You remember that huge box of mail that I returned home to, after being on the road for nearly six weeks? The bills always get my attention first, but what I look forward to is reading all the magazines that have piled up in my absence.
It was not until yesterday that I finally opened up my AAA magazine, and almost jumped up to the ceiling when I saw this article:
It was Tasha Kobashigawa, my former student! No, she didn’t take organ from me, but she was one of my handbell students at St. Andrew’s Priory. In my former life (1983-1989), I taught 17 handbell classes a week for six years at the Priory! (You’ll understand that I really don’t care to hear another handbell ever again in my life! ) I especially remembered Tasha’s name because she was Japanese with a Russian first name.
I was so proud of my girls, though, for the level of musical skill they achieved. They learned not only handbell technique and music reading, but also teamwork, cooperation, and musical expression. In those days, all students in fourth and fifth grade took handbell classes two days a week (Yes, it was mandatory!) In the sixth grade, they could choose between orchestra, band or choir, or continue with handbells three days a week. The seventh and eighth grade choir also met three days a week, and the select handbell class met an incredible five days a week! The select girls were so accomplished that we got an invitation from and performed for the governor of Hawaii (who was John Waihee, at the time).
I took three girls to a convention of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers in San Diego (1986) with a stop at Disneyland. One of those girls was Tasha, along with classmates Julie Nakamura and Iris Mori. In the pictures below, you can see I also brought my son, Stephen, who was three years old at the time.
Egad, these pictures are thirty years old! I’m guessing it was about ten or twelve years ago that I saw Tasha last. She was a waitress at Don Ho’s Island Grill and recognized me. From there she became the weekend TV anchor at KITV, and after that, she went to flight school and got her pilot’s license. She was in fact the first officer on the last flight of Aloha Airlines, and now is a pilot for Hawaiian Air. She was recognized by the FAA with inclusion in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database.
I’m always so pleased when I meet up with former students, and am super happy for Tasha that she has found her career path.