Sooner or later, nearly everyone gets to Hawaii. We’ve said that for family, friends, relatives, and organists. We at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu are especially fortunate to have hosted some of the great organists of the world, and I’m positive that what put us on the map is the presence of the Beckerath organ.
Last week we had lunch with Frederick Swann, who is quite possibly the most famous organist in the world. Although he didn’t come to the church this particular time, in the past he brought the choir from the Crystal Cathedral (where he was once organist) to Compline when they were on tour to Hawaii. I think that night there were 180 people in the congregation and it was the biggest attendance Compline has ever seen! Fred was the past president of the American Guild of Organists and spent his career at three churches: Riverside Church in New York City, the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, and the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles. He was seen by millions on the ‘Hour of Power’ broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral.
Other notable organists who have signed our guest book include Marie-Claire Alain (Paris, France), Robert Anderson (Southern Methodist University), Bruce Bengtson (Luther Memorial, Madison, WI), Roberta Bitgood (former AGO President), J. Melvin Butler (St. Mark’s, Seattle), David Dahl (Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma), Jonathan Dimmock (San Francisco), Fenner Douglass (Oberlin Conservatory), Michael Dudman (Sydney Opera House, Australia), Peter Hallock (St. Mark’s, Seattle), Gerre Hancock (St. Thomas, New York), Hans Hielscher (Wiesbaden, Germany), James Holloway (Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma), Paul Jacobs (Juilliard, New York), Joyce Jones (Baylor University, Texas), Marilyn Mason (University of Michigan), Richard Proulx (Holy Name, Chicago), Thomas Murray (Yale), Cherry Rhodes (USC), McNeil Robinson (New York City), John Rose (Connecticut), Wolfgang Rubsam (Illinois), Richard Slater (California), Ladd Thomas (USC), Harald Vogel (Bremen, Germany), and Lynn Zeigler (Iowa State University).
By the way, one famous organist who came to Hawaii, but who did not come to LCH (because it was before 1975 when the Beckerath was installed), was Catharine Crozier, from Eastman School of Music. She was a world-class organist, one of the finest in the world, who played many recital tours and made many recordings. I knew that when I married Carl Crosier, there would be some confusion between us. I actually got to meet her in person, after she had retired to Portland, and we had our picture taken together. I’ve been told many times, “I heard you play on the radio,” or “I have your recordings”, confusing me with The Real Catharine Crozier. What was so amazing, was that when I finally met her, she said some people had come to her concerts, thinking it was me! After that, I referred to myself as “The Other Katherine Crosier.”
Catharine Crozier has now gone on to her reward in heaven.