Mourning a piano

9 08 2018

Never did I think getting rid of an old piano, the thing, would evoke such emotional feelings in me. I put it outside today, to make room for another one, a better one that was newer, shinier, and in tune.

The old piano—I didn’t name it, but it had a name. Story & Clark, and on the back of the sound board was a plaque that said it came from Aloha Piano. I had it for 50 years until today, and it traveled with me from Manoa Valley to Waikiki to Lanikai to Kaaawa.

My father, who had not supported me for several years when I was a minor, ended his silence one day by giving me 800 dollars cash. I used the money to buy the piano. I learned to play on my mother’s parlor grand. I don’t know what happened to it. The three of us went our separate ways.

Ayla’s first piano lessons were on this piano. Now 9, she played the C scale she remembered from a few lessons I gave her and got out her music book just as the piano movers arrived. They took the old piano to the roadside, brought the newer, shinier one to its place in the living room. After the moving truck left, a man came knocking at the door. A stranger.

“Why?” he asked, arms in the air. “Aren’t the keys good?” I explained some were stuck, some strings were broken, all the strings were rusty, and there had been termites in the cabinet. And that the piano tuner could no longer tune it up to concert pitch. Could he ask his friend if she would want it for her kids to plunk on? Sure, I said. She didn’t come.

Anna asks via Facebook if there are any salvageable parts for abstract wall art. Sadly, I am not that ambitious.

All afternoon kids and other passers-by have been plunking on the piano. It will be there for four more days, in the heat and the rain, before it’s taken away. I may still hear it. I’m crying.

Like an old mistress or lover, the memory will take a long time to subside.

©2018 Rebekah Luke

 





KINOHI composed by Herb Mahelona

2 05 2018

On April 28, 2018, at Kawaiaha‘o Church, I was a member of combined choirs performing the premiere of the Hawaiian language oratorio entitled KINOHI composed by Herb Mahelona. He wrote the lyrics and music over a 20-year period. I am excited to share the video with you. It is one hour and 40 minutes long. As the composer remarked upon hearing it sung for the first time in its entirety, “It is exactly as I dreamt it!” Please sit back and enjoy!

Worth watching more than once! – Herb Mahelona

https://youtu.be/XmVEAMnxbTs

Mahalo, gratitude, to all involved who made this happen.

~ Rebekah Luke, second alto





On being Hawaiian

9 01 2018

Hawaiians are gearing up for a ceremonial observance on January 17 of the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani 125 year’s ago. I am Hawaiian.

I won’t be marching from Mauna Ala down Nuuanu Avenue and King street to Iolani Palace as I did in 1993 for the 100th observance, but I will be near the Iolani Palace bandstand in an information booth set up by the Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi Political Action Committee. I am a citizen of Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi.

Last night I attended the first of several Mele Workshops taught by Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong to learn more about the songs of our nation. She entitled it “I Welo Mau Loa Kuʻu Hae Hawaiʻi / May my Hawaiian flag fly evermore…”

Kumu Hina

Kumu Hina wrote, “No matter the politics that divide us, let us unite through the bonds of our language, culture and our history.”

Mahalo e Kumu Hina.

I am compelled to encourage citizens to attend one of the remaining free workshops scheduled on Oahu. They are open to all. You will learn the songs, what the Hawaiian lyrics mean, and the tertiary kaona of the words. Kumu Hina’s manaʻo is inspiring and uplifting.

Schedule of Mele Workshops. Go!

125 years ago was not that long ago, Kumu Hina pointed out. When it was revealed at the workshop that I was the eldest person in the room, she said, “your grandparents’ generation.”

Yes, my maternal Chinese grandfather spoke Hawaiian, but his 15 children were forbidden to speak it in school. Unfortunately, I do not ʻōlelo either, but I love to sing Hawaiian songs.

ʻOnipaʻa kākou.

If you go ~ As I write this, the schedule of events for January 17, 2018, is flexible, except for the 10:45 a.m. raising of Hae Hawaiʻi at ʻIolani Palace, the exact time it was lowered and replaced by the American flag in 1893.





All he needs are strings

5 04 2017

My darling husband Pete is building his seventh ukulele out of a cigar box. Most are concert scale; this one is a tenor. When gathering materials, he looks for cigar boxes that will accommodate the bridge of the instrument.

Polishing with Tru-Oil  gun stock finish. “This one is more show than go,” he said.

Box originally contained “25 cigars hand made in Spanish Honduras.”

The lid becomes the back of the ukulele, and the front of the box is removed and replaced with Engelmann spruce wood. Sometimes he adds a pickup inside.

Decorative inlaid fingerboard came from Vietnam. Pete put in the paua mother of pearl from Aotearoa around the sound hole.

The black tuners called Pegheds are geared, a little more sophisticated than straight pegs.

All the ukulele needs now are strings!





He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi

29 03 2017

“He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi (The Hawaiian National Anthem),” composed by Hawaiʻi’s Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1866, is her first published song. Our choirs performed it in March 2017 on Prince Kuhio’s birthday at the Ke Ahe Lau Makani Festival of Hawaiian Choral Music, directed by Nola A. Nahulu, at Kawaiahaʻo Church. “He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi was the official anthem until “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi” (composed in 1876) replaced it. It was my honor to sing in the choir. The video was first posted on my Facebook page. Mahalo to festival coordinator Phil Hidalgo. Pete Krape (DH to studio fans) was the videographer. Please click on this link:





Join in the singing or come as the audience

14 03 2017

Festival/concert venue: Kawaiahao Church is on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets

Aloha Everyone!

Kawaiolaonāpūkanileo, our small Hawaiian-music choir presents Ke Ahe Lau Makani 2017. We invite you all to this Hawaiian choral festival on Sunday afternoon, March 26, 2017, at historic Kawaiahaʻo Church. Join us at 2pm to sing in the festival choir or at 6pm to hear this choir in concert!

The next rehearsal is at 5pm on Monday, March 20, at Na Mea Hawaii store at Ward Warehouse, Honolulu. All who love to sing Hawaiian music are welcome.

The cost is $20 to be a festival singer which includes music and a heavy pūpū before the concert. The concert at 6:00 pm is free.

Nola A. Nahulu is the director. Phil Hidalgo is the festival organizer.





Water lilies in paper

18 03 2016

Aloha studio fans, art patrons and appreciators! I’m taking this, my latest creation, to exhibit at Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden for the month of April.

Water Lilies in Paper, 18″ x 24″ hand-dyed tissue paper on canvas, copyright 2016 Rebekah Luke

The opening reception for “Collages and Clay at Hoʻomaluhia” is from 1 to 4 pm, Sunday, April 3. Entertainment by The Band Tantalus. Please come!

This is a newish art medium for me, a departure from landscapes in oil paint after 25 years. I hand-dye the tissue paper with my colleague and teacher Susan Rogers-Aregger at her workshop (it takes a small crew). Folks say they prefer the collages because of their translucence and vibrancy of color. I like the way the technique lends itself to abstract images. What do you think?








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