Sounds of Aloha's blog
Song and romance were in the Oahu air again for 2023's round of Sounds of Aloha Hawaii Singing Valentines! This is always such fun for our singers as well as our recipients and customers. Plenty of laughter, smiles, tears, cheers, and blushing, as usual. This year, quartets were available from February 11 through 14 to deliver two love songs, a rose, and a card with the sender’s message to his or her sweetheart. As always, the experience was as affordable as it was memorable!
One very special delivery was to Gloria Drayton, whose husband, SOA member Hank Drayton, led our Singing Valentines program for many years -- always with a big assist from Gloria. It was about time she received one herself!
During the last two holiday seasons before the pandemic, SOA offered "A Gift of Song" free performances in collaboration with the Kawaiaha'o Church. These concerts were so warmly received that we expressed the hope this might become an ongoing tradition. Fate had other things in store in 2020 and 2021, but we were overjoyed on December 11, 2022, to have this opportunity again -- in the month that marked the 75th anniversary of our chorus!
In addition to the chorus, we were pleased to showcase five of our quartets: Funny Bones, H4, 21 North, VHF, and 19th Avenue:
An octet from the Sounds of Aloha Chorus performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" and "Hawai'i Pono'i" at a special Veterans Day sunset ceremony onboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, an event that concluded Veterans Day observances across the nation. The ceremony featured a special tribute to “Celebrate the 160th Anniversary of the Medal of Honor, and Legacy of an American Hero and Statesman, Daniel K.
The first Sounds of Aloha dinner cabaret since before the pandemic reminded everyone why we all loved this event! Another full house of diners, listeners, and sing-along-ers gathered on Saturday, August 26, at St. Pius X Parish in Mānoa Valley for a super fun evening. The excellent spaghetti dinner prepared by SOA Musical Director and Head Chef Mark Conching and his musical sous chefs was followed by a performance of love songs by the chorus and quartets. In such an informal setting, a standing ovation means a lot!
This cabaret was another opportunity for us to share with our supporters, new and old, how grateful we are for their staying plugged in with us during our recent banishment to the web --and reemerging with us into the live world!
For quite a few years the Sounds of Aloha proudly provided music for the annual Mayor's Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Pūowaina (Punchbowl). The COVID pandemic interrupted that tradition for the past two years, and we resorted to a virtual tribute. But we were pleased this year that the event was back on!
After two years of lock-down, on May 7, 2022 the Sounds of Aloha Chorus brought back its Annual Show! This year's production was an original musical melodrama, a western comedy called "Rhinestone Rides Again!" The audience was invited to dress in western garb themselves and, like in any good melodrama, cheer for the chivalrous hero Rhinestone and his horse Bruce, boo and hiss for the dastardly villain Black Bart, and sigh for the plucky heroine Sweet Sue. Joined by guest performers Miguel Cadoy, Stephanie Conching, Sophie LeFebvre, Peggy Wagner, and Plaid-itude, a women's barbershop quartet formed just for the occasion, the chorus guys and quartets H4, Funny Bones, and VHF spun a yarn full of great songs and laughs.
For the second year in a row, Sounds of Aloha quartets delivered safely sung musical messages for a Valentine’s Day still not entirely free of COVID. Check out photos of some highlights below. While we delivered fewer Singing Valentines this year than in past years unaffected by COVID, somehow every delivery was a memorable success -- for sender, recipient, and singers alike! We so enjoyed contributing to the celebrations people were having.
Here are couple of testimonials from our customers:
On December 11, 2022, the Sounds of Aloha were thrilled to return to performing live and in person after a long COVID hiatus that had limited us to virtual performances! We were honored to sing Christmas songs for a relatively small, distanced, and masked audience of true music lovers at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
We are grateful to the church and its Director of Music and Liturgy, Scott Fikse, who runs a formidable music program there -- and also is an experienced and talented barbershopper! In fact, we couldn't resist calling him up to sub in as bass and sing a song with one of our quartets, 19th Avenue. You can watch the whole performance by clicking on any of the images below:
While the time wasn’t quite right yet in 2022 for the Sounds of Aloha Chorus to hold our traditional Christmas show in person again, we were delighted to record another video holiday performance on stage at the Hawaii Theatre. The video of “Songs of the Season” was and is available for viewing on the Hawaii Theatre website, for a contribution to the Theatre, which like all live performance venues has had a rough go of things for the past couple of years.