It’s Memorial Day weekend and a time to remember our loved ones. It all started last night when I had a rehearsal with Naomi Castro and the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble for their upcoming Masterworks Festival (June 19th) and tour to Ireland (July 1-10). The two solos I accompanied Naomi on were Mozart’s Laudate dominum and Fauré’s “Pie Jesu” from the Requiem — and her pure soprano voice was absolutely gorgeous. “These were the first two solos Carl ever gave me,” Naomi said, and I recalled her poignant rendition of the Mozart that first Priory chapel after Carl Crosier’s death. Go back and re-read my account “Remembering the Prime Minister.”
Naomi also reminded me that Carl had given her the “Pie Jesu” solo at Dale Noble’s memorial service. If you recall, Carl was able to conduct the rehearsal, but found himself in the hospital for the service and Nola Nahulu had to step in at the last moment. That was “Plan B,” which I wrote about on July 5, 2014, when I had to call 911 because Carl had fainted and had to have emergency gastric surgery.
Immediately after my rehearsal with the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble, I drove out to Aina Haina to the Church of the Holy Nativity, my very first church job in Hawaii. On Monday, Keane Ishii, their present choral director, asked if I might sub there for Thursday choir rehearsal and the Sunday service. Driving out on Kalanianaole Highway to Aina Haina and walking back into that church brought back so many memories of my first few years here in the islands. Although the organ is different now (they used to have an electronic instrument), it was because of Carl Crosier that they have their present Casavant since he served as their organ consultant when they were looking for a pipe organ.
Of course, Carl always considered Keane one of his protegés, and partly responsible for Keane’s success as a singer and choral conductor. You see when we first met Keane many years ago, he was still a student and a bit tentative. Carl helped him develop his baritone singing by giving him many Bach solos.
So this Sunday, I’ll be back at Holy Nativity for the morning service, then the afternoon will take me back to Iolani School where I was the chapel organist for twenty years. Last year when I played for their Baccalaureate service, I thought that was the last — but Nope! It turns out that I am playing Baccalaureate for their current organist, Geri Ching (my very first organ student in Hawaii) because she is unavailable. I’m also going back to play for the 6th grade Moving Up ceremony as well as an Alumni Service — all a rash and blur of services and concerts before leaving Hawaii for five weeks on the U.S. Mainland and Europe.
It will be a race to the finish!
Hey! By the time this weekend finishes, I will have played four different organs: Holy Nativity (where I’m headed to practice now), Lutheran Church of Honolulu (where I’ll practice this afternoon), Iolani School (for Baccalaureate) and Mystical Rose Oratory at Chaminade University (where I played the HVAE rehearsal last night).