Art, music & letters rewind

2 03 2023

The National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) is a club for women who work professionally as fine artists, writers, and composers. What they have in common is the blank page to start.

When I was a reporter for The Honolulu Advertiser, during and after college, noted and respected writer Gwenfread Allen introduced me to the Honolulu Branch of NLAPW that held regular monthly meetings I enjoyed. Fine, but what I really enjoyed was meeting the Arts members. I wanted to be like them, and that’s what inspired me to take oil painting lessons from the now late Gloria Foss, followed by tissue-paper dying and collage-making workshops by Susan Rogers-Aregger, who has also passed. Currently I have an inventory of paintings and collages. The most recently completed collage “Crater View” has been juried into “Ultra III” at Pauahi Tower, 2nd  Floor Lobby, on exhibit from March 12 through May 11.

If you’re reading this, then you know I write a blog. It’s not my whole life; mostly I try to keep it upbeat. I’ve written about a lot of things, and if you scroll way way down, you’ll come to a search box. Plug in a topic and be surprised. I write a travel blog, too, “Popo Goes Abroad,” accessed from the menu bar.

As for music, I’m not composing nor arranging, but I really enjoy  my part as a chorister in the Windward Choral Society. The choir is currently rehearsing “Jubilate Deo” composed by Dan Forrest. We are scheduled to perform this major work—seven movements in seven different languages—at 4 pm, June 11, 2023, at Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu. Susan McCreary Duprey is the artistic director. Please mark your calendar!

Windward Choral Society

Be well.



Enjoy Hawaiian choral music tonight

12 03 2016

Kawaiahao Church is on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets. A plaque describes its construction

Festival venue: Kawaiaha‘o Church, on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets.

Aloha studio fans!

I am excited to perform tonight in “Ke Ahe Lau Makani,” a festival of Hawaiian choral music with the Royal Hawaiian Band, and I invite to you come and enjoy. The downbeat is at 6 p.m. in the sanctuary of Kawaiaha‘o Church on King street across from city hall in Honolulu. There is no admission charge to attend.

I perform with Kawaiolaonāpūkanileo, the host choir. Usually a small a cappella ensemble, for tonight we invited other individual singers and groups to join in. They are:

The Hawaiian Chorus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Gioventu Musicale Ensemble of the Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus, and the Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir.

Indeed, it will be a joyous occasion to perform Hawaiian music written by famous composers of the past, namely Queen Lili‘uokalani, and contemporary composers and arrangers.

This year’s festival honors and celebrates Prince Jonah Kalaniana‘ole for his birthday, the late composer Haunani Bernardino who gifted the festival with its name, and the late Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell who was on the core committee that initiated the collection of Lili‘uokalani’s mele, culminated in the printing of The Queen’s Song Book.

When you come you will be treated to so much more story and translation of Hawai‘i’s past in a most historical setting. Please bring a friend with you to come and hear the music!

Hard-working festival personnel are: Phil Hidalgo, festival coordinator; Nola A. Nahulu, artistic director; Buddy Nalua‘i, organist; Wendy Chang, pianist; and Clarke Bright, band master of the Royal Hawaiian Band. Mahalo!

Harmony and balance

26 02 2015

Aloha, studio fans. Today’s post is inspired by musical harmony and spiritual harmony. I don’t know why so many of us have struggles this season, but know that you are not alone. You are not saying so, because you are not a complainer, but I am aware that many friends are facing challenges now.

In whatever way you or someone you love is sidelined from regular activities and loving relationships, I hope that you will heal and find a way back to harmony, balance, and wellness. Not necessarily back to the former comfortable routine, but perhaps to something better and filled with more joy.

That is my wish for myself, too. It is a time to consider a new direction, perhaps. A reconstruction project at home and trying to age gracefully (oh, my) when inside I feel much younger is why I’m adjusting, but I won’t bore you with all that! 😉

One of the things that gives me joy is good music, or making good music, to be more exact. Singing with a choir for me is like pressing a reset button because of the sounds our voices make, because of the way the singers have to listen to each other to blend in harmony, and because of the “high” we come away with after a good rehearsal or performance. Choral singing requires being in the moment, and for the moment any other worries, anxieties, or fears are put aside. That brings me to:

Travel tip:Ke Ahe Lau Makani” (The Comforting Gentleness of the Spreading Wind)

You are cordially invited to a concert of sacred Hawaiian choral music at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 at Kawaiahao Church, King and Punchbowl streets in Honolulu. Admission is free.

The concert will be the culmination of “Ke Ahe Lau Makani,” a Hawaiian music festival that takes place from 2 p.m. on the same day. The Royal Hawaiian Band will accompany a new choral number. Kawaiolaonapukanileo, the music ensemble directed by Nola A. Nahulu, sponsors the event.

Anyone who wishes to sing, individual or choir, may participate. Included in the festival fee of $20 per person for March 7 festival are a music packet, rehearsal from 2 to 5 p.m., and a picnic of Hawaiian food on the lawn at 5 p.m. Registration is due by March 2.

Another rehearsal is scheduled for Monday, March 2, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Na Mea Hawaii store at Ward Warehouse in Honolulu. Attendance will give singers an advantage to learning the music—some familiar, others not—written or arranged by Hawaiian composers.

My first exposure to Hawaiian choral music was as a child, with my parents, who took me to Sunday service at Kawaiahao Church. In those days the choir sang from the loft in the back of the sanctuary with harmonious voices, energetic and strong. Hawaiian voices comprised then and now a unique and beautiful blend. My mother, a piano teacher, pointed all this out to me. My father, a Hawaiian, simply came along and appreciated the music.

Some of the anthems on the March 7 program are part of the Kawaiahao Church Choir repertoire. This church choir and other choirs will be singing together, and with you, too, if you come. I hope you will!

Kawaiahao Church is on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets. A plaque describes its construction

Kawaiahao Church is on the corner of King and Punchbowl streets. I’m singing with Kawaiolaonapukanileo here in the March 7 Hawaiian choral music festival.

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke



Music, music, music

24 08 2014

A musical summer. That’s what I’m having. A time to renew friendships, too. I’m back in the studio and excited to tell what’s been happening!

Since making the 12-foot-long lei for the Pacific Cup yachts—I went for the third time to sing and conduct with Prof. Rod Eichenberger in Cannon Beach, Oregon, a pilgrimage made by at least a hundred choir directors and music educators from all over the globe every summer. For me, and apparently many others, it is addicting to learn from the master, who has taught his tried-and-true method for 60 years. Each year he also shares what he learned the earlier 12 months. He teaches how to get a good sound out of a choir, how to save rehearsal time, and how to manage a choir.

Five days, almost 200 pieces of new music from publishers to sight-read, 20 “student” conductors—some already are extremely accomplished, wow! so very humbling—and a public concert on the fifth night. I am sort of misfit, neither an active choir director nor music educator, although I have done some of it. Love working on my skills. Of course, by way of introduction, folks ask, “What do you do?”  I’m a choral singer!


Me and Rod after the concert

It was fun to see familiar faces and to talk about the music culture. Everyone is so busy during the academic year. Summer is a great time to catch up. It’s like a retreat or music camp in a resort venue. Next year’s Choral Conductors Workshop is already scheduled for the last week of July 2015. Interested?

While in Oregon I visited with Jon and my hanai sister Margaret in Tualatin who graciously loaned me their van to drive to the beach, and who took care of me when I returned after the workshop with no speaking voice. I think it was a “bug” I picked up on the plane.

I love Facebook. A new friend, Kasey who lives nearby, posted a call for singers to join the noted 12-member Hawaiian choir Kawaiolaonāpūkanileo this season. The director calls it “project-based singing.” I asked to join and was accepted!

The first event is “Onipa‘a,” at 11 a.m., on Sunday, Aug. 31, at ‘Iolani Palace, Honolulu, celebrating Queen Lili‘uokalani’s birthday. We are singing her compositions as well as some songs written about/for her. These are in the Hawaiian language, and we are singing all the verses! So thankful I practiced with Rod last month.

‘Iolani Palace

‘Iolani Palace

The second project is “‘Emalani II,” a Hawaiian opera: two performances—3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu. Other choirs have roles, too.

Understandably, one has to commit to all the rehearsals. Luckily, there are none in September, so I can go with DH to Pennsylvania for his high school reunion, to visit his family there,  and to call on our friends in Massachusetts. Road trip!

My high school alumni glee club resumes rehearsing after the summer break, too. It will be great to sing and perform with the gang. I love music!

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

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