This morning I was back as an organ substitute at the Church of Holy Nativity, where I played under director Keane Ishii. He announced to the choir that my husband Carl and I were like his “parents in music,” (see my previous post “A time to remember“) and then I added that Holy Nativity was my first church job in Hawaii, 43 years ago. I was both organist and choirmaster for three years, from 1973-1976.
By the way, I wasn’t expecting to see and hear Keane sing at last night’s concert by Karol’s Karolers at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu — but there he was, along with a whole bunch of other singers I knew.
I picked up the Holy Nativity bulletin and one of the first things I noticed was that in their prayer list, they had “St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, The Rev. David J. Gierlach” on it for their Diocesan circle of prayer! That was where I retired as the Parish Administrator on September 30, 2015 after 11 years on the job.
Little did they know, however, that when I was choosing the music today that I was actually practicing the same music I’ll be playing for Iolani School’s Baccalaureate and 6th grade promotion this week . . . killing two birds with one stone! If you research this idiomatic expression, you’ll find out that “killing two birds with one stone” means solving two problems at one time with a single action. In my case, I guess you could also call it “recycling.”
The prelude I played for this morning’s church service, “Aria” by Flor Peeters, is what I’ll be playing for the 6th grade promotion on Thursday morning. During the exit procession, the names of the graduating 6th graders are read one by one, and the teachers wanted some “quiet marching music” for them to walk out. For several years the outgoing sixth graders just walked out in procession and I played some loud postlude music. One year, though, they decided they were going to read the names of every student. Caught unawares, I made the terrible mistake of playing music that was too loud and the names had to be screamed out over the PA system. Thankfully that only lasted about four or five names into it when I figured out what they were doing. Ever since then, I’ve used Flor Peeters’ “Aria,” for this part of the ceremony and it seems to work well except that I end up playing it about three times in a row for all the names to be read.
Here is Ronald IJmker’s performance of this piece at the Jesuitenkirchen in Heidelberg.
For the postlude, I played David N. Johnson’s “Voluntary in D-Flat Major,” which I plan to play for Baccalaureate tonight at Iolani.
I recognized several other names in the Sunday bulletin: Nobuko Loncar was listed under Altar Guild, and I happened to run into Nobuko when I arrived to play the second service. She was the former Japanese teacher at St. Andrew’s Priory where I taught handbells so many years ago, and where Carl was the chief financial officer for 29 years. Nobuko expressed her sympathies over the death of Carl and asked how my son was, remembering him as a toddler. “Oh, he’s thirty-three years old now!”
Another name which popped out at me was Coralie Vellis, listed on the prayer list. She was recognized during the announcement time and was congratulated on being 91 years old. Afterwards I went up to speak to her. I’m not sure she remembered me, but both she and her husband, Jim, were tenors in the Holy Nativity choir during my tenure, over forty years ago.
I told her I remembered going to her house for a choir party in those days, and I’ll never forget their dog! You see, they put a dish of food in front of him, saying, “That’s Army food” and the dog sniffed it but did not eat it. They kept saying, “No, that’s Army food— It’s no good!” and the dog resisted all urges to eat. But when they said, “NAVY CHOW!” that was the dog’s signal, and he happily chowed down.