Posts Tagged Waikiki

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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Day 8: and we’re off!

Aloha to everyone back on the mainland! Sorry, it’s been rather difficult to post entries because of the nature of this tour. Being settled in Honolulu for our week of performances isn’t quite the same as having all those hours on the road from place to place, so forgive me – but here’s another update! (I’ll get caught up very soon, so expect a few more things after this post)

Our eighth day on tour was Mother’s Day, so happy belated Mother’s Day to anyone reading! Funny how many times this year I heard about the commercialization of the holiday, to the dismay of its founder, who started it a century ago.

Morning Service

We begin this week with a rigorous schedule in store for us, and on Sunday morning, we sang for the morning service at Wesley United Methodist Church. The wonderful pastor’s wife is an alumnus of APU and the church warmly welcomed us by having a sweet elderly woman greet us with a lai and a kiss on the cheek!

After we sang a couple numbers, there was some liturgy and readings. It was simply beautiful the way they used creation and the ideas of the water surrounding them in relation to God. Aside from its poetic character, the reading was unnervingly calm and relaxing. Ah, Hawai’i.

Mother like a rock…?

So the pastor goes up to do the children’s message, the little ones sat on the steps in front, and the mother’s day message goes something like this:

“Boys and girls, mother is like many things. One of these is this pitcher of water. Why is mother like water?”
Boy: “She makes us not thirsty…”
“Good! And how is mother like this apple?”
Girl: “Because she keeps us healthy and feeds us!”
“Great! Now, why is mother like this rock or this stone?”
Other girl: “Because she is heavy!”

~Uh oh!~ Whoops, it was pretty entertaining watching the nice pastor avoid the little girl for the next set of questions!

Surfing the Nations

If you’ve heard of this organization before, you’ll know it’s a ministry centered around God and the 10/40 window through major surfing events and locales around the world. Through some connections with Andrea (our coordinator from APU’s Office of Advancement), we snagged an hour time slot smack dab in the middle of Waikiki beach!

The hosts on the stage for the two-day event by Surfing the Nations included an APU alumnus and there were others among the crowd as well. It was reported back that of both days, we had held the largest crowd, and had been heard all the way down the beach!

After some free time (my tan’s coming along if you’re wondering) we headed to New Life Church near Honolulu’s Chinatown district. This was a converted Chinese theater and was now a beautiful looking and sounding sanctuary for their services.

For tour this year, the concert on this night would be our final true church concert. The rest of this trip will consist of smaller singing engagements in a variety of other venues and with other groups. Since our last concert is usually, well, on our last day of tour, I sincerely did not expect some things tonight. For our graduated seniors, this would be the last church concert they do with the chorale, some of them having been a part of this for all four years! The night became a sentimental one, a very impacting one for those that were present. So there were some tears, lots of good laughs while on stage, all between the choir and the audience.

This was also the last night Terry and Nancy Franson would be with us. He was able to speak about APU’s impact on the life of Bryan Clay, Olympic Decathlon Medalist at Athens in 2004, the frontrunner to win gold in Beijing, and of course, APU alumnus. His family was able to attend our performance and Bryan’s mother spoke in the middle of the program, thanking the chorale for moving her so much that very evening.

Here’s a bonus little video of our moped adventures!

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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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