Posts Tagged pearl harbor

Where’s the crowd?

One of the dynamics of this tour being so different has been the audiences we sing for. As grateful as we are to be in a beautiful place like Hawaii sharing our ministry, it is hard to suppress some frustrations that have run its course through a good part of the chorale.

What’s made this tour a bit different?

We’ve performed in public venues for come-and-go crowds, not church concerts. It’s not quite our normal routine, and it may feel like it’s outside of the normal ministry that we are to do. Almost all of the places we have sung in so far feels as though we lack a crowd, and it can feel incredibly disappointing.

Surf the Nations on Waikiki beach with a few people in front of the stage and some little kids.

The performance at New Life Church.

Bishop Square Downtown.

Pearl Harbor’s Aviation Museum.

There’s more… but here’s the point. The crowd may feel sparse, but each and every time we’ve sung under these circumstances, I’ve realized after the fact that to say it was fruitless is completely false. At this point, I will cease to believe that a performance is fruitless even if there is ONE person there because of what I’ve seen and heard now.

Surf the Nations? Well, turns out the organizers of the event said we held the biggest crowd over the two-day event and were heard all the way down Waikiki Beach, sharing Jesus Christ over the loudspeakers! Where was this crowd? They had settled in the shade on the grass right behind the stage! Not one of us knew it walking away, disappointed, but they were there! The name of Christ through those loudspeakers in one of Hawaii’s most popular destinations. Better believe it.

New Life Church? If that didn’t bring all the local people associated with APU for the alumni gathering and concert that evening, it became a blessing for those that were there. The parents with us, the school staff, the founders of Surf the Nation,… I could go on.

Bishop Square? People may have come and gone during their lunch hour from work, but a man came up to Harold saying how much he needed to hear us and the effect it had on his heart.

Then the Aviation Museum? Let’s not discount the museum staff that was behind that video camera. I’m sure the gift shop that was just a wall away heard us. Who knows how many ears we’ll have reached and and who we’ll encounter!

As an example, the other night at the First Presbyterian Church, we finished singing our number in a joint concert with a band. As we met and greeted people afterwards, a couple came up asking for our performance schedule, very flustered. Not knowing, I just directed them to our table and they received a schedule. Not more than 30 minutes later as we were about to leave on the busses, a whistle from Harold brought us all back into the building. Right in the lobby was that same couple. They had driven for over an hour or two, lost their way, and made it just in time for the last five chords of our performance!

Right there in that lobby, we embraced them by circling around them, and began singing. Ending with Holy, Holy, Holy and the Amen chorus, the gentleman then prayed for us. I later found out he heads up part of the Salvation Army, so he might’ve been a really big deal, and he wants to use us. And they were from England. Just goes to show, who knows what could be in store for the chorale down the road.

If this can be any encouragement to our guys that are reading, or anyone out there for that matter performing, ears do get reached, and in this sense, the Holy Spirit definitely comes in play, whether our minds are tired, our voices fatigued, our bodies exhausted from being on the road for fifteen days. What little we can give, turns into a lot for those sitting beyond the stage. We just don’t know so many times.

I just finished a book, Dispatches from the Edge, by CNN anchor and correspondent, Anderson Cooper. In a very telling memoir of his journeys through Niger, the Tsunami, Iraq, and then Katrina, he opens himself up to an incredible place of vulnerability and recounts his childhood, the incredible losses in his family, and his urge to keep moving from place to place. At one point about hurricane Katrina, he mentions all the loss that he saw. Yet the networks had given him wonderful ratings and viewership and told him to ‘keep it up’. From what he says, it seems like he never cared, understood, needed the ratings. He needed to help these people. Reminded me of what we’re doing here. We’re continually blessing people with our voices whether we recognize it or not.

If it’s also any consolation, the first part of our tour was in northern California. One of our bus drivers, Marie, told a couple of us at the very last concert in Napa, “I really needed this.” She didn’t come expecting it, but she needed this so much, she quietly passed onto us. Wow. This is what happens. She had come along and heard our performance for those five days on tour. “What do you wanna do this Mother’s day mom,” she said her daughter will ask. “I’m going to church!”

‘Nough said.

So whether it’s singing for what seems to be about 15 people in the audience, or some public park waterfall overtakes your sound, or waking up at 5 a.m. (Harold and Andrea!) for a television station interview, it isn’t fruitless. Maybe it takes a lot to trust that this might have touched someone and something could come to fruition a decade from now. This tour has been different. We usually minister to God’s own people in churches, and it is encouraging. But this time around, we were out by the streets, in the malls, on the beaches. What more opportunities could we have asked for? We’ll see, right?

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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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