Posts Tagged Honolulu

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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Day 6-7: I fell in love with Honolulu…

With an early start to our Hawai’i part of tour, a good chunk of us (chunk? Really?) just stayed up all night. Oh, and have you seen 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl in it? No comment… kept me awake, at least. Ok… ’twas charmingly cliche. The first thing I noticed on Hawaiian Airlines: the flight attendants. I don’t know whether to be a little put-off or a little engaged into the expectations of the Hawaiian culture and its personalities. I mean, they were wonderful and nice, just… very poignant and forward. HIM: “What’s it gonna be for ya?” ME: “Was that some type of passionfruit or guava juice?” HIM: “Yea, both.” ME: “Hey that’s great. I’ll have that, thanks!” HIM: “Yea. Here.” (Oh, very heavy voice indeed though. Think Laurence Fishbourne. Mad.)

The one thing that probably still gets to my head is this juxtaposing disparity between man, civilization, buildings on this tropical backdrop with surreal blockbuster-material mountain tops. Somehow it works.

Our first afternoon + second day here essentially were free days. We got to explore, take it all in. Definitely took advantage of that with the best $40 I’ve spent in a long time. One word: MOPED. Yes, Mo-ped!

With our liability forms signed away cards charged, Eric, Jessie, Michael and I probably had our most incredible tour experiences to date within the first few hours of reaching the Waikiki Beach area!!! To take it out for a spin, we readily challenged our new-found mo-ped skills on Highway 72 (they do max out at about 30 mph) and went around the southeastern corner of the island of Oahu. The further we went, the more I was at a loss of words. Without fail, every hill we went over completely unfolded a grand horizon of blue skies, ocean, and green cliffs that were majestically incomparable. Open air, open road, open to the wind in your face and the smells of the middle of the Pacific Ocean! I though this only happened in movies, especially cruising downtown Honolulu in the night. The lights were glamorous, the buildings towering; it was us in Vice City the game. WOW.

Of course, we can’t be selfish and not share this joyous experience with other guys… so the next morning, six more joined our little moped gang. Quite a sight to see ten guys in line, riding across down in these little things… today however, we stopped around a couple incredible spots as well. I must say, I held up alright considering ten of us stayed together on Highway 61 through the inland mountains with a minimum speed requirement at 40 mph. Oh, and I was just about empty on fuel. Going uphill. With a scenic spot to stop at, of course. (We made it to the next city. And I did so barely)

And so the evening came, and for what seem like days of not seeing each other, the whole chorale finally convened for our first event in Hawai’i. We met with Aaron Mahi, director of music and many other things at the Kamehameha Schools. He led us through a few of our Hawaiian centered songs wonderfully and filled us in on some background information on the pieces.

Among the parents present, APU’s Dean of Student Life, Terry Franson, joins us for a couple days, and of course, Andrea from the Office of Advancement is with us. She tirelessly made this tour happen. Period. Her connections spurred on great events, invitations, and performance opportunities we could not have imagined. Incredible woman that we owe much gratitude towards.

Click here for more photos from our tour!

Well, here’s a little video summary. Hope to do more of these, whaddya think?

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