By my calculations, it has been two weeks since I’ve touched an organ keyboard. We have been on the mainland visiting family and I have to say that music and playing the organ, or even writing this blog, for that matter, have been the farthest things from my mind. So what have I been doing? Knitting an afghan for my son, for one thing. I’m guessing that it has been twenty-some years since I’ve knit anything. The last knitting project I worked on was a baby afghan in anticipation of the birth of Naomi Castro, who is of course now all grown up! Unfortunately I never finished the one for Naomi, so Carl was amazed that I remembered how to knit at all after so many years. It took me only five days, but I did indeed finish the one for my son.
We have also been doing a lot of cooking, cleaning and entertaining. We had long-time friend, Dana Marsh, and his sister over for lunch one day. Dana, as you may remember, is the canon organist and church musician at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis and is visiting his family, all of whom live here in Southern California. Dana has come to Hawaii several times, and has been able to collaborate with us on a number of musical projects. One was an unforgettable “dueling counter-tenor” concert with Carl Crosier in the courtyard at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. (Check out my post here.) And the last time he was in Hawaii was in 2002 when he conducted the LCH choir in a Bach cantata. We found out that we have some new friends in common: Simon Crookall, who is now the Executive Director of the Hawaii Opera Theatre, was formerly the Senior Warden at Christ Cathedral in Indianapolis, and was part of the team which hired Dana as the cathedral musician. Now Carl sees Simon and his partner, Stephen, every week as they all sing in the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir together.
On New Year’s Day, Carl cooked a traditional turkey dinner for my family, and it was around the dinner table that I brought up the fact that I hadn’t touched an organ keyboard and was wondering whether I would remember how to play it when I get back to Hawaii. My brother Jim commented, “It’s like riding a bicycle — once you learn how to do it, you never forget it!” My cousin, Mary Au, then told us that she even took a ten-year hiatus from playing the piano — and she is a professional accompanist for chamber groups in the Los Angeles area. And you may remember from posts I wrote about my mother, Dorothy Au, that she stopped playing the piano for sixty years then took it up again in earnest when she retired from practicing medicine.
Come Monday morning when I have to play the organ for Iolani chapel, we’ll see if I’ve forgotten how to play!