church as a concert venue” when I wrote about hearing the Verdi Requiem in this beautiful space, which Carl proclaimed as “the best acoustical space in all of Honolulu.”

Tickets may be purchased in advance on the Oahu Choral Society website.

Upcoming concert for the Oahu Choral Society

Upcoming concert for the Oahu Choral Society

 

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