It’s Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion, and traditionally a day of penitence. My colleagues all over the world are putting in extra rehearsal hours for the Triduum services (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil) and extra Easter services. I can’t help but remember that for my late husband Carl and myself, it was absolutely the busiest week of the year, and we would be out every single night of the week with either a rehearsal or a service. Carl used to call it “Holy Hell” week, especially that one year when Easter came on April 15th, and in addition to all the services and rehearsals, he had clients who needed to get their tax returns done. Bear in mind, he also had a full time job as the Chief Financial Officer at St. Andrew’s Priory besides! Those were the days when he put in 80-90 hours of work during this week. I also had a full-time job elsewhere all those years.
Of course in the old days, the Easter Vigil started at 10:45 pm, and we usually did not finish the service and get home until after 1:00 am. A few times we brought sleeping bags and slept in the board room so that we didn’t have to drive home all the way to Kaneohe before coming back for the Easter Day services. However, after Carl visited the Church of Advent in Boston in 1992 for his sabbatical, and found out they did their Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm, he came home and said, “If the Advent can do it at 7:30 pm, LCH can too!”
But with the time change of the Vigil (from 1993), Carl then decided he would take on the preparation of a meal for all the choir and the participants— usually about 40-45 people, for which he would spend all day Saturday cooking. He would then call a choir rehearsal at 5:45 pm to practice the Vigil music in addition to rehearsing the acolytes, banner bearers, boat bearer, deacon, sub-deacon, etc. While he was doing that, I would set up the paper goods and beverages for the meal which came in between the rehearsal and the service. And every year, Carl served a different entree so as not to repeat! I always thought he was absolutely crazy to take on this added responsibility of cooking for such a large group in this week of all weeks! But I guess the choir really appreciated it.
Do I miss all that craziness? Probably. Somewhat.
But now Holy Week has changed for me and I’m especially acutely aware of “what it used to be” and “what it is now.” The only service I played this week was a funeral at Iolani School on Wednesday. Because it’s also spring break, I cancelled most of my organ lessons and I have spent quite a lot of time practicing — for my Bach Clavierübung concert (the date of which has not yet been determined), and for the Early Music Hawaii concerts on April 2nd and April 9th.
I’m still doing newsletters — this week I worked on both the online and print versions of Cathedral Life for St. Andrew’s, as well as the newsletter for my condo association. I also finished the layout for the Early Music Hawaii concert program.
My only responsibility this Easter is hosting a brunch for 10 people. Here’s a sneak peek at my Easter table (I’ll add small bunches of flowers to each place setting on Sunday.)