Since I grew up without television, I had never watched the show, “Queen for a Day,” which began as a radio show in 1945 then ran on NBC Television from 1956-1960 and on ABC from 1960-1964. Every show began with the question, “Would YOU like to be Queen for a day?” A number of contestants would tell a little about their lives, and what they wanted most to lift them out of a miserable life. The winner, “Queen for a Day” was the one the audience deemed in the most pitiful situation, as gauged by an applause meter. According to Wikipedia, “Many women broke down sobbing as they described their plights, and (the emcee) was always quick to comfort them and offer a clean white handkerchief to dry their eyes.”
“The winner, to the musical accompaniment of “Pomp and Circumstance“, would be draped in a sable-trimmed red velvet robe, given a glittering jeweled crown to wear, placed on a velvet-upholstered throne, and handed a dozen long-stemmed roses to hold as she wept, often uncontrollably, while her list of prizes was announced.
“The prizes, many of which were donated by sponsoring companies, began with the necessary help the woman had requested but built from there. They might include a variety of extras, such as a vacation trip, a night on the town with her husband, silver-plated flatware, an array of kitchen appliances, or a selection of fashion clothing. The losing contestants were each given smaller prizes; no one went away from the show without a meaningful gift.”
Well . . . being the honoree at last night’s Oahu Choral Society’s Vivace! fundraising dinner was not exactly like that . . . it was more like listening to the eulogies at one’s funeral! But I certainly felt like a queen—I treated myself to four hours in a salon, having my hair and makeup done and looking waaay more glamorous than I anticipated!
The evening at the Bishop Museum, began in the Atrium, where people had pupus and cocktails. There was a running slideshow off to the side — people had submitted photos of me, besides I sent some of my growing up years which you can see by clicking here. We were then treated to a performance of Hawaiian music by the Oahu Choral Society Chamber Singers, who sounded great in the Atrium’s acoustics!
We moved to a nearby dining area where we were entertained by the Honolulu Barefoot Boys and enjoyed a buffet dinner. Then the real fun began, starting with Wanda Gereben, a long-time presence in the Honolulu choral music scene. She began: “Kathy and I recently had an enjoyable conversation with lots of laughs remembering the ‘Very Early Days: That was some 40 years ago. The fact that we still have that much memory left is remarkable in itself. I originally met Kathy when I hired her to accompany the Honolulu Symphony’s Children’s Opera Chorus that I was directing at that time. That organization later morphed into the Hawaii Children’s Opera Chorus and then into the now Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus directed by Nola Nahulu.”
Wanda then recalled that she attended Carl’s and my wedding in 1979, and found out that I could sew as we had made a banner and embroidered clergy stoles. Wanda and I shared matching dresses and music folders for the many groups we worked with: a red muumuu and red folder for the Priory Choirs; a green dress and green folder for the Hawaii Children’s Chorus. Wanda further went on to have a blue folder for the Honolulu Chorale and a white folder for St. Christopher’s Church!
Wanda also talked about a choir tour we took to the Big Island, including staying at the Kilauea Military Camp cabins and being awakened in the middle of the night to see the volcano erupting. She also talked about other collaborations we had done together, most recently “The Big Sing” in 2014. Check out my post “The Big Sing” about this event to refresh your memory.
Ian Capps of Early Music Hawaii was next to speak, and recalled Carl’s and my first collaboration with this organization through two historic performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. You may recall that in my post about these miraculous concerts, I quoted Karl Bachman: If you did NOT attend the Monteverdi, you missed one of the most amazing musical events to take place in Hawaii since statehood! Kudos to Carl Crosier for outdoing himself by putting together all the right people and for undertaking to do such an amazing musical work. In my lifetime it will go down as one of the most significant evenings of my musical life. Thanks, Carl and Kathy!
Ian described the situation at the first concert where the oppressive humidity from all the rain that night melted the glue off the bridge of the theorbo (!), and all the strings became a mass of spaghetti! I was already playing from 140 pages of figured bass, but I was forced to sightread the theorbo part in the movements Carl had previously designated as theorbo only! Go back and read my post about it: Broken theorbo!
Betsy McCreary was the next speaker and she recalled that even though her late husband, John McCreary, called Carl Crosier and me “the enemy” it was all in fun and in admiration, as we were two of the most active church music programs in town. She also revealed that John’s nickname for me was “Catastrophic Kathy,” and recalled some of my unexpected tumbles over the years, forcing me to play the organ with a broken wrist. Her husband, John, had also broken his wrist and done the same!
In my next post, I’ll reprint Karl Bachman’s speech about his experiences. In the meantime, here are some of the pictures which were taken last night: