We heard from former (and dedicated) OCC alto Jodi Anastasio last December with news of her move to Hawaii and how she has already found music in her life there. Some of you will probably remember Ian MacMillan who sang with the Chorale until he moved to Hawaii several years ago. He connected with Jodi thanks to a word from Sue Peters (don’t you love those OCC connections?) and quickly introduced Jodi to two groups that she writes about here. We think you’re bound to enjoy her stories of her experiences. Keep in mind that she sent this in December, so we can presume that she is now in rehearsals for…read it and find out!

Greetings from Hawaii – Choral Connections

I wanted to share some overwhelming thoughts I’ve been having now that I’m in Hawaii and singing with 2 new choruses.

I have certainly experienced the aloha spirit in Hawaii!  Ian Macmillan shepherded me into 2 choruses.  One meets in Hilo (the closest big town, 45 minutes from me) once a week, and the other meets in the smaller town of Volcano, where Ian and I both live, which is also right next to the park.  On my first night in the Hilo chorus, I carpooled with Ian, the conductor, and one of the tenors.  We left Volcano early and went to an eclectic pizza place, where they are friends with the owner.  Ian explained it all to me ahead of time, so that I was prepared.  The owner is half Italian and half Samoan.  The pizza recipe is his mother’s, though his 7th (!) wife is the one who does the cooking.  The owner has had an interesting life, including time in the military, as well as being a successful jewelry thief.  The restaurant is not exactly open to the public.  When we arrived, they had frosted beer mugs ready on the table for the beer the conductor had brought.  The owner and his wife chatted with us while we ate, and then we headed to the rehearsal at the University!  Ian stood up and introduced me to the whole group of 45.  There are only about 10 altos!

Ian also encouraged me to join the Volcano Festival Chorus, which meets on Thursdays only in the fall.  They perform a holiday concert at a theater in the 100 year-old military camp within the park.  He made a similar introduction to that group, and made sure I received one of the giant avocados a woman was giving out at the end of the night.

There were only 3 rehearsals left before the Hilo concert, so I decided to sit in on them, but not perform in the concert.  This weekend I had the joy of attending and hearing the chorus from the audience side.  What a difference!  They sounded great.  They performed some Christmas arrangements by Rutter, Mark Hayes, and The Christmas Alleluias by Kim Andre Arnesen, a young Norwegian composer.  The Volcano Festival music is a bit easier to follow, and I have more time, so I decided to sing with them for the holiday concert next weekend.  When I asked what they wear for the concert, the director said “Aloha festive in reds and greens.”  I had to check with a couple of people to make sure I understood, and since my shipment of household goods has still not arrived, I had an excuse to go shopping!

I am so grateful to have this musical community connection between Cape Cod and Hawaii.  I’m even more grateful for having joined OCC in the first place, thanks to Jon’s funny WOMR ad.  But the main thing I’ve been thinking through all of these rehearsals, is how valuable Jon and Allison’s teachings have been!  Perhaps because I joined late in the season here, there doesn’t seem to be much instruction other than singing through the pieces and stopping to work on a bit here and there.  So I have found plenty of places to remind myself to use Italian vowels, sing like it’s Opera, make an apple-bite-shaped mouth, crescendo and de- on anything longer than a half note, “do something with it”, pay attention to the dynamics, and stretch certain notes like a PT band.  When we start Faure in the spring, watch out, I’m ready!

I miss my fellow OCCers and will be thinking of you during your concerts!!  I hope PTV records one, so I can watch later.  Break a bunch of legs!



                              – Jody Anastasio