Lately, a number of people have come up to us with the question, “How is retirement?” And I have to tell people that both my husband Carl and I are still performing music, but the big difference is that we are not in charge anymore! That means we don’t need to do any planning, organizing, or recruiting! Both of us were involved with Christmas programs over the weekend and both happened at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
On Friday night, I was the organ accompanist for the 124-member Iolani Chorus. Even though this is my nineteenth year as the Chapel Organist, it was the first time I accompanied the large chorus at St. Andrew’s Cathedral with John Alexander directing. (Previously, John McCreary accompanied the large chorus, until his death last spring. See my post about his funeral by clicking here.) I must admit I had a blast playing the four-manual Aeolian-Skinner organ!
Earlier in the school year, I played Sowerby’s Benedictus es Domine at the Thanksgiving Chapel. We repeated the Thanksgiving anthem as the opening work of the Christmas concert, which I understand is a tradition of Iolani Chorus concerts. In addition to playing settings of Christmas carols: In the bleak midwinter (Holst); Torches, torches (Joubert); and Unto us a boy is born (Willcocks), I accompanied John McCreary’s Missa Puer Natus on the organ. What was interesting about the setup was that I had a video monitor mounted on the organ console in order to follow the conductor. I believe this is the first time ever I have had such a video monitor during a concert, and it worked remarkably well. In the picture to the right, you can see my view of the director, John Alexander. If you click the picture, you’ll see even a better view.
Then Sunday afternoon, Carl sang with the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir in their annual Carol concert. The Cathedral was absolutely packed for this outstanding program, conducted by John Renke and accompanied by Brian McCarthy. The concert included music by Franz Biebl, Gustav Holst, David Hurd, Hector Berlioz, Cole Thomason-Redus, Maurice Besly, Jeffrey Goodsite, Charles Callahan, Hugh Mackinnon, John Rutter, and Buddy Naluai’s arrangement of Silent Night.