After dinner at the party last night, it was time for the choir to thank Carl for his inspiration and leadership at LCH for 38 years. Jean Geil, alto, wrote and sang verses in honor of our choir directors:
(Tune: March of the Three Kings)
Allen, our friend, deserves our praise today,
About twenty years of psalms and anthems,
Tenor or alto, Whatever Carl says,
And trumpet soloist on festive Sundays.
(Tune: When Johnny comes Marching Home again):
Carl ends his brilliant tenure here, farewell, farewell
So give a cheer as we shed a tear, farewell, farewell,
Thirty-eight years of J. S. Bach, Handel and Mozart and Peter Hallock,
Go, with heartfelt thanks from your friends both far and near.
One by one, choristers stood up and expressed their gratitude to Carl for encouraging them to sing in the choir. Larry Nitz, bass, said that although he was not the best musician or music reader, Carl welcomed him into the group. Jim Cartwright, tenor, first came to LCH by attending an Abendmusiken concert and immediately felt right at home; in fact, the choir and the whole congregation has become his family. Naomi Castro, soprano, called the experience of singing in the choir an “exhilarating ride.” Nedra Walker said Carl didn’t need her as a singer, but she needed the choir, for its weekly spiritual inspiration, and Carl let her stay. Rachel Lentz, soprano, met Carl at a party when she moved back to Hawaii and was grateful to find a place to sing. Not only that, but in the six years she has sung with the choir, she has learned an enormous amount of repertoire. Georgine Stark, soprano, auditioned for another choir and was turned down, so when she auditioned for Carl, she too was grateful for a place to sing. She thanked Carl for expanding her repertoire (Georgine has sung most of the works listed on the T-Shirt!) Ulrike Scherer, alto, first became acquainted with LCH when her daughter sang in the children’s choir at the St. Matthew Passion. When her husband died and her daughter moved away, she was looking for a musical home and found it in the LCH choir. Honestly, so many people stood up and gave their kudos to Carl that you would have thought you were at an old-fashioned revival meeting with people standing up and giving their testimony.
Only John Bickel (officiant at Compline), confessed that he’s the only person whom Carl did not encourage to join the choir (because he considers himself a monotone), but he thanked Carl as a grateful listener.
Pastor Jeff said that when introducing himself for the first time, “I’m Jeff Lilley and I’m the pastor of Lutheran Church of Honolulu,” people would always respond, “Oh, that’s the music church!” He said it was the only congregation he knew of which was shaped not by its pastor, but by its cantor.
When Carl said that he would dearly miss seeing everyone in the choir as he would be staying away from LCH services for a year, (to give the new guy a chance to make his own mark) Rachel Lentz said, “But can you come back to cook for us?!” In fact, when I showed Miguel Felipe the recreation deck at our condo where we have had choir parties, he asked if we would be willing to continue. “Sure, why not — but let’s ask Carl.” And when I asked Carl, he said “Sure, why not — I’ll still be your spouse!”
As a “choir widow” for more than thirty years, Jeanne Castello suggested that she and Carl get together for a drink on upcoming Thursday nights. We’ll see about that !