Last Sunday I found myself back in the Chorus Room at Iolani School doing, what else, accompanying the Iolani School Chorus and Hōkūloa Singers in rehearsal for their upcoming concert, “The Long and Winding Road,” this Friday, May 13th at 7:30 pm, which will be held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It’s an opportunity to hear director John Alexander’s own composition, Mass in A, published by Colla Voce Music, which I will be accompanying on the Aeolian-Skinner organ. Other songs in Hawaiian, Latin, Japanese and even English will be sung, representing a variety of cultures, time periods and styles. Parking and admission are free.
Yes, I’m supposedly “retired,” but John has coaxed me out of retirement with an email which began, “Aloha! I know you are the State’s Busiest Organist, but . . . “ I was happy to say “yes.”
For twenty years I played for daily chapel services at Iolani School, a co-educational, college prep school for over 1800 students in grades K-12. Every Friday at 7:30 am I had a quick rehearsal with the Lower School Choir in preparation for their singing an anthem during the chapel service.
Here’s John’s bio: Originally from Homer, New York, John Starr Alexander has been teaching choral music at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i since 1982, during which time he has served as musical director, vocal director and/or pianist for dozens of musicals produced by various theatrical institutions around Honolulu. He spent two years as a linguistics major at Georgetown University, and eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dramatic Arts and Literature from The George Washington University, also in Washington, D.C. He has served as president and vice-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
John was a member of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir for 25 years and is now the cantor at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. For several years he was the choir director and pianist for the 8:00 am service at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. He writes and arranges choral and instrumental music; and occasionally he can be seen playing piano and singing at various night spots around town. His favorite pastimes are hiking and lei making, but his first love is composition.