The word “aloha” can have several meanings. In Hawaii, it’s common to use the word as a greeting, meaning either ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye.’ For example, on September 1st we said ‘Aloha’ to Miguel Felipe, our new Director of Music and Liturgy, when he joined the LCH staff. In that case, ‘aloha’ means ‘welcome.’
This coming Sunday, however, we will be bidding “Aloha” to Allen Bauchle, our assistant choirmaster for the last twenty years. (Wow, time sure flies when you’re having fun!) ‘Aloha’ in this sense means ‘farewell,’ as Allen will no longer be on the LCH payroll as of November 1st. He has stayed on since Carl Crosier retired in August to ease the transition to Miguel Felipe, when the personnel structure changed, eliminating the positions of assistant choirmaster and leader/pianist of the 8 am service.
A lot of people were unaware of Allen’s invaluable contributions to the LCH music program, but they included assisting in the conducting duties, helping to plan music, orchestrating hymns for festival services, cataloguing the music library, playing the trumpet at a moment’s notice, putting out the music each week, and a whole host of other tasks. Carl Crosier called him ‘his right arm,’ and to be sure, he will be sorely missed. You may recall that I wrote a post about Allen during Holy Week last spring, which you can re-read by clicking here. It tells the story of how Allen came to be the assistant, his background and experience in teaching in three Lutheran schools on Oahu.
Today happens to be my birthday, and I also want to say that Allen has always remembered my birthday for many, many years now with a card and a gift certificate. I’m sure it was he who put the bug in Miguel’s ear yesterday to have the choir sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me during the rehearsal.
Carl Crosier will break his self-imposed exile from LCH by attending Sunday’s service on October 30th to say a few words on Allen’s behalf. Carl has been staying away “to give the new guy a chance,” a situation which happens when someone (usually, a pastor) has been in a position for a long time. In case you’re wondering, Carl has been attending the Saturday night mass at St. Theresa’s Co-Cathedral, where former LCH intern, Bill Kunisch, is the rector.
Anyway, what will be a little unusual is that we will say farewell to Allen on October 30th, but then the very next Sunday, November 6th, he will be substituting for Miguel Felipe who will be away in Colorado. In fact, Allen will be subbing for Miguel quite a few times during this next year when Miguel will be off island.
So we really won’t be saying ‘goodbye’ to Allen after all! What a relief!