My choral (and) conducting gurus

28 01 2020

Mark Hayes with me and Rev. Danette Kong in the pink lei

This past weekend I attended a three-day choral music workshop by well-known pianist-composer Mark Hayes. Keawalaʻi Congregational Church at Mākena, Maui, founded in 1832, was the venue.

My takeaway, literally, was a folio of sacred and secular music and a series of published articles on how to improvise at the piano. I later found all of the “Improv Notes” on the www.markhayes.com website. One can download them for free.

I am reminded of other times in Honolulu and at Cannon Beach, OR, when I was fortunate as a chorister to sing under the baton of Rodney Eichenberger who is associated with Florida State University. He has coined the motto “what they see is what they get.” I found a Facebook page named “The Rodney Eichenberger Cult.” Indeed, he has a following!

I mined the internet and found “The Life and Philosophy of Choral Conductor Rodney Eichenberger, Including a Detailed Analysis and Application of His Conductor-Singer Gestures” by Adam Jonathan Con. The preview of the book at books.google.com is a fine description.

I’m now inspired to sing in a spring concert with my group, the Windward Choral Society, this February 9, at 4 pm, at St. John Vianney Parish in Kailua, Oahu. We will be singing African-American, spiritual, and gospel numbers. Susan McCreary Duprey directs.

The best part of the weekend on Maui was meeting up with my cousins Rev. Danette Kong, who is the music director at Keawalaʻi Congregational Church, and Steven Lum and Prince Steven who came from Oahu and joined us at this beautiful spot.

Looking toward East Maui from Mākena

Keawalaʻi Congregational Church

L to r: cousins Steven, Prince, Rebekah, and Danette

~ Rebekah





Good-bye 2019, hello 2020

31 12 2019

WAIMĀNALO — We came to Joe and Girly’s on New Year’s Eve again this year. Ono grinds, kanikapila with friends in the garage, and fireworks display from the backyard. It’s perfect.

Their dog Izzie waited and ran back and forth with each of the loud booms from late afternoon and into the night.

Izzie

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Aloha,
Rebekah





Music of the Christmas season

12 12 2019

Christmas music is getting me into the spirit, and I’d like to share the experiences with you.

• Come early for a seat to hear the 100-voice choir I sing in, the Windward Choral Society, at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. John Vianney Church at 920 Keola Drive in Kailua, Oahu.

“For a Breath of  Ecstasy” composed by Michael John Trotta with lyrics by Sara Teasdale will be under the baton of Artistic Director Susan McCreary Duprey and accompanied by Pianist Thomas Yee, Organist Jieun Newland, and other talented instrumentalists from around the island.

Open to the public. Freewill donations accepted.

Other choral works include repertoire from Argentina, Canada, France, Japan, America (to include an early American Shaker tune and a piece in Hebrew), South Africa, and Hawaiʻi.

• This Friday, our granddaughters will perform in the Le Jardin Academy student Christmas programs on campus.

• On Saturday evening, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus at Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu is offering up Christmas tunes starting 7 p.m. Admission free.

• Prior to the above evening event, I’ll be helping out the Windward Choral Society at Barnes & Nobel bookstore in a fundraiser for the choir. Just make a purchase and mention WCS to the cashier.

• In a members-and-guests only event, a music program will follow the  Christmas Dinner at Kaneohe Yacht Club. We’re piggybacking on this occasion with another couple to celebrate Darling Husband’s birthday.

• Washington Place, the Governor’s official mansion, has our name on a guest list. So fancy.

• And into the new year is a three-day workshop on Maui led by well-known visiting composer Mark Hayes.

Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year! Yahoo!

~ Rebekah

 





All Hawaiʻi, stand together…

27 07 2019

Our people singing on Mauna Kea





Kū Kia‘i Mauna

18 07 2019

Stand, protectors of Mauna Kea.  Eo!

In my head and in my heart all day long is the ho‘ōho (call) of “Kū Ha‘aheo E Ku‘u Hawai‘i,” a contemporary Hawaiian anthem composed by Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong. Here is the link:

https://youtu.be/mkjSeDhpcRs

Kū ha‘aheo e ku‘u Hawai‘i

Mamaka kaua o ku‘u ‘āina

‘O ke ehu kakahiaka o nā ‘oiwi o Hawai‘i nei

No ku‘u lahui e hā‘awi pu a i ola mau

 

Stand tall my Hawai‘i

Band of warriors of my land

The new dawn for our people of

Hawai‘i is upon us

For my nation I give my all so

that our legacy lives on

 

 





The magic of Carnegie Hall

17 06 2019

The Lincoln High School Harmonics choir from San Jose, CA, performed at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City last Saturday night. What a thrill, not only to perform there, but to be part of a combined National Concert Chorus made up of ensembles from eleven schools (ranging from boys’ choir to some older adult singers), as well as to be conducted under the baton of two dynamic and sought-after conductors—Andrew W. Minear and Jeffrey Benson (read “rock star”).

For the theme “Reflections on Unity,” still images were projected onto the back wall of the stage, making use of the width and height of the wall for great impact.

L O V E   (photographed during a rehearsal)

For the finalé, the stage was not big enough for all the choirs and a full concert band plus two ballet dancers, so some singers sang on the audience level in front of the stage, and some were in the balcony—left, right, and center—for an amazing surround sound.

Red upholstered seats in Carnegie Hall

Oh, the acoustics of Carnegie Hall! They are so fine that Ricola cough drops are offered to theater-goers as they pass through the lobby to their seats. Nice touch!

The Lincoln High School Harmonics in their concert blacks after their magical performance, with Carnegie Hall lighted in the background.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Besides teaching music, Anne-Marie Katemopoulos, or Miss K as her students call her, teaches life skills.

Anne-Marie Katemopoulos

She drills them hard so they learn to be independent and know how to survive in the big city. For example: how to take the subway and how to transfer trains. That came in handy. I was one of seven chaperones on the trip. One time, probably during rush hour, half of the students boarded the train without a chaperone when the doors closed! No need to worry. The kids waited for the other half of us at the transfer point. Good job!

Another example: how to navigate the city—avenues vs. streets; which way is uptown or downtown. We did a lot of walking. No wonder there are so many specialty stores selling socks!

One of the chaperones was my roommate Peggy Mahoney, an ObGyn, parent, and contributor to Lincoln High School. Her medical knowledge came in handy. Apparently, with experience, Miss K can predict when students’ health will weaken on an excursion like this.

In New York, dare I say around the world, everyone has a smart phone. Whatever the boss uses, everyone must use too. So we all had our phones, and it seemed as though we checked them at least every 30 minutes for updated instructions. It is “standard equipment” these days. Everyone also had an app that pinpointed everyone’s whereabouts on a map for the group leaders.

A school policy is the power and safety of threes. No one was allowed out of the hotel home base unless s/he was in a group of three. We had daily morning meetings in person and debriefings at night.

Anne-Marie Katemopoulos is a hard worker who invests in the future of her students.

Interesting to know: When a Lincoln HS alumnus now working in The Big Apple asked who wanted to pursue a career on Broadway, where one needs to be not just a triple threat of singer-dancer-actor, but also offer a fourth talent such as instrumentalist, only one student raised his hand. He was a starry-eyed freshman. 😉





It’s sunny in New York City

15 06 2019


June 15, 2019—It’s sunny in New York City, and I am here as a chaperone with a choir from Lincoln High School of San Jose, CA. The young choristers perform tonight at the National Concerts music festival program at Carnegie Hall. It’s so exciting!

I was invited to come along by director Anne-Marie Katemopoulos, who I met at a choral conductors conference a few summers ago.

We have seen seen two shows—“King Kong” and “Beetlejuice “—and independently we stood in line for discounted tickets to “My Fair Lady” at the tickets booth in Times Square.

Anne-Marie Katemopoulos, left, at one of her briefings

Times Square tickets booth

Times Square, looking toward the ball that drops on New Year’s Eve

While the choir was in rehearsal, we chaperones had free time in The Big Apple.

Seven chaperones total: me, Vanessa, Mike, Heidi, Peggy, and Andrea. (Missing: Garret). Most had students assigned to them. I was invited as an “extra overall.”  Some of the “chaps” were parents, others were connected to the school. Stay tuned for my next post from Carnegie Hall!








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