Last Sunday night I attended the “Cantate” concert by the Lutheran Church of Honolulu Choir and Men’s Schola; Wednesday I went to hear the St. Andrew’s Priory girls’ concert; tomorrow night I’ll be playing in the Iolani School Chorus concert; and Saturday night I’ll be at the Hawai’i Symphony concert! ‘Tis the season!
Scott Fikse conducted a very ambitious program including three works based on psalms by Felix Mendelssohn, three settings of the 23rd Psalm by Bernhard Klein, Bobby McFerrin and Franz Schubert, Bach Cantata 104, “Du Hirte Israel, höre,” and the whole second half was works by Grieg, with the choirs singing in Norwegian throughout. David Del Rocco, a bass in the choir, served as their language coach, being fluent in five languages!
Most unfortunately, Renson Madarang, tenor, had been scheduled to sing a recitative and aria in the Bach cantata, but had to cancel because of strep throat. Even though Karol Nowicki heroically learned the part on 48 hours’ notice, I missed hearing Renson, whose voice has dramatically developed in the last couple of years. According to the program, Renson is currently a doctoral student at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Baritone Jeremy Wong, who did such fine singing with the recent Oahu Choral Society’s motets and cantatas concert, again turned in a stellar performance, with solos in the Bach cantata and in the Grieg “Fire Salmer,” Op. 74.
Scott also recognized long-time members of the choir, including Olivia Castro, Randy Castello, and Larry Nitz who have been in the choir nearly 40 years or more.
I happened to sit next to Jeremy at last night’s Priory girls concert conducted by Naomi Castro. This is Naomi’s sixth year at the Priory, and every year the girls sound better and better and perform even more complex music. The theme was all-women composers, including music by Abbie Betinis, Laura Farnell, Moira Smiley, Eleanor Daley, Clara Schumann, Linda Spevacek, Gwyneth Walker, Nola Nahulu and Ginger Littleton. There was a lot of what I call “spatial” music, with music sung in procession, resulting in an experience which was truly ethereal and heavenly in the reverberant cathedral acoustics. I was really impressed with the choir’s pure tone and intonation.
This afternoon I rehearsed with the Iolani Chorus for tomorrow’s concert at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. I am only playing one piece, “Tantum ergo” by César Franck, so director John Alexander has really let me off easy this concert. We did have an issue with the TV monitor, and after about 20 minutes of trying to hook it up, finally achieved success. You remember that it was at last year’s Christmas concert that I kept losing the video feed and was playing absolutely “blind;” couldn’t see the conductor! Go back and re-read my post “Technology — BAH HUMBUG!” which tells of the whole scary experience!
Next weekend I’ll be playing in the Rededication Concert of the J. W. Walker organ at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. I’m so squeezed for time to practice, in addition to playing all the school chapel services and teaching organ lessons, that I feel like saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”
The really nice news is that I’ve been offered a complimentary Mother’s Day Brunch by the restaurant in my building!