Pearl Harbor, USS Missouri, and Kamehameha!

Among the hassles of 70 men traveling together in close proximity for 16 days, illness! Yippee! There’s definitely a bug going around and we’re doing everything we can to cut it down. Traveling, waking up, speaking, just that much more effort exerted. Oh yeah, and it makes for difficult singing. But on a broader look at things, we may have arrived on the island for only five or six days at that point, but it’s easy to forget the first part of tour actually brings it to the tenth or eleventh day. Exhaustion sometime sets in, tempers run high and patience low. Just some of the things to keep each other accountable and in-check throughout tour. Best of luck to the small groups tours this summer from APU! What is it, six weeks?

One of the high points of this tour was the visit to Pearl Harbor and the performance at the USS Missouri! In the same way that these men and women in uniform stand side by side to defend our very freedom to wake up, walk, and sing that morning, here was our chance to stand as men, side by side, to honor and pay tribute to those fallen, especially in that very harbor on the 7th of December sixty-seven years ago.


With the Memorial of the USS Arizona in the background, we sang with a great verve that gave our liaison from the Missouri’s staff “chicken skin”. She was so joyous that we had the chance to sing on that pier, she barely got all her words out! There may not have been a big crowd, but it’s times like that that we realize, it does affect people, and if it can get to one person out there, then fulfilling our purpose.

There are some people we’re very grateful to have on tour with us. Andrea McAleenan, the special advisor to the President of APU, is the one who coordinated all these great opportunities for us, and opened the way for us to carry out the ministry of the choir to the island of Oahu. She’s worked tirelessly for hours on end to make sure those everything actually happens, and those bumps we feel along the road are nothing compared to what has actually been taken care of without us even knowing! We also have with us the wonderful staff of the School of Music too! It’s been a blessing to have them with us, I think they’re enjoying the performances each and every time, if I can tell by their faces while in the audience! Glad you could be with us!

We went onboard the Missouri and I definitely felt an air of respect for all the events that have happened aboard what is the only operational battleship still left in the world. The battles it has been in, the navy personnel who have made this their home, the surrender of the Japanese empire in 1945. Yes, the surrender deck was probably the high point of my visit; to imagine all those eyes on that day peering over the railings and from the bridge while in Tokyo Harbor, the efforts of those who died culminated into that very moment of triumph, not of either side, but of a peace signing that ended a long and very hard war.

Here’s some fun photos from aboard the Missouri! Check out some other photos from my Flickr photo album!

And for old times sake, I had to do this one and this one again…

On our way to perform and sing at the Pacific Aviation Museum, I met a couple who was with a Norwegian tour group who wanted to come hear us sing for a little while. Seeing our shirts with “Azusa Pacific” on them, they started talking to me about the Azusa Street Revival of 1906! Turns out they were a pentecostal group and they were excited to have been there to listen to us… you never know who might be listening sometimes!

As an interlude, Doug apparently had an incredible plate of Pineapple-Spam Fried Rice from the museum’s restaurant, and one of our buses broke down, prohibiting a small part of the group from traveling to the next destination.

As we walked along Punchbowl National Cemetary, our guide brought us by some of the notable names among those buried there. One that he explained quite briefly caught me right away: Ernest Taylor Pyle. Ernie was a solder of World War I, but it was during the second World War that he became known as a true gem of a journalist. Few have written in the manner that he has, and he captured the hearts of readers everywhere with his narrative style, having made his subjects so close and personal to the reader, allowing them to be enveloped in the circumstances and environment of his subject. I would not have caught this if it weren’t for my friend’s post on our community blog… thanks Hector! I encourage you to go and read it!

We ended the evening by visiting Kamehameha School, a very prominent traditional school of the island that only allows those to attend that have Hawaiian blood and heritage in them. It’s quite prestigious. In the chapel waiting for us was the Alumni Men’s Chorale, led by Aaron Mahi.

They had such a warm and friendly sound, I couldn’t help but smile as they sang traditional Hawaiian chants and other songs. It really painted the picture of the waves and water that the culture holds so dearly!

We then sang for them, and especially on Ka’ililauokekoa, there was a standing ovation! They loved it! In fact, they said they’ve heard the Yale Glee Club, and their sound was nothing like what we had produced that night! I mean… the chapel was pretty good sounding 🙂

Some photos courtesy of Brian Hadfield! Thanks!
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3 Comments »

  1. Andrea McAleenan said

    You captured so much of the aloha spirit in your retelling of our journey to Honolulu, Wen! It was my privilege to be with you. You have my deep respect.

    Mahalo nui loa,

    Andrea McAleenan

  2. Alex W. said

    Thanks Andrea, Mahalo nui loa for all you did for us… certainly hope to see you around campus this next year!

  3. […] wars of the twentieth century all over the world. I was able to visit Punchbowl Cemetery in Oahu last month, and now […]

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