No, I’m not talking about music from the past such as Bach and Mendelssohn — I’m referring to the actual sheet music from the past. On Saturday the LCH choir began rehearsals on Handel’s Israel in Egypt which is scheduled for February 16th at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The musical scores they are using looked ancient and had been in the LCH choir library for years so I asked Carl Crosier where they came from.
“Oh, they came from House of Music and John Murphy,” Carl answered.
Long-time Hawaii residents may remember the House of Music store which actually started in a location in Waikiki in 1949, then moved to the bottom of the escalators at Ala Moana Center, just across from Centerstage. The store was started by John Murphy, who also conducted the now long-defunct Honolulu Oratorio Society. The House of Music was sold to C. Robert Clarke in 1977, and it just so happened choral scores of Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Mass in B minor were kept in a storeroom. When Carl Crosier was hired as the Controller of House of Music in 1977, he rescued those scores from the dump and took them to the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, thinking perhaps that the church could get some use out of them.
I was looking all over the internet for the old House of Music logo, but couldn’t find it, so I’ll show you the Christmas ornament I made in 1977 to celebrate Carl’s then-new job with them. Out of 26 applicants, Carl was chosen because he had the unique combination of a degree in accounting and a degree in music.
The House of Music was sold by Bob Clarke in the 90s to J.R.’s Music Shops, and in its heyday, there were 18 stores, including two on Guam, but they kept the House of Music name because of its long history here. After that there were a succession of owners until 2001 when a retail music store became an anachronism in an age of downloadable music, and the House of Music closed forever.
Does anyone else remember the listening booths at House of Music, where you could listen to a record before buying it?