This weekend is the recital of my former student, Joey Fala, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kula, Maui on July 8 at 6:30 pm. This is Joey’s second recital appearance there and you won’t want to miss his concert as he weaves his magic. I say “magic,” because one needs a lot of creativity to pull off a concert on this small organ which only has 11 stops.
Joey will also be playing both morning services at St. John’s the following day, July 9.
Then the following weekend, on Saturday, July 15, Joey will be playing a rededication concert at the refurbished Aeolian-Skinner organ at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. Little-known fact: Did you know that my very first concert in Hawaii took place on this organ in March of 1974? And that I was contracted to play this concert by Carl Crosier who was the Sub-Dean of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Guild of Organists … which began with a long and memorable phone conversation which in turn led to our getting married for 37 years, and you know the rest of the story!
Bonus tidbit: July 15, 2017 would have been our 40th wedding anniversary!
Anyway, here’s the background on this organ:
After years of deterioration due, in part, to age and Hawai’iʻs tropical climate, Kawaiaha’o Churchʻs Board of Trustees, in 2002, laid out an incremental plan to completely overhaul the church’s crown jewel, the 45 rank 1964 Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. Organ builders who assisted in the refurbishing over the past 15 years were Meloni & Farrier, New York; Richard Houghten, Inc., Michigan; and tonal designer, Jim Gruber of Maui, Hawai’i and Illinois.
Kawaiaha’o’s Aeolian-Skinner was preceded by two other instruments. The first, a tracker organ installed in 1867 by the Simmons & Company of Boston, Massachusetts. This instrument had the distinction of being played by Hawaiian royalty during Sunday services such as Queen Lili`uokalani, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, and also by Henri Berger of Germany, who was also the Maestro of King Kalakaua’s Royal Hawaiian Band. The second instrument, a Hillgreen-Lane of Alliance, Ohio was installed in 1927 after fire ravished the interior of the sanctuary.
It was not until 1960, when the Reverend Dr. Abraham Kahikina Akaka realizing the need for a more substantial and versatile instrument set in motion plans to replace the Hillgreen-Lane. The prestigious Aeolian- Skinner Organ Company, known as the Rolls Royce of American organ builders of Boston, Massachusetts, was awarded a contract, by vote of the congregants, to build this magnificent instrument, Opus 1429. The organ was installed and dedicated in 1964. Funds for the project were primarily made through contributions by its generous church members and friends.
Joey’s third concert will be Sunday, July 23rd at 4:00 pm at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Kailua, HI, as a part of their rededication recitals on the J. W. Walker & Sons tracker organ. You might recall that Mark Wong and I played the first concert on this instrument last May after it was completely overhauled by Hans-Ulrich Erbsloeh this past spring.
Joey will also be playing July 23 and 30 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on University Avenue, Honolulu. for their 9:00 am Sunday services.
I have also arranged for Joey to teach my students while I’m gone. That’s what you call a real busman’s holiday!