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Hawaii Sacred Choir

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Hawaii Sacred Choir--Children Singing at University Level

Free sacred choral Christmas concerts in Honolulu. Performed at St. Theresa's Co-Cathedral, Saturday, 12/10/11, at 3:00 pm, and St. Andrew's Cathedral, 12/11/11, 5:30 pm. Hawaii Sacred Choir performing, Daniel J. Werning and Mike Dupre, conducting; John Renke, organist; Honolulu Handbell Ensemble.

Honolulu, HI, December 05, 2011 --( On December 10 and 11, 2011, the Hawaii Sacred Choir will sing Christmas concerts which will include traditional sacred Christmas carols and feature the first-ever Hawaii presentation of Handel's great coronation anthem Zakok the Priest to be sung by a choir using children trebles (ages 7-12) singing the soprano part in concert with adult altos, tenors and basses.

Created in the model of world-famous King's College Choir (Cambridge, UK), the Hawaii Sacred Choir is the only choir in Hawaii in which children sing with adults, on the same team, singing music that is adult-level in its standards of musical difficulty and sophistication.

Only a handful of university or adult choirs in Hawaii have sung Zadok; there aren't many who would attempt it. But the children of Hawaii Sacred Choir love singing Zadok and other equally challenging pieces, both in English and in Latin, and they are proficient. They rip through the long sixteenth-note runs in thirds without looking at their music.

When asked what the children learn in this choir, Choirmaster Rev. Daniel Werning stated, "They learn choral technique: How to expand the range of their voices into very high notes, how to pronounce sung words beautifully, how to produce a lovely musical tone, how to breathe and sing long lines in one breath. They also learn note-reading, rhythm, music theory, and general musicality. They learn teamwork and how to work with adults as equals. Best of all, they learn to sing the world's greatest sacred choral repertoire. "

How do they sing music most adult choirs wouldn't try? Werning states, "By believing they can. Children have a great capacity to learn difficult music as long as adults don't tell them they can't. They feel really proud of themselves when they discover they can sing fast or high notes, and do it as well as the adults. It doesn't even occur to them that they 'shouldn't' be able to do the things we're asking of them."

Werning also states that the Hawaii Sacred Choir's success has not depended upon recruiting only the most excellent singers. They recruit average Hawaii grade-school kids and then do these four things: "First of all, we don't tell them they are doing something difficult. We keep that a secret. Secondly, we pick music that really moves the heart in its subject matter and beauty of melody, something they will want to listen to and sing. Thirdly, we give them a repertoire disc so they can hear this music sung by world-class choirs. Children have an uncanny ability to learn music and language by ear, so we play to those strengths by doing a lot of ear training and having them listen to the pieces they are studying. Lastly, we use lots of good humor and fun as we teach them. And prizes! Prizes are very important, even if they are inexpensive items, because this shows immediate appreciation of their efforts."

One of greatest choral pieces ever written, Allegri's Miserere Mei Deus originally was heard only in the Sistine Chapel. Because young prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart took it down in secret dictation, it is now performed worldwide by the best choirs. Hawaii Sacred Choir Executive Director Terry Werning asks, "But what if all Mozart ever heard was praise choruses? There is nothing wrong with praise choruses, but other music should be available, as well. We are now entering the third generation of people in Hawaii who have never heard the rich repertoire of sacred music which was taken for granted in past generations. They have not had any exposure to this music, so they have not had a choice. One HSC treble's parent, a musician in a church praise band, heard our repertoire and said, 'What is this music? Where has it been all my life?'"

The Hawaii Sacred Choir exists so that children as well as adults may have an opportunity to hear this music. Currently, concerts are free to encourage this.

For more information about concerts and singing in the choir, contact the Hawaii Sacred Choir at 808-220-6969,,, or

Contact Information
Hawaii Sacred Choir
Rev. Daniel J. Werning
Attached Files
Concert Flier--Hawaii Sacred Choir
Concert Flier for Hawaii Sacred Choir Christmas Concerts in Honolulu, HI,
Filename: Xmas2011Flyer--altpicture.pdf

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