Four months ago, my parents were discussing their Hawaii trip with concert leader Ed Lojeski. The trip would consist of four rehearsals and two large choral and orchestral performances for the Fourth of July. It was a concert tribute for the men who died at Pearl Harbor, and all the men in service to this day, called Salute to Valor. My parents, along with choral groups from all over the country, were to be singing on the battle ship USS Missouri.
And, as usual, I would not be able to join them. My parents have been all over the world. I have never stepped outside of the North American continent. It was only a month before the time of events did I know I was suddenly signed up with a plane ticket and a book full of music with a large solo waiting inside.
So my whim to Hawaii began. I finally was going to step off North America and fly half way down the planet to one of the most popular vacation islands ever.
My parents had arrived on the island a day before, but as soon as I arrived, we dived into Pina Coladas, Lava Flows, and Mai Tais. Once rehearsal started, we wouldn’t be able to “party” too much. But I think I squeezed in as much as I could.
Being that Pearl Harbor is located in Oahu, I didn’t get to experience the tropical island feeling as much as I would have liked. But I shouldn’t complain. On one of our days off, we did get to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. Exactly where I wanted to be!
It took me sixty seconds to get used to breathing under water before I turned into the water baby I used to be, and started hunting coral sharks. Didn’t find any though. They were sleeping beneath me, hidden by the coral. But I did get to play mermaid with the other fishies, one of them eyeing me oddly before disappearing. I wanted so badly to go deeper into the caves, but knew without gloves and other proper gear that I had better refrain from my adventurous instincts. Probably not a good idea to get hurt before the concerts.
Gave it to Mom.
Later, we explored Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri. Also, we enjoyed being entertained by the luau show, The Creation, while we drank Mai Tais with Ed Lojeski and TV host Wink Martindale. Definitely had a full day of swimming, exploring, eating, drinking, and watching gloriously tanned and ripped Polynesian men in skirts dance barbarically…oh, sigh.
The rest of the week was spent in rehearsals with tropical dinner breaks. I hate rehearsals, but I can’t complain when they’re on a luscious island. The first concert was inside a large theater. This was where I sang my solo, “O My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose”…phew, what a title! I had some big shoes to fill with this song considering it was my dad’s staple. He was the only one who could sing it and blow people out of the water. But because of Sweeney Todd where Dad played Judge Turpin, his voice had gone to the bass land and couldn’t warm back up to tenor heaven in just a week. In order to sing “Red Rose,” you have to be able to float notes. So he said, “You got it, baby. Do it well.” Great…
As intimidating as it was to replace Dad, the audience seemed to really like it, giving a roaring cheer as their response. Dad still won’t let it go… I’m on the hunt for a recording. It’s not very often that I actually feel proud of one of my performances, so when I do, I’d kill for a copy.
The second concert was performed at the stern of the USS Missouri, followed by fireworks over the ocean and accompanied by the Pacific Navy Band, who were incredible! And MORE Mai Tai’s were to be had!
All in all, I sang my very best, Mai Tai’ed myself out, wore skirts and sundresses every day, and remained braless for the entire trip.
And I DID get leid…