When I reflect on the years that Carl Crosier has been at LCH, I certainly have to mention Edith Ho, now retired from the Church of the Advent in Boston.
We first heard the name Edith Ho when a friend played us a recording of the Church of the Advent Choir. We were stunned to hear the gorgeous tone of the sopranos in this choir and wondered who the director was.
It was not until 1991 that we made a trip to Boston and heard the choir live. The choir was even more beautiful in person than the recordings, owing to the high ceiling and wonderful acoustics of the building. But at that time, we left the service without introducing ourselves.
When Carl was granted the sabbatical in 1992, one of the places he wanted to revisit was Church of the Advent. He wrote to Edith and enclosed our CD of Compline for Christmas Day. When she found out that one of the selections was Carl singing a solo, she not only invited him to stay at her house, but also to join the choir for Holy Week and Easter. Later she telephoned him to sing alto on the choir’s 10-day tour of Venezuela, following Easter. I have to smile now, because Carl said to her, “I have to ask my wife first!” and I told him, “You call her back right now and say ‘YES!'”
Carl took a redeye flight from Honolulu, arriving in Boston in the early afternoon on the Thursday before Palm Sunday. Tired from lack of sleep, and having to struggle with rolling his luggage over Boston’s cobblestone streets, he got to the rehearsal and thought “What am I doing here?!” as the choir is seated in quartets. That means that you are not sitting next to anyone singing the same part.
Carl found that Edith is completely committed to the craft of church music. The rehearsals are planned to the minute, and there is no wasted time. Her expectations are that choristers know the music before they come to rehearsal. Her precise conducting leaves no doubt as to entrances, cutoffs and shapes of the musical phrases. Edith records every rehearsal and reviews them at home, making notes in the score as to weaknesses and areas needing further rehearsal. Every service is also recorded, and she makes notes in the score for the next time the work is performed. She constantly listens to recordings and learns new music.
Upon returning home, Carl adopted many of the same rehearsal techniques and strategies he learned from Edith. We have since visited Boston more than a dozen times and Carl has sung with the Advent Choir every time. Edith has become a dear, close friend and even visited us twice in Hawaii, staying in our home.
When she retired from the Advent in 2007, we were there for her final service and brought her a lei from Hawaii.