Posts Tagged Diamond Head

Some interesting performances…

After our trip to Diamond Head, a few of us decided to make the run up Diamond Head like some of the joggers that crossed our path earlier! Wednesday morning started off quite exhilarating! Until those stairs of course… going from a full run and skipping off rocks and ledges to a … nice complete grappling of the stair railings, one step at a time! Phew…

Aside: if you ever get a chance to try coconut pancakes WITH a coconut syrup, then do it. 🙂

Wednesday night’s big event was the famous Kawaiaha’o Church. Likened as the Westminster Abbey of the Pacific, it has a simple, colonial grandeur to it that made a very warm sound for performances. This night was the first annual Na Kane concert ever. Translation? “The Men”. It brought together the Honolulu Youth Opera Chorus, the Somoan Gospel Heralds, Aaron Mahi’s Alumni Glee Club of the Kamehameha School (who we’d rehearsed with the night before), and a barbershop choir, The Sounds of Aloha. The night ended with a full combined choir performance of Honolulu by Neil McKay featuring the very famous Hawaiian dancer, Kanoe Miller!

Our preparation for it got a little interesting however. With no group rehearsals ahead of time, the dress for the concert was a bit confusing. Turns out every group had their hawaiian shirts and slacks on, and we had arrived in our coat tails! Alas, it was too hot in the building for jackets; our tuxes with the white shirts and kakui nut necklaces looked pretty darn good.

The next day, we took a smaller group to visit Castle High, the school where Bryan Clay attended before coming APU. It was a bit of work singing all morning for the students, but we had fun. The first was a polynesian music classes that included a ukulele army with a few guitars and vocalists. As they played a few songs for us, we all couldn’t help but notice how relaxed their sound was! It just made me happy… the singing in Hawaiian, the ukuleles,… yes, I can see it now. Palm trees and white sand. Perfect. We finished the high school visit by checking out their wind ensemble rehearsal and the track team, gave some promo material, and headed onto our next performance with the rest of the chorale.

The First Presbyterian Church on Oahu was on a golf course, one of the hardest in the world, I hear… the Ko’olau Golf Course. It was a beautiful location, Jurassic Park seemed to be right outside the window. Unfortunately, the VOG wasn’t helping. The middle of this week brought a smog mixture of volcanic ash from the big island; a volcano had gone off and the wind blew the stuff over to this island. I don’t think most of us felt it as much as all the newspaper headlines were yelling out. We’re from LA after all. Well, we were to perform that evening, along with two other musical groups. Our numbers were at the beginning, and the very end.

What happened next was pretty amazing for most of us. Having finished the performance, the audience, other bands, and all of us shared some fellowship time with baked goods and coffee. A lady came up to me quite flustered asking for a schedule of our next performance, so I told her and she went on her way.

As the last people left for the night, we were getting ready to board the bus. A few whistles from Harold brought us all back into the lobby of the building. There was the lady I had spoken to along with her husband. They had driven for hours to get here tonight, but had lost there way and made it just in time to catch the last few chords of the performance! We couldn’t let that go now… an impromptu concert came about and we circled the couple in a round and sang for them. Wow, first, what joy we had brought them, a special performance for them. Secondly, what joy we sang with. To repeat what other guys said later that night, we seldom sing so freely and without any hindrance!

Turns out the gentleman is head of something at the Salvation Army and they were from England. Who knows how the chorale will be used in the future, especially having him express how he’d like to keep in contact and use us!

On another note, I wonder how many people know about this. So, all the rage for the last few days has been Cha Cha. Do you know Cha Cha? Got a question? You should ask Cha Cha.

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Day 9: Diamond Head, Downtown, and Recording!

Wow, what a start to the day! Hiking Diamond Head with a few guys and Terry Franson to start the morning off! About twenty of us took the 30-minute hike up for some spectacular views of both the south and the east coast of Oahu from the summit! There were some stairs (fun…) that went through tunnels and bunkers from when the crater used to be a point of defense for the island.

At the top of Diamond Head, we got in a round and began to sing Holy, Holy, Holy. With a view of the whole tip of the island, the chorus rose louder and louder. It was so freeing doing that in view of God’s creation and the strangers around us taking everything in as well.

Our next performance was at Bishop Square in downtown Honolulu. It was a beautiful area in the middle of the business district, so we had some fun people-watching as we set up risers and speakers among the high rises.

I also found a bird that just sat there in the middle of all the guys while we set up. Didn’t move for a few minutes, just chillin’. Even the birds here relax… I could learn something here!

There were people coming by, stopping, going, so it felt sparse, but it’s always incredible hearing a gentleman coming up to us afterwards saying how blessed he was and that he needed this so much. We never really know what we do in the moment, but we just trust that God does open up a lot of ways for this ministry to be as effective as it is!

We were also greeted by General Irwin Cockett and his colleague. Quite an honor receiving their compliments as the first Hawaiian general of the US Navy, as I understand. Even better? They liked our pronunciation on the song Ka’ililauokekoa! Score!

After we sang downtown, one of the guys received a text message from our friend and brother, Lucas. He couldn’t be with us on tour because of a significant surgery for his lungs this morning. He had been in our prayers for this situation for months now, and it had come down to this hour. The text was from Lucas himself saying the surgery had been successful and he is recovering without too much pain! We stood there in the middle of the city, arms over each other and just gave praise for this good news!!! Lucas, we’re glad you’ve come through and that the Lord does answer our prayers. Hope that you have a restful and quick recovery! We miss  having you with us!

After singing and eating at Bishop square, I sat with a few guys, Andrew, Josh, Daniel and myself. There was a nice elderly lady who came up to us and asked plenty of questions… her name? Barbara. Swingin’ Babs… that is! She kept telling us she liked hanging out with the younger, hipper crowd; of course, she loved dancing, been doing it since she was little and never needed to diet… she told us to drink water and ice tea (with our sodas in hand). But she sure was fun to talk to… we took a few pictures, got some hugs and she went on her way, saying how much we made her week! With the hugs she gave us, she said we need to always be accepting of hugs. If we can’t, then maybe we need to find a way to be able to do so. Some truth in that, eh?

We went from there straight to the State Capitol building. Not at all what we expected. The architecture of the building resembles a volcano, so the building was an open building. So much for a ‘rotunda’! We still sang in the center of it

With the evening left, we got to look forward to our recording session in the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. This beautiful sanctuary had a nice warm sound and a long reverb to it that just gave us goosebumps,… or chicken skin as some people on the island have put it!

As we prepared for recording, we were filled with excitement, yet exhausted from the full day of performing, walking, thinking about what’s ahead. It was pretty difficult to keep the energy going as 9 p.m. rolled around, the sanctuary was just a tad toasty (and by toasty, I mean locker room toasty, whatever that entails!).

Among one of the pieces recorded was our Hawaiian number, Ka’ililauokekoa. Try saying that. Now, three times in a row. Now use it in a sentence. 🙂 Props to Harold for getting it pretty well when we perform it also… As we neared the end of our recording session, we pulled together and did something that astounds me each and every time. When it’s time to get down to business, the chorale gets this energy and focus that gets us incredibly in-the-moment! We pound out this piece that has gotten us flustered and worried on pronunciation and articulation, but it’s tonight that we really nail it and bring it home! Be sure to look for it on our next album… it’s become one of our favorite pieces since we came on tour!

Anyway, I’m sure the church organist had to air out the cathedral after.

Some photos courtesy of Jessie Bullock and his dad. Thanks!

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