A visit with Dr. Tabrah

Dr. Frank Tabrah

Dr. Frank Tabrah—doesn’t he look remarkable for his age?!

From time to time, I get calls from people wanting to sell their home organs and are looking to place them in good homes—I feel like I’m finding a home for a puppy! Or they are retiring and have a lot of organ music to give away.

This week, I found both situations when I met 97-year-old Dr. Frank Tabrah, a retired medical doctor, whose hearing aids now prevent him from enjoying and playing music. Oh, I had recognized his name from my years and years of sticking on labels for our music mailing list—you see, he is one of the people who get our concert mailings, although I had never met him.

Both he and his wife said they had heard me play many times, and at the end of a lovely visit with them, I sat down and played the G-major Prelude and Fugue from the “Eight Little Preludes and Fugues” which happened to be sitting on the music rack.

I remembered coming across his name in the Hilo newspaper when Joey Fala played a concert at the Buddhist temple in March—apparently Dr. Tabrah had played the original dedication concert in 1962. (Check my post: “Organ music in a Buddhist temple“)

Dr. Tabrah was born in Buffalo, NY and received his medical degree from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He moved to Hawaii in 1956 and became active in the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, which was chartered in 1953. He told me that he had played the organ for over 80 (!) years during his various careers as a pediatrician, a hyperbaric specialist, and a medical researcher.

In doing a Google search, I also found out that Dr. Tabrah wrote a book, Healthcare Hawaii Style: Model for the Nation which is available on Amazon: Health Care Hawaii Style: Model for the Nation by Hawaiian physician and professor of Community Health, Frank L. Tabrah, chronicles how the Hawaiian people have developed and sustained a universal medical care system that should be a model for the rest of the United States.

Book jacket photo of Dr. Tabrah

Book jacket photo of Dr. Tabrah

This is what I read about the author and this book:

Dr. Tabrah's book

Dr. Tabrah’s book

Health Care Hawaii Style: Model for the Nation? by Frank L. Tabrah, M.D. explores how Hawaii’s innovative medical system could help solve the nation’s health care crisis

HONOLULU, HAWAII – Doctor Frank L Tabrah’s Health Care Hawaii Style: Model for the Nation? is both a fascinating chronicle of the author’s fifty years of service as a doctor in Hawaii, and an exploration of how Hawaii’s unique medical care system evolved from the days of the plantations.

Today’s health care system is in a crisis. Many authorities suggest that America would be better off moving toward a national health care system. But parts of America—specifically Hawaii—already have. In Dr. Frank L Tabrah’s provocative book, Health Care Hawaii Style: Model for the Nation? he shows how such a system was developed and maintained in Hawaii, and he explores how it can benefit the rest of the country.

Beautifully written and told with humanity and concern, Health Care Hawaii Style, tells the story of how Tabrah began his work in Hawaii as a plantation doctor, and later as an academic physician. The plantations provided a model of universal medical care to their workers, one which Tabrah suggests could work for the country as a whole.

Insightful, thought-provoking and filled with over 40 photographs, some of them never before published, Health Care Hawaii Style may be just the prescription for America’s health care crisis.

Dr. Tabrah’s wife, Ernestine, helped me carry the stacks and stacks of music I picked up, which I plan to distribute to my students, as I have done with much of the music I have inherited from over two dozen people over the years.

I need to find a good home for his organ before they move to a retirement home in the next few weeks. Anyone have any leads?

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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One Response to A visit with Dr. Tabrah

  1. Michael Springer says:

    Nice story on Dr. Tabrah. Thank you for sharing that.

    Tell me more about the organ that he owned and is needing a new home.


    Michael Springer

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