Last week we publicly said ‘aloha’ to the Gorman family, who have moved to Houston, TX where Mike will be working for the Houston Symphony as a personnel manager. Pastor Jeff told of their tremendous involvement in the musical life of LCH, then Carl Crosier got up and presented the first of what he called “The Diva Awards” to Vicki Gorman for her contributions to the LCH choir soprano section. I forgot to mention in an earlier post that Mike also spent some time in the bass section of the choir!
Lo and behold, we were surprised and delighted by the presence of Hal and Debbie Behnke, visiting from Georgia, on the same Sunday! Carl said he would have given another of the Diva awards to Debbie, who was the anchor of the LCH soprano section in the early years. Hal was on the LCH Property Committee and did so much physical labor on behalf of LCH. Hal and Debbie first met each other in, of all places, the LCH courtyard. In fact, this is what Debbie wrote:
You have a good memory – much better than me! Hal and I did meet at LCH. Hal was stationed at Hickam AFB and I had decided that since I was old (27) and single, I might as well live in a beautiful place. I had just packed a bag and moved to HI by myself – on July 7, 1977. The interesting part is that Hal and I were raised and lived 20 miles apart on Long Island, NY! On July 8, 1978 Hal and I were married on Long Island where both our families could attend. After we left HI, we moved to New Jersey, Germany (where Heidi joined us) and then CA where Hal retired and became a teacher. We moved to mainland Japan where we were both educators for DoD, then Okinawa and now GA. Of course, we are hoping to add one more overseas location to the list. LOL It’s been a wild ride…..but HI still wins as our favorite 🙂
Carl and I had to take a quick trip to California to take care of some family business, and I said earlier that you can’t go anywhere without running into someone you know. In the LAX airport, we saw Heidi Hammel (!) on her way to Mauna Kea on the Big Island to do some astronomy work. Heidi sang alto in the LCH choir in addition to leading and playing guitar in the 8am ensemble.
Here’s what Heidi wrote back to explain how she came to LCH and what she’s been doing in the ensuing years.
I came to Hawaii in 1982 to attend graduate school in astronomy. I joined LCH almost immediately because the moment my very first office mate Dana Backman found out I could sing and was raised Lutheran, he picked up the phone that very second and called Carl, telling him he had found a new choir member! I actually led the music part of the contemporary worship service for quite a while: selecting the music, organizing rehearsals, leading the music part of the 8 am service. Then I would stay to sing with the choir at the 10:30 service. Long Sunday mornings at LCH! I finished my PhD in 1988, and returned to the mainland. I am still a professional astronomer, and come back to Hawaii often to the telescopes on Mauna Kea. This trip, I am using the Keck 2 telescope to study the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune, to better understand their seasonal climate changes. Hope to get back for the Bach….
We are soon going to officially announce the music, repertoire and rehearsal schedule for Carl’s last season at LCH. We invite all former choristers to join us for any or all of this season!