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








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