All Saints was last weekend, but it has turned out to be an entire week of remembrance. All week long at Iolani chapel services, students and faculty were invited to bring pictures of their loved ones to be displayed and candles were lit in their memory.
Bob Kane, who was last week’s speaker, spoke again: There is a story told by the great violinist Itzhak Perlman. As it so happened, he was playing a concert when, suddenly, without warning, there was a loud POP! A string on his violin snapped, and Perlman abruptly stopped playing. The crowd expected this great violinist to step off stage momentarily to restring his instrument. But, much to their amazement, Perlman motioned to the conductor to begin the movement again. Then, through sheer genius and determination, he proceeded to play the entire length of the piece on only three strings! The audience was stunned by his masterful performance. They rose in spontaneous and continuous applause that was eventually silenced by Perlman’s simple phrase, “The challenge in life is to make music from what remains.”
When the acolytes got up to share candlelight, it was perhaps the first time — maybe ever — that I was able to take part in a candlelighting ceremony. That’s because so often I have to play music throughout, and never get to hold the candle myself. This time, though, we had guest harpist, Connie Uejio, play while the light was distributed, and then we were all instructed to sit in silence for about five minutes, and reflect upon moments we remember with our loved ones. I had the image of Carl working his magic in the kitchen, and then sitting in his favorite chair. I imagined Carl trying to speak to me through the flame of that candle. What a powerful act this was — I didn’t know that I could be so moved! Chaplain Nicole Simopoulos then added “When our loved ones die, they leave behind a light in our hearts.”
A couple of days ago, Jason Anderson, director of the Compline Choir in Seattle, released the latest podcast from last Sunday night’s service, and noted that “Two names added to our necrology this year: Peter Hallock and Carl Crosier. Enjoy this podcast. I certainly enjoyed conducting it and meditating on the loss of this past year.” If you would like to listen to the podcast, click here.
Then just yesterday, I received an email announcing that the latest Region 4 newsletter has been posted on the website of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. On page 11 was an announcement of Carl Crosier’s passing, which you can read here. The editor posted a picture of him which I had never seen before, of Carl assisting The Rev. Susan Briehl at the ALCM Biennial Conference in 2009.
Last night I played the choir rehearsal at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church — and I really had a sense of déjà vu! It has been forty-one years since I was organist/director of that church; my first church job in Hawaii! Keane Ishii, the present choir director, introduced me to the choir, and mentioned that my husband, Carl, had recently passed away. Bob Nelson, one of the choir members, came up to me after the rehearsal to offer his condolences. He had worked with Carl on a number of projects.
So in many ways, I’m keeping on keeping on, trying to make music from what remains.