Sunday, March 18, 2012

HAWAI'I PART 2: Waikiki

On Wednesday, the Glee Club drove back across the island to Honolulu, stopping along the way to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial and to sing with the high school students at the Waldorf School. Before we knew it, we were wearing fuschia leis at a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Daniel Olson '12 writes about the remainder of our trip. Photos courtesy of Connor Kenaston.

When it rains in Hawai’I, what is the glee club to do? For many of us, it meant walking up the mountains outside of Honolulu into a rain cloud. The Kuliouou Ridge trail usually offers striking views of both sides of the island. Last Thursday, the trail was covered in mud! Though many a glee clubber lost his or her shoes to the muddy trek, the haunting performance of Sarah Hopkins’ “Past Life Melodies” at the top definitely made up for the losses.

Some of us (including me) decided to stay in the dryer environs of Waikiki. Exploring one of the most famous strands of beach in the entire world was pretty exciting. Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts, just a few blocks from the water, had a collection of over 14,000 Hawaiian shirts. The inside of the store was packed with everything from vintage 1950s rayon shirts costing thousands of dollars apiece to more contemporary cotton shirts that were just 20 bucks. Adam Fishman and I couldn’t leave without buying souvenirs!

What would a trip to Waikiki be like without checking out the beach itself? Fortunately, it was warm and dry enough to swim pretty far out into the ocean. It was a struggle avoiding all the surfers though! We had our own fun playing freeze tag and chicken in the water, but soon it was time to shower and change for the glee club banquet.

Posing at our banquet on Magic Island
Cynthia and Peter could not have picked a more beautiful spot in Honolulu. We sat underneath a Banyan tree on Magic Island, with magical views of the sun setting over the Pacific. We were treated to excellent food and excellent comedy from committee, which gave us all a chance to revisit our funniest tour memories (so far).

The next morning we left for a visit to the University of Hawai’I Manoa. We spent time with their choirs and their director Dr. Miguel Felipe (who made the right choice moving to Hawai’I from a certain school in Cambridge…). We so appreciated their hospitality and enjoyed learning a little more about Hawaiian pronunciation. The ‘okina (the glottal stop) is one of the eight consonants in Hawaiian and must be sung like any other consonant.

We left the university for Cathedral Church of Saint Andrews in downtown Honolulu. Just a block away from the capitol, this beautiful space houses the largest pipe organ in the Pacific. Before the concert, we heard beautiful words from fellow glee club seniors Sam Sanders and Claire Paulson about both the special meanings of Aloha and Glee. It definitely got us in the mood for a great concert, which was packed!  It was a privilege to sing John McCreary’s (the long-time organist at St. Andrews and great uncle of our very own Helen!) beautiful Hawaiian piece as an encore.

We had one more day to explore Waikiki and the weather finally cooperated! It was sunny and hot all day and everyone enjoyed spending some final hours swimming, tanning, eating, and drinking in Waikiki. We sang “Bright College Years” each time we lost a group of people at airports, up until a final rendition in New Haven Sunday afternoon, just as the St. Patrick’s day parade was ending. We all appreciated the opportunity to experience a slice of paradise and are all so grateful to Peter, Cynthia, Jeff, Sean, all our hosts, and all the others who made this trip possible! Now, more Mozart!