Free means more?

‘Aha Mele Benefit Concert poster

A year ago, there was a fundraising concert at All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapa’a, Kaua’i, Hawai’i,  to benefit the reconstruction of its pipe organ. Please notice that the concert was advertised as FREE, but that donations were welcomed.

You may ask: But how are they going to raise money if the concert is free?

What I have learned over the years is that if you advertise the concert as “free,” you are likely to attract not only MORE PEOPLE to your concert, but also MORE MONEY for your fundraising project—at least here in Hawaii!

Thirteen years ago, our Hawaii Chapter of the American Guild of Organists presented a concert by famed Juilliard organist, Paul Jacobs. It was a true leap of faith, since we did not have much money in our treasury, but we wanted as many people as possible to be able to experience his thrilling playing, as I had experienced when I heard him in person both in Los Angeles and in New York. I sold it to the local AGO Executive Board as “when they hear him play, people will just throw money!” And that they did, along with our necessity of bringing in about 100 extra chairs for the people that came to the concert. They just kept coming and coming! And when the offering was counted, there were not only mostly $20 bills, but many checks for $50 and $100—more than enough to pay his fee, which at that time seemed almost unreachable by our small AGO chapter. In fact, it was enough to kick off our now Annual Organ Concert all these many years.

About a year ago, I decided to dust off my Bach fingers to present all the large settings of the Clavierübung III, Bach’s monumental set of organ chorale preludes sometimes referred to as “The German Organ Mass,” or the “Catechism.” I decided again to try to present this as a “free” concert, relying upon people’s generosity, and their satisfaction at hearing this great music.

If you go back and read my post, “Flabbergasted,” I wrote:

And why am I flabbergasted? It’s because I asked Bill Potter, the financial secretary of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, how much money came in as donations for my recent Clavierübung concert on October 30. You may recall that I advertised the concert as a “free concert,” with “donations welcomed.” I figured that people might be more inclined to give to the Carl Crosier Memorial Fund, the beneficiary of the concert, if there was not a set dollar amount. Yes, rather than selling tickets, I thought we might even come out ahead if we let people give of their own free will. You might recall that in the advance publicity we “suggested” a donation of $25, but in the actual program, no dollar amount was specified. The fund is in essence a Music Endowment, to fund special musical outreach projects, in memory of the church’s long-time director of music.

So how much came in? More than $4600— with possibly more yet to be counted!

I’m still in awe of how much was raised in essence for a “free” concert!

Exterior of All Saints Kaua’i

Here’s some information about the All Saints organ project. [You know, Carl Crosier and I spent our honeymoon in Kaua’i, and in fact went to church on the Sunday we were there in 1977.] You can also go to their website to find out more information about the project.

All Saints’ is the home to Kauai’s only remaining “true” pipe organ. This pipe organ is a unique feature of All Saints’ Church and an integral and popular part of our worship. Unfortunately age and the environment have taken their toll on the wood, metal and leather parts of the mechanism with the result that minor repairs are becoming a routine necessity and maintenance costs are rising. Many of the repairs have been “stop gap” measures which enable us to continue to use the organ but do not resolve the underlying major problems. Now it is in great need of rebuilding and updating.

The organ is an Austin Organ Company “Chorophone unit organ” Opus 1351. The original contract was signed April 25, 1925 and the organ was finished at the factory by October, 1925. The original cost was $3,400.00 and installation was completed by Ernst Gieseke. The organ is free-standing, is encased in a birch case and has four ranks (Diapason, Bourdon/Harmonic Flute, Viole and Dulciana). The organ’s pipe work was is organ was amended in 1982-1983 by Terrence Schoenstein.  All of the pipes in the organ were replaced at that time except for the lowest pedal notes of the Bourdon 16’.  The new pipes included a Spire Flute and it’s mate a Spire Flute Celeste, a new Principal (in place of the Diapason) and a 3 rank mixture.  Under the new scheme the organ has 6 ranks of pipes and reflected 1980’s interest in baroque music and a different approach to the sound of the organ.

Manuel Rosales, organbuilder

From the website: All Saints’ is grateful to be working with Rosales Pipe Organ Services, Inc. of Los Angeles, California. Manuel Rosales and his team bring an impressive background to this extraordinary project. Manuel has restored organs throughout the United States and is a leader in the preservation of historic organs; he is considered by his colleagues to be one of the best in the industry. Rosales Pipe Organ’s signature project is the world-renowned organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The unusual and innovative façade of the Disney Hall organ was designed jointly by architect Frank O. Gehry and Manuel Rosales.

Shane Morris Wise

Shane Morris Wise, one of the Hawaii Chapter AGO members, and a former colleague of Manuel Rosales, is actively involved in the rebuilding effort of the organ. He is volunteering his time to serve as the Senior Project Manager and Organ Consultant for All Saints’. His leadership and expertise has and will be invaluable for the congregation moving forward with this project.

DONATIONS WELCOME!  If you would like to make a donation towards the organ fund, you may mail in a check payable to All Saints’ Church, P. O. Box 248, Kapa’a, HI  96746.  Please make a notation in the memo portion “Organ Fund”.  Mahalo! (You can donate online through this link.)


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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