Thanksgiving feted in song
Toward the end of October each year, I fight to avert my eyes from the holiday trimmings that seem to invade stores earlier and earlier. If not for the reason that holiday shopping should be delayed for a bit, then at least for the more justified reason that we've yet to celebrate Thanksgiving.
» Featuring: Honolulu Symphony Chorus, Hawai'i Youth Opera Chorus, Kawaiaha'o Church Choir, Kawaiolaonapukanileo and organist R. Buddy Naluai
» Conducted by: Nola A. Nahulua, Aaron Mahi
» In concert: 7 p.m. Wednesday
» Place: Kawaiaha'o Church, 957 Punchbowl St.
» Admission: Free; no reservations required
» Call: 524-0815, ext. 257
Very fitting, then, is this week's community concert with the Honolulu Symphony Chorus on Thanksgiving Eve. The chorus will perform the choral masterpiece "Gloria," by French composer Francis Poulenc. While deeply spiritual in its text and message, "Gloria" also varies in melody and mood, from solemn reverence to delight and elation. It is a celebratory, seasonal work that fits in perfectly with Thanksgiving. But unlike some holiday music, it's not overplayed, so hearing it performed live is pure delight.
The "Gloria" concert at historic Kawaiaha'o Church is free and open to everyone. Feel free to come on your own or bring a friend -- we will all enjoy a break from the seasonal hullabaloo.
The concert is a wonderful opportunity to experience exquisite music by a composer who was inspired by life experiences and religious feeling. Poulenc used his musical genius to create a work that will take you for a moving, inspirational and joyous ride. At the end you will wonder how the time passed so quickly. When you abandon yourself to this great work, you can understand Poulenc's strong sense of hope, peace and reverence. "Gloria" imparts a feeling of thankfulness for life itself.
The annual "Gloria" concert would not be complete without the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, performing the "Gloria" by Antonio Vivaldi. The Kawaiaha'o Choir, together with a cappella ensemble Kawaiolaonapukanileo, will present music by composers John McCreary and the late Rev. Abraham Akaka.
Together, we hope to encourage and perpetuate enriching performing-arts experiences for people of all ages and from all parts of our island home.
As part of its community outreach, the Youth Opera Chorus will be busing in children from outlying areas to share the experience of live, choral music. The children will also enjoy a tour of Kawaiaha'o Church and a dinner hosted by the Youth Opera Chorus.
Without as much fanfare as the December holidays, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to quiet the mind and reflect on the truly important and genuine blessings that abound. The feeling is solemn, but with a refreshing sense of newness and optimism, too. We invite you to celebrate Thanksgiving with beautiful music at the "Gloria" concert.
Ross Taosaka is executive director of the Oahu Choral Society.