While we were singing at Ely Cathedral the week of July 6-13, 2014, we were contacted by both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and asked by each to serve as their Choir in Residence the summer of 2016! This is an honor beyond description as they are England’s two greatest cathedrals and equaled only by St. Peter’s in Rome as the most famous of all the world’s cathedrals.
Westminster Abbey asked us to sing for two days and St. Paul’s asked us to sing for six days. Since this is a long way to travel for only two days, we have decided to sing at St. Paul’s. We will also possibly sing another two days at Ely Cathedral, as we made such good friends there and it was such a lovely place to sing.
You can join us for this trip! Auditions are open for children (boys and girls) ages 7-14, teens, and adults, both male and female. See our “Audition” page for more details.
We are home and happy about our success at Ely Cathedral! We had an awesome time singing six Evensongs, a full-crowd concert in the Lady Chapel at Ely, and a Sunday morning Eucharist, at which we sang John McCreary’s Hawaiian Mass in the Hawaiian language, the first time ever for Ely in a language not English or Latin. The Evensongs were reverent and spine-tingling. As far as we know, when we sang Queen Lili’uokalani’s The Queen’s Jubilee in our Lady Chapel concert, it was the first time this piece was ever sung in England! Singing great music in a huge, reverberant, ancient space (1000 years old) is truly indescribable–you have to be there and do it to really feel what it’s like. However, the children and adults of the choir came through like pros and discovered the greatness of what they did.
Comments from the warm and wonderful people of Ely town were gratifying: “The tone of your trebles was so clear and beautiful.” “Why are you thanking us for singing here? We are the ones who should be thanking you!” “You can be very proud of your singing.” “Please come back and sing for us again!”
We were honored to have the composer of one of our Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis sets, Mark Blatchly, attend the Evensong at which we sang his work. Mark’s comments afterwards via email were,
I was so delighted to come to Ely on Wednesday last, and was thrilled with your warm, sympathetic and lively performance of my music. I was also overcome with the warmth of the reception you all gave me; I shall treasure the garland I received. It is wonderful to think of my music being sung on the other side of the world, and to think of you all travelling so far to sing here. I love the sound your choir makes – and would love to hear it sing so much more.
The choir was interviewed and recorded by BBC radio personality, John Sergeant. He gave us both a live radio interview and then later aired a longer special on Sunday morning. When we (Dan and Terry Werning) were having tea at The Almonry tea room and restaurant in Ely, two tables of local ladies both independently told us they heard the broadcast and were planning on attending our Evensong, which they did. John Sergeant also surprised and delighted us by singing an impromptu song for us accompanied by ukulele!
We are so pleased that KITV’s Pamela Young was with us on the trip, and she and her cameraman Kyle recorded many aspects of the experience. She will share these with you in upcoming news segments and a Mixed Plate story. We will also be appearing on the KITV Morning AM Show on July 29, so watch for us there!
We thank all of you for your support and good wishes. We couldn’t have done this without you! We are expecting more great things–watch for our performances in the future. We love singing for you.
And spread the word: We are looking for more treble choristers (boys and girls ages 7-14), teens, and adults–both male and female–to sing in the choir this fall! (See our “Audition” page.) Those who undergo the exciting and in-depth training for singing in the Hawai’i Sacred Choir will be rewarded with:
- Great camaraderie and new friendships
- Intensive training in cathedral techniques that makes us one of the top choirs on Oahu
- Learning how to read notes–really, a skill learned for the rest of your life!
- Fun training for your child(ren) that creates in them the ability to sing incredible music, beautifully!
- Being on track to travel to London in August 2016 to sing at St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of England’s two greatest cathedrals and one of the greatest cathedrals in the world! Join us!
- We were the first choir from Hawai’i ever to have been invited to sing in a great English cathedral. We sang as choir in residence for Ely Cathedral an entire week while their own world-renowned choir took a summer vacation.
- We were the first choir in 1,400 years at Ely to sing a Sunday service in a language other than Latin or English–Hawaiian! We premiered John McCreary’s Hawaiian Mass in England on July 13, 2014.
- We sang Queen Lili’uokalani’s “The Queen’s Jubilee” for the first time in England ever. She composed it for Queen Victoria’s 1887 Golden Jubilee, which she attended with a royal contingent from Hawai’i. It was written in England at that time and presented to the Queen by then-Princess Lili’uokalani, but not sung. We sang “The Queen’s Jubilee in England” on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in the Lady Chapel to a full crowd! It was very well-received by the British audience.
See what’s special about us–make sure you watch all the way to the end! Surprises along the way…
The Hawai’i Sacred Choir is a nonprofit, nondenominational choir formed to nurture in Hawai’i’s current and future generations an education in and love of the world’s greatest sacred choral literature from Gregorian chant (plainsong) through contemporary cathedral repertoire and to inspire Hawai’i and the world by performing it in concerts, worship services, community events, and recordings.
The choir’s mission is closely connected with the wishes of King Kamehameha IV and his wife, Queen Emma, known as “the Holy Sovereigns.” A treasured wish of the Holy Sovereigns was that the Hawaiian people and their descendants sing great music.
The Hawai’i Sacred Choir’s intent is aligned with the sovereigns’ desire to share with the people the most glorious sacred choral music ever composed, sung by a multicultural choir of children trebles singing with adult voices, creating a creating a glorious and ethereal vocal texture similar to that of Choir of King’s College of Cambridge, England, or the historic Sistine Chapel Choir in Rome.