The last three days, I’ve participated or attended four different events and the common thread in all of them is the organ — (naturally!)
On Saturday afternoon, there was the Children’s Benefit Concert at LCH, and I’m happy to report that all the children performed admirably. We heard music for piano, trumpet, violin, cello, voice, drum, and of course, organ! I was especially proud of my two organ students, both of whom had excellent performances. I had no reason to be so nervous! I couldn’t help but think, however, that the whole tradition of children’s benefit concerts was started during Carl’s tenure at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. How pleased he would have been at the musical progress of these children!
Just an hour later, I was at the Honolulu International Club at Vivace! the fundraiser for the Oahu Choral Society honoring colleague organist/choirmaster John Renke. If you remember, it was just three short years ago that Carl Crosier was the recipient of the Dale R. Noble award, in recognition of his contribution to choral music in Hawaii. Sadly, since 2005 when Dale Noble was honored, five of the eleven recipients of this award have died: Dale Noble, Robert S. Hines, John McCreary, Carl Crosier and Joseph McAlister. John said he was most humbled to have been given the reward, since all the other recipients have been long-time residents of Hawaii while he is a relative newcomer, having only lived here for eight years. Before becoming Organist and Director of Music of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in 2007, John, a native San Franciscan, had been thoroughly involved in the musical life of the Bay Area. He held positions in some of San Francisco’s most prestigious churches, including Grace Cathedral, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Ignatius Church, and the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi.
The next morning came much too soon, as I was the substitute organist/choirmaster at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and accompanied the choir in the psalm and two anthems: Thou knowest, Lord by Henry Purcell and Agnus Dei by Johann Nepomuk David.
Tonight, we Merry Widows (all organists!) had dinner at the home of Gloria Faltstrom and admired her large vegetable garden and many fruit trees (bananas, mango, lychee, orange, lemon, tangerine, and breadfruit). After dinner we heard the Chamber Music Hawaii concert with Connie Uejio, harpist, with the Honolulu Brass. Even in this rare combination of harp and brass, there again was the reference to the organ: One of the pieces performed was Handel’s Concerto in B-flat, better known as the last of his six organ concerti. In this evening’s performance, the original string and recorder parts were transcribed for brass. Oh — I learned this piece while in high school (on organ), and know every note, even though I haven’t played it since the 1980s. Connie did a superb job on this. The other piece for harp and brass was by Rayner Brown —that’s a name I used to hear when I lived in Southern California! Rayner Brown (1912-1999) was organist at the Wilshire Presbyterian Church in Hollywood and Professor of Music at Biola College for over thirty years. His Concertino for Harp and Brass Quintet dates from 1965. The unusual combination calls for careful crafting to prevent the brass obscruring the delicate sounds of the harp. For this reason, the harp often plays alone, or is accompanied by quiet brass punctuations and muted solo lines. (Oh, and did you know that Connie also plays the organ!)
Next Saturday night I am looking forward to the Quicksilver concert, for which I typed the program and designed the postcard.