All in a day’s work

Kawaiaha'o Church, the "Westminster Abbey" of the Pacific

Kawaiaha’o Church, the “Westminster Abbey” of Hawaii

I was already awake and had eaten my breakfast when I went to retrieve my phone messages about 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Apparently a phone call had came in at 6:10 am and I saw that choral director, Nola Nahulu, had left me a voicemail.

Good morning, Kathy. It’s Nola, 6:10 already. Buddy is really, really sick and cannot play Kawaiaha’o Church’s service this morning. Give me a call.

I called Nola back who asked if I could play the 9:00 am service at Kawaiaha’o Church since their organist, Buddy Naluai, was feeling ill. After confirming that I could do it (luckily I had some organ music and my shoes in my car), Nola called back to say, “I forgot today is the Honolulu Marathon and all the streets are blocked off!”

“No problem, I can walk,” is how I answered.

Across the street from Kawaiaha'o Church is the City Hall.

Across the street from Kawaiaha’o Church is the City Hall.

By 7:45 am, I not only had showered, picked up my music and shoes, and walked to the church, about a mile away from my condo. (I think this is rather miraculous, if I do say so myself!) I had just about 15-20 minutes to register the organ for my prelude, postlude, choral anthem and hymns before I met the choir downstairs for rehearsal. I also had a brief rehearsal with Malia Ka’ai-Barrett, soprano, who sang “O holy night” with a hula group, and then the service started with a procession of the Hawaiian royalty and Hawaiian Civic Clubs and away it went like clockwork!

The 3-manual Aeolian-Skinner organ in the rear gallery.

The 3-manual Aeolian-Skinner organ in the rear gallery.

Some of the choristers after the service.

Some of the choristers after the service.

Sunday was “Ali’i Sunday,” “among the many long and honored traditions of Kawaiaha‘o Church, which began about 1914.” For both the processional and recessional, I played several verses of “Hawaii Aloha,” a well-known Hawaiian hymn. There must have been 60+ people in the processions! In case you didn’t know, the church is often referred to as the “Westminster Abbey” of Hawaii, since so many important and pivotal events have occurred there. You can see the portraits of some of the kings and queens in the rear of the church, as shown above.

No sooner had I walked home, and it was time to go to Iolani School, where I attended a 2-1/2 hour rehearsal with the choir for Friday’s Christmas concert. Although the rehearsal was in the chorus room with the rather inadequate electronic instrument, ultimately I will be playing Charles V. Stanford’s, “Te Deum,” the Sussex Carol, and David Willcock’s arrangement of “God rest ye gentlemen,” on the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Then for the first time in many, many months, I set my alarm for Monday morning because I have a 7:30 am rehearsal with the St. Andrew’s Priory orchestra for their Christmas chapel service on Tuesday. I will be playing four hymns with them, and three of them are in keys not in the hymnal. No problem, I can play just about any Christmas carol in any key, and I don’t need to look at the music!

Tomorrow’s rehearsal begins at 7:00 am!

I thought I was supposed to be retired?!


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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2 Responses to All in a day’s work

  1. Curt Zimmerman says:

    I’m glad you’re picking up on the fact that when you retire you have more to do than before – and wonder how you ever had time for a real job. The Kawaiaho organ was where I practiced when I first came to Honolulu in the USAF. I liked the instrument. Don’t remember who the organist was at the time other than he was bald(ing). Abraham Akaka was pastor and pre-Senator Daniel Akaka directed the choir. I think you live in the ideal location – you can easily walk o a number of important places including the cathedral and the priory school.

  2. john f bicknell says:

    they are lucky that you are retired and available!

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