Performing Arts at Calvary student Miranda Lum, right, and classmates rehearse a song from a play to be presented to the church's congregation tomorrow to celebrate the church's 50th anniversary.

The calvary has

A church places performing arts
at the heart of its 50th-anniversary

The performing arts will mix with prayer and preaching tomorrow when members and friends of Calvary-by-the-Sea Lutheran Church celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aina Haina church.

There will be classical choral compositions by Beethoven and Mozart, songs written for the event by island artists Jon Osorio and Bruce Kau, and small folk tunes by the Calvary Montessori Preschool students.

And there will be dance and dramatics. Youngsters in Performing Arts at Calvary have practiced choreographed moves from the musical "A Star Is Born," and a few young teenagers from the troupe will act in their own dramatic interpretation about worship. Sacred dance and hula will be offered by Na Wahine O Ke Kai Ola.

"We will be honoring our history and proclaiming our future," said Arthur Harvey, director of music and worship. "We are historically known as a church that celebrates music."

The 9 a.m. service tomorrow at 5339 Kalanianaole Highway will cap a full weekend that includes a 4 p.m. service today at which the Rev. Tim Mason will be installed as the new pastor, and an evening luau. The Rev. Murray Finck, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's Pacific Synod, will participate, as will other Lutheran pastors.

Mason, who has served at Lutheran churches in Japan since 1991, will succeed the Rev. Doug Olson, who retired two years ago after 34 years as pastor.

Calvary has evolved as a leader in fostering the performing arts in worship, said Harvey, who has put his energy into that process for eight years. An ordained Baptist minister, he has been involved in music ministry for more than 40 years. He is also an assistant professor in the University of Hawaii Music Department.

Kiana Lum also was among the children at the recent rehearsal.

"Worship is the ultimate experience," said Harvey, who works to take that experience beyond the usual sing-along with the choir. Working with him are drama director Julie Okumura and choreographer Lisa Kimsey, who founded a dance school, the Movement Center, as an outgrowth of the church program. The local chapter of the national Sacred Dance Guild also got its start at Calvary.

Harvey said the former kahu was a strong supporter of the program. Olson launched an annual "Clown Sunday" using a clown guise to give a scriptural message in an entertaining format. "He had the trust in our integrity to allow us to create things that another pastor might not," Harvey said.

"Humans respond to God as they understand God," Harvey said. "A person has a mind, emotions and a body. Preaching responds to the cognitive element.

"The appeal to the emotions comes from the aesthetics of the setting -- the cross, the candles, the flowers.

"For the physical side, that's where we use dance, as a nonverbal way to worship God," he said.

Performing Arts at Calvary Director Lisa Kimsey gives some direction to her players in preparation for tomorrow's performance.

Many mainline Christian churches balk at the use of dance or gesture, believing that it spins a religious event away from worship of God into entertainment that turns the congregation into an audience.

"Historically they have ruled out the role of emotions and the body in worship," said Harvey, "which is why churches lose kids, especially teenagers."

The Performing Arts at Calvary program for children 13 and younger provides a way to learn and express biblical principles, he said.

"Nonverbal expression can convey an experience more than words are able to do," he said. "We make strong use of as many art forms as possible."

"Worship is important to all ages, and for people of different emotional and intellectual levels," Harvey said. That's why there are four different songbooks in each pew.

"What we take out of this ultimate experience enables Christians to guide others, teach and offer services."

The anniversary service is a sampler of activities that continue throughout the year:

» Calvary offers free public concerts several times a year and invites visiting choirs and bands to perform at services.

» Harvey brings in about 100 UH elementary-education students to debut as guest conductors at an annual December sing-along.

» Another popular event is the "Eine Kleine Keiki Musik" concert, at which young children may wander among symphony musicians for a close-up view of the sources of the sounds.

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.



E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com