Exactly one week ago, Carl and I flew to Maui, where I performed a recital on the newly-restored Oberlinger organ at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kula. You must understand that Kula is a teeny-tiny town on the slopes of Haleakala (upcountry), far away from the tourist towns of Kihei and Lahaina. You have to drive many miles up the mountain ’round many curves in the road.
So it was to my surprise and delight that the church was absolutely full for my concert! It seems like every organist on the island was there, in addition to several choir directors, plus parishioners and others who came as far as Wailuku and Kihei. Others wanted to come, but were unable to because of conflicts and bought tickets anyway.
When I planned the program, I was very mindful of the fact that I was playing an 11-stop organ. I wanted to show off the different colors of the organ, even though they would be limited. I also took into consideration that this is the season of Lent, and that this might be the first organ recital some people might attend. So I planned an “easy listening” program which was as follows:
Trumpet Voluntary (John Stanley)
From Suite du Deuxième Ton (Louis-Nicolas Clérambault)
[Duo • Flutes • Récit de Nazard • Caprice]
From the Great Eighteen Chorales: (J. S. Bach)
• Nun danket alle Gott (Now thank we all our God)
• Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (Come now, Savior, of the heathen)
• Komm, heiliger Geist (Come, holy Spirit)
Aria (Flor Peeters)
Three American Hymn Preludes:
• God of grace and God of glory (Paul Manz)
• Let us break bread together (Dale Wood)
• Pisgah (Dale Wood)
Rubrics: The peace may be exchanged (Dan Locklair)
Through the night of doubt and sorrow (arr. Carl Schalk) – EBENEZER
Encore: Jesu, joy of man’s desiring (J. S. Bach)
Because I knew the sole reed stop (a Rohrschalmei) was very small, I invited a local trumpeter to play with me, Cody Sarmiento, on three pieces: the Trumpet Voluntary, the Peeters Aria, and descants on the final hymn concerto, to give some additional color to the overall program. The program is probably not one I’d play in Honolulu, but I felt the Maui people really responded to it. I was even more glad about my programming when I read this article on Michael Johnston’s blog today, “What is Wrong with Our Organ Programs.” Once I went to a workshop on trying to get more people to organ concerts, and this is what I remember: Don’t play EGO music! (Eyes Glazed Over)
You know what my favorite part of the program was? Playing Carl Schalk’s hymn concerto on EBENEZER, and listening to those people absolutely raise the roof with their hearty singing! I guess that’s one of the things I miss about not playing for church on Sundays—playing on a beautiful organ while supporting the congregation to raise their voices in song.
And you should have seen all the food at intermission! A huge spread of sandwiches, salads, cheese and crackers, cookies, desserts of all kinds — it was such a bounty of food and shared with such love and aloha.
Thanks to St. John’s organist, Clayton Logue, and to The Rev. Kerith Harding, rector, for inviting me. I had a great time!