While I was in Seattle, I got a call from Manny Dayao whom I know from Iolani School, but who was calling in his capacity as Lay Associate for Worship and Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. “Kathy, are you available to play at St. Peter’s next Sunday?” meaning May 25th. Knowing that I would be reunited with the former Iolani School Chaplain, Diane Martinson, I readily said ‘yes.’ Manny replied, “Thanks so much, Kathy. I feel like I’m calling in Babe Ruth to bat for me!”
Pastor Diane has recently been called to serve as Rector of St. Peter’s, a parish which was founded by Chinese immigrants to Hawaii. One of their stained glass windows depicts the former clergy of the church, whom you can see are all Chinese.
I will be playing both the 7:30 am and 10:00 am services; the small choir will sing at the second service which I will “conduct.” (I put “conduct” in quotation marks because all I will be able to do is nod my head here and there!)
St. Peter’s organist, Leohone Magno, will be taking a 10-week leave of absence so that’s why I’ll be playing this Sunday. You may recall from a post I wrote a long time ago that Leohone is a talented artist whose painting I once saw in a gallery at Aloha Tower Marketplace. You can view below her striking painting of two children at the piano with the spirit images of Queen and King of Hawaii in the background. Here’s her description of the work: This painting is my tribute to Queen Emma… Hawai’i’s remarkable and beloved humanitarian who became so instrumental in the founding of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Priory, ‘Iolani School, St. Cross School on Maui (no longer in existence) and the Queen’s Medical Center.
The physical setting is one of the front rooms of the Queen Emma’s Summer Palace on the Pali Highway. In the lefthand corner of the painting hangs the well-known painting of Prince Albert, only son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. The little prince died at the young age of four. Against the light filtering through the shutters, is the spirit image of Alexander Liholiho, Kamehameha IV, who passed away a year later before his thirtieth birthday. To the side of the piano is the spirit image of Queen Emma, her hand resting on the piano as if in approval of the children’s music.
After a period of grieving the loss of her loved ones, the young Queen emerged stronger and more resolute in pursuing the goals she had shared with her husband. In the foreground sits the piano that the Queen purchased in Germany in 1866 in her travels to procure funding for St. Andrew’s Cathedral. She perpetuated her belief that the culture would only survive through the education of the children and, to that end, loaned her piano for the purpose of teaching. She continued to work tirelessly to promote the Hawaiian culture until her death in 1885 at the age of forty-nine.
In the vase beneath the painting of the young prince are pink roses, the Queen’s favorite flower. She had found great solace in her gardening, especially her rose bushes.
To me, the painting is so striking because it reminds me of all the people who have trained me and supported me in my career — my teachers and my parents, who are now all “in the shadows.”
And now, I’m Babe Ruth!