Yesterday was All Saints Sunday and I spent nearly the entire day at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It all started with a 7:15 am rehearsal with the Hawaiian choir, and ended with a reception after the 5:30 pm Evensong — all for the purpose of “learning the ropes” for November 16, when I will be playing four services to substitute for John Renke. Sadly I couldn’t help but remember that it was exactly one year ago that Carl Crosier announced his retirement from St. Andrew’s Priory after twenty-eight years as its business manager and chief financial officer. Who would have guessed that one year later he would have joined the choir of angels?
At last night’s reception to honor donors to the Cathedral music program, John Renke announced that a new CD of the choir is now available, containing live performances of the Advent and Christmas choral music sung at last year’s services.
I was particularly touched when John said that printed inside the booklet is the dedication “in memory of our friend and fellow chorister, Carl Crosier 1945-2014,” and of course, Carl is part of the choir on the recording. John said that after 38 years at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, Carl took a countertenor position in the Cathedral choir. I remember it was at the Early Music Hawaii concert called “Oratorio,” John asked Carl if he could join the choir the next Sunday.
“What part do you want me to sing?” Carl asked.
“Can you sing second soprano?!” John replied. “All my second sopranos are out of town!” (Yikes!)
November 1st is All Saints Day in the liturgical calendar, but in Mexico, November 2nd is a Mexican holiday called “Day of the Dead,” where the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Prior to the 16th century, it used to take place in the beginning of summer, but after Spanish colonization, it was moved to October 31, creating a three-day Triduum festival: All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day.
I really didn’t know too much about this holiday, until my new daughter-in-law, Jessica Crosier, posted the following picture on her FaceBook page.
On a website devoted to Day of the Dead, I learned that altars are built to honor the lives of those who have passed. Traditionally every family in Mexico builds an altar on the days leading up to November 1. On top of the altar, offerings are laid out for the dead. These are items that the spirits will enjoy when they come back to earth to visit their living families and friends.
Typical of a Day of the Dead altar, are candles, marigolds (which symbolize death), incense, salt (representing the continuance of life), a photo of the deceased, sugar skulls (as symbols of death and the afterlife), fresh fruit and other seasonal foods. As you can see by the picture above, it contains some of Carl’s favorite things: his Art of the Cocktail recipe book with a classic martini on the front, his cocktail shaker, tasting menu cookbooks, and macadamia nuts.
Now that I know about this holiday, I’ll send Stephen and Jessica a picture of Carl for next year’s celebration.