We’re gearing up for our next concert, an all-Mozart program on October 1st and 2nd, and it reminded me of how much we rely upon volunteers in our program. At the beginning of this week, the classy Mozart postcards, which Miguel Felipe so quickly designed — arrived, setting in motion the next series of actions. It led to an email conversation with the church office to print out mailing labels and a message to Vreni Griffith, one of our valuable volunteers who is a member of the LCH Concert Committee and has taken charge of the postcard mailings.
Vreni (pronounced fray-nee) hails from Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, where she grew up and began music lessons at an early age. She emigrated to Hawaii in 1963 with husband, George Griffith, and enrolled at the University of Hawaii. Being Swiss, she was already fluent in several languages, but she became a Spanish student at UH. Circumstances led her to matriculate from San Jose State University in 1970, then she returned to Hawaii in 1970 where she became the organist at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
She started attending Abendmusiken concerts at LCH and when she retired from St. George’s, auditioned to become a soprano in the LCH choir in 1996. Carl Crosier first put her in the second soprano section, but once when I stood next to her and heard her voice, convinced Carl to move her up to first soprano.
Every summer Vreni returns to Switzerland to stay with her cousin in Zurich, and uses it as her base from which she travels and attends many music festivals in neighboring countries. An “early music junkie,” she especially is a fan of early music soprano Emma Kirkby and usually manages to attend several of Emma’s concerts each summer. While we were attending a festival in Wye, England, she introduced us to Emma backstage. On at least four of our European trips, we have met up with Vreni and let me tell you, it’s great to have her as our personal, multi-lingual travel guide. Not only has she visited many major European cities as well as small towns and knows all the tourist attractions, she is fluent in the major European languages, whether it be German, or French, or Spanish, or Italian. I think I’ve also heard her speak a little Japanese, as she worked for awhile in the Hawaii tourist industry.
She is a brave soul to deal with bulk mail at the airport post office, as their rules and regulations change constantly. It’s almost like a moving target! But each time, she and I are both relieved when the mail is accepted and we can move on to the next phase in the concert production.
Thank you, Vreni, for your invaluable support of the music program! (And for being such a good friend, too!)