Over the Easter weekend, we bid ‘Aloha’ to singer Lorna Mount, who with her husband, John, moved to Hawaii in 1975. As described by her family, Lorna was charismatic, energetic, always laughing, had the gift of gab, and when she was on steroids due to her ovarian cancer, “was a force of nature!” I know also that Lorna was an avid reader of this blog — Wouldn’t she have loved to read about herself!
Her memorial service was held on Holy Saturday at Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii campus where her husband has been Professor of Music since moving from Montana in 1975. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was the first time that Orvis has been used as a venue for a religious service. There was a huge, diverse crowd — many people from Hawaii Opera Theatre, and other community theatres in town where Lorna had sung or directed; people from Honolulu Community College where Lorna taught music, and even many people from the Japanese wedding industry where Lorna had sung for decades. Lorna was involved in so many activities: church choir, opera chorus, Japanese weddings, teaching at HCC, directing musicals, ringing handbells (She even conducted a workshop at St. Elizabeth’s), doing craft fairs, and raising a family.
In addition to being a soloist at the Christian Science Church “for eons,” Lorna was even hired by Carl Crosier for a number of Bach Chamber Choir and LCH choir gigs and I performed dozens and dozens of Japanese weddings with her as soloist.
In talking to Karl Bachman, who put the service together and preached the sermon, I told him I was surprised that there was only singing by the whole assembly, and no choir and no solos by any of the Mounts’ many, many singer friends and colleagues. And he responded, “If you chose even one person, how many would feel left out?!” Also, this being Holy Week, it would have been difficult to find a time for rehearsal.
The hymns were accompanied by Beebe Freitas on piano and Arlene Koh on violin. They included “How great thou art,” “Great is thy faithfulness,” “I come to the Garden,” “For all the saints,” and “Abide with me,” but according to Karl, the most amazing sound was that of all the divas in the congregation singing Alfred Hay Malotte’s, “The Lord’s Prayer.” (In the key of B-flat, in case you wanted to know!”
I thought one of the best quips of the day was when son Sterling Mount talked about his mother’s love of things on sale and getting great deals at Macys, and his father saying, “I can’t afford to save this much money!”
Karl Bachman summed it all in his homily:
Throughout the world today the faithful sing, Rejoice now, all you heavenly choirs of angels; Rejoice now, all creation; Sound forth the trumpet of salvation, and proclaim the triumph of our King. Rejoice, O Church of Christ; let all this house of God ring out with rejoicing, with the praises of all God’s faithful people.
Who among us does not see Lorna directing that choir? Who among us does not hear Lorna ringing those bells, singing with those angels, laughing with all the saints, and loving her Lord? And who by faith does not hear the voice of Lorna filling all of heaven with her new song, the song of life eternal?
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen