A beautiful farewell

Poster by Karen Sender

Poster by Karen Sender (Click to enlarge)

I saw the end of a beautiful and long tradition tonight—thank you, St. Andrew’s Choir and thank you, John Renke for your last Choral Evensong. You have been a blessing to this community. St. Andrew’s was one of the first places I knew here in Hawaii, and I have come back so many times for comfort and for joy. I have seen so many of my students become greater musicians here and truly come to understand what it means to be a professional musician. Thank you for always being there for me and for us all. I hope that whoever made the decision to end this music program as we have known it truly understands the impact this will have on us all. Thank you John and choir for a beautiful farewell. (M.H.)

Tonight’s Choral Evensong was simply gorgeous and heartfelt. . . The choristers sang through tears, and the huge, packed Cathedral joined in on the hymns like pros. I know there is a YouTube of the service. Too bad the Bishop could not be there to witness. Honestly, I grew more in my faith with singing with Arlan and John than maybe anything I have ever done in my long life of being an Episcopalian. (S.S.)

The cathedral was absolutely packed last night at John Renke‘s final evensong, a most sublime musical and spiritual experience. The choir’s singing was beautiful, especially of the Howells Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, as expected, but what I was most impressed with was the congregational singing! As expected, there were so many musicians in the assembly— they were there to give thanks for John Renke’s nine years in this community and to give him support in this time of transition.

The music included:

Introit: Blessed are the pure in heart (H. Walford Davies)
Preces: O Lord, open thou our lips (Richard Lloyd)
Hymn: The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended (St. Clement)
Psalms 111, 112, 113 (three anglican chant tunes)
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis – Collegium Regal (Herbert Howells)
Lord’s Prayer and Responses (Richard Lloyd)
Anthem: To thee before the close of day (H. Balfour Gardiner)
Hymn: Lord, make us servants of your peace (Dickinson College)
Orison: Ho’omaika’i ika Makua (Binamu)

Just when the introit started, I heard my phone beep—I had forgotten to turn off the ringer! Who would call me now? It was a text message from former student Joey FalaWish I could be there for John Renke’s last evensong. I’m there in spirit. Give him my best. (I did, after the service!)

Stanley Yon, junior warden

Stanley Yon, junior warden

There was no sermon. The bishop had already announced in a letter to the congregation that he would not be in attendance, owing to a previous commitment to a Kaua’i parish visit. Instead, Stanley Yon, the junior warden of the Cathedral, read a special citation from Bishop Fitzpatrick, declaring John Renke to be an Honorary Canon in the Diocese of Hawaii.

As the poster above stated:

In Thanksgiving for our many years of singing the finest sacred music in Queen Emma’s Cathedral, on this, our final Choral Evensong with John Robert Renke.

The Cathedral Choir
Aggy Kusunoki, Allen Bauchle, Cliff Hunter, Frances Burke, Guy Merola, Karen Sender, Karol Nowicki, Matt Jewell, Mihoko Nakano, Miles Provencher, Mitchell Moriwaki, Naomi Castro, Padraic Costello, Paul Beck, Thomas Goedecke, Todd Beckham.

We love you, John!


Simon Crookall greets John Renke after the service.

Here is a complete recording of the service (recorded by Samuel Lam).


About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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7 Responses to A beautiful farewell

  1. john f bicknell says:

    professional to the last moment!

  2. Louise King Lanzilotti says:


  3. Gregory says:

    I wish there was more info on why and what actually happened here.

  4. Fr. Dale Hathaway says:

    My heart was with you all. I once wrote an essay for John about the sublime spirit I experienced in evensong. Something profound goes silent.

  5. Bob Alder says:

    Mahalo to Sam Lam for the full recording. This should never end!

  6. Elizabeth Zachariah, MD says:

    There is more to this than meets the eye. As a congregant of the cathedral for the past 48 yrs, John Renke’s sudden departure needs to be explained by the Bishop who seems to be avoiding a face to face with the congregants and instead sends a newby Mr. Yon to do the talking. Johns departure within one month of the Deans departure in more than coincidental and I am going to call the Bishops office tomorrow. I have asked that if he wants old parishioners to remain loyal to the church, John needs to be brought back. I hope I am not alone in this. If any support is needed , would be happy to throw my weight in.
    Elizabeth Zachariah

  7. Leslie says:

    Listening from thousands of miles away, the service brought me closer to the Divine Beloved… just as Cannon Renke and his choir intended. Music does this with constant eloquence… where many sermons have fallen short.

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