Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saying goodbye all too soon

Yesterday, my friend Cindy told me about the untimely passing of a mutual friend of ours, David Hockenberger. He died suddenly last Friday, doing what he loved (bicycling). He was only 55 years old.

David, Cindy, and I were part of the Music Ministry at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham. David and I were in the bell choir, and I had also sung in the choir when Richard Townley was the organist/choir director.

I had moved on to another music program in the area, and David eventually moved away from the Triangle area. I didn't see him again until last February at Holy Comforter in Burlington. My friend, Colin, was ordained a Transitional Deacon, and David was singing in the choir. He had recognised me and approached me after the service. We chatted for a little bit. It was great catching up with him.

Last Saturday, my friend Laurie, who is the organist/choirmaster at Holy Comforter, posted a note asking our prayers for one of her choir members, David H. It didn't register to me that I knew who that was until I talked to Cindy yesterday evening. And then it hit me—this was someone I knew, someone whose company I had enjoyed, someone who was a devoted father to his two children and husband to his wife of 30+ years, and this someone is no longer with us. His funeral was earlier this afternoon, and according to friends who went, it was a good celebration of his life.

Please pray for the family David leaves behind: his wife, Beverly, and his children, Evan and Kaitlyn. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Here is a link to David's obituary. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in David's name to Hospice and Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More Maui Vacation

Taken on our way to Hana. From left to right: Hermie, Richie, Josie, Ella, me, and Jacob.

Aloha Mabuhay from Kihei, Maui, in the beautiful state of Hawaii! We've been enjoying ourselves, having visited the Maui Tropical Plantation, the Iao Valley State Park (and seeing the very prominent Iao Needle), and shopping (and shave ice!) at the Kihei Kalama Village on Monday, and taking the road to Hana and then taking the (very winding and in some places unpaved) road that goes around the periphery of the eastern and southern parts of the island on Tuesday. I think we'll be visiting a beach or two today and then watching the sunrise from the Haleakala Crater on Thursday. We'll also be enjoying a luau during our trip here.

If you're Facebook friends with my sister-in-law, Grace, and my mother, Josie, you can see some of our pictures. I'll post mine eventually to my Facebook page (and place a link here) but that may not happen until I return to the mainland.

I really like Maui. Such a pretty place, and in our drive yesterday, we were able to see the vast contrasts in the terrain (and the weather patterns!) here.

More later! Mahalo!

Monday, September 24, 2012

FranFam in Maui!

Greetings, friends! It has been a very long time since I last made a post on this blog. As you can see by the picture, I'm not in North Carolina at the moment. I'm in Kihei, a city on the southwest shore of Maui. I'm here with my parents and my brother, sister-in-law, and their three children. We started our trip early this morning, and we shared the plane with the men's and women's soccer team from Notre Dame de Namur University in the San Francisco area. A very nice soccer player named Kim W. was my seatmate for the flight. They're scheduled to play 3 matches whilst in Hawaii, and I wish them all the luck.

We landed in Honolulu around the noon hour and went straight to our connecting flight to Maui. We were a tired bunch, but after a good rest, we'll be ready to start our Maui adventure. Stay tuned! I may or may not record brief soundseeing tours on AudioBoo... if I do, I'll post the links here (they will automagically cross-post to my Twitter and Facebook pages. (I might even post it on my very neglected Google+ page.)


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Past AGO Conventions, Revisited

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'll use this post to collect links to the posts I made during the 2010 AGO National Convention in Washington, DC, as well as the Audioboos I recorded during the 2011 AGO Region IV Convention in Greensboro, NC.

2010 AGO National Convention in Washington, DC

2011 AGO Region IV Convention in Greensboro, NC

Catching Up Yet Again with the Organ-ic Chemist

I'm back after a long time of not blogging. I could tell that I haven't been blogging much when my blogging partner, Tyler, notices that I haven't been blogging much lately! Well, my globetrotting friend, here is an entry. Just for you.

I've been trying to find more time for myself. Of late, I've been bouncing from one thing to the other, keeping so busy that by the time I get home, all I want to do is flop into the bed and close my eyes. I'm trying to organise my time more wisely. Using tools like Workflowy helps immensely. There's nothing more satisfying than clicking on a task and marking it complete.

The picture above depicts one of the activities I'm trying to do more of: yarn work. I've been knitting and crocheting more. Two pieces I completed recently were prayer shawls for friends who were recently ordained a deacon and a priest, and now I'm working on a couple of other super-secret pieces that I can't say yet what they are until the recipient receives them. The piece pictured above will be a multi-coloured afghan using the diamond shell stitch. I'll admit that it took me several tries before I worked out what I was doing wrong. It looks like it will work up pretty quickly.

I'll be heading off to Nashville, TN to the 2012 American Guild of Organists Convention this coming Sunday. I'm looking forward to it. As my friend Kathy says, we'll be there with 4,000 organists. There will be lots of organ recitals, plenty of workshops, lots of trade shows, and networking to look forward to. I'll do my level best to keep up with posts here. In the meantime, you can have a look at my posts about the 2010 National Conference in Washington, DC on this site, as well as listen to my AudioBoos about the 2011 Region IV Conference in Greensboro, NC. I'll collect those links in a subsequent post.

In the meantime, I've been asked to join the Webshoo network, which is comprised of a group of people who blog about anything and everything under the sun. In addition to my posts here, I also contribute to the Secrets of Harry Potter podcast and website, and I still have a presence on LiveJournal, which is targetted towards my activities in the Harry Potter fandom. Of course, I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

See you around the interwebs!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

James Garfield Richardson (1964–2012)

Last Thursday, we gathered in the garden behind the Parish House at St. Joseph's Episcopal Church for a Memorial Service for James. The decision was made to have it in the garden because James loved being outdoors, and he was particularly fond of the church's community garden. It was a hot late afternoon, but the skies were clear.

After the service was over, a dogwood tree was planted in James' memory. It's a fitting tribute to a man who was always greeting people with a smile and telling them to "stay blessed."

Almighty God, we remember before you today your faithful servant James; and we pray that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, you will receive him more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past, he may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

James Garfield Richardson, son of J.W. and Clara Hall Richardson, was born on January 31, 1964 in Johnston County, North Carolina, and on April 25, 2012, he departed this life at Duke Medical Center.

Garfield, as he was called by his family and friends, was educated in the Public Schools of Wake County. He was a hard worker and a kind-hearted man who loved his family and his friends.

He leaves to cherish his memories his loving and devoted mother, Clara, and father, J.W. Richardson of Raleigh; sisters Sherri Richardson and Teresa Richardson of Raleigh; brother Gregory Richardson (Betty) of Raleigh; two nieces, eight nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives and friends.

(And also a community of friends and neighbours in the Old West Durham neighbourhood. James, you touched more people than you'll ever know. Stay blessed, my friend.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Questioning Why and Finding Comfort

I found out the news that a person whose athletic (and academic) successes I had heard of since high school, and who grew up to be a legend in the National Football League had passed away today. Junior Seau was a standout student-athlete at Oceanside High School, and he had graduated the same year as I did.

When I had heard the news, I was immediately taken back to 1986. Both the newspaper and yearbook staffs from my high school were in Anaheim, CA for competitions that included high school newspaper and yearbook staffs from all over California. I was serving as the sport editor for the paper and competing in the sport-writing competition. The person we interviewed: Junior Seau, then a standout athlete who lettered in four sports and was also an honor student at Oceanside High. I didn't remember much about the interview... just that we had a limited amount of time to ask him questions, and then we had a limited amount of time to write a 750-word story.

There isn't much I remembered about that day, except that I was struck by how well articulate and poised this guy from Oceanside was and that he seemed to be destined for greatness. He would eventually go on to USC and then play professional football with the San Diego Chargers, the Miami Dolphins, and the New England Patriots.

The news of Junior's death had spread through Facebook and Twitter. I had friends who not only knew Junior, but was also friends with him. One of my friends was in anguish. He kept on asking "why?" Why did he have to do this; why couldn't he have talked to someone; why couldn't he have turned to family and friends to ease his burden and his pain? "It's frustrating when people who need help, who really need help, don't turn to their family and friends. This is happening too often! For the record, I have a shoulder for you to lean on, I'll listen as long as you care to share your thoughts! Reach out for help!!!"

We don't know what was in his heart and in his mind. It seems rather uncharitable towards him and towards his family (his poor anguished mother and his three teen-aged children, amongst others) to speculate what that may have been or to even link previous accidents and incidents to the final, fatal action he did earlier this morning. All we could do is offer prayers to the family and friends Junior left behind and to offer comfort to those who knew and loved him.

Speaking of offering comfort... in late March, a fellow NC Filipino Choir member had lost a relatively young relative (36-years old) to a brain aneurysm. He left behind a wife and a young (7-year-old) daughter. I was asked at the last minute to play the organ for his funeral. Following the funeral was a Rosary said as part of a nine-day Novena following this person's passing. Somehow, in the repetition of the prayers and the Tagalog songs to Mary sung in between each decade, I found comfort. I didn't know Roderick well... I saw him at various Fil-Am gatherings, especially those in which the choir had also sung... but despite that, I still found comfort in the Rosary, in the songs, and being with others lifting their voices and their hearts in prayer together. I kept thinking that despite the sad occasion for everyone gathering, it is comforting to know that they were there and praying, specifically, those prayers, and then those litanies, all for the repose of the soul of Roderick. Perhaps it's morbid of me to think this, but I think it would give me comfort to think that someday, when it is time for me to be called from this earthly life, that someone would want to do the same for me and find comfort from it. I know when we said those prayers for my Tito El, we had been comforted by them. I remembered people coming to the apartment in Makati every day for nine days after he had passed away, and we had prayed, talked, eaten, reminisced.

I end this rather rambling post with a YouTube video by USC Athletics that was made in memory of Junior Seau. Neighbours had known him to sit in his balcony facing the Pacific Ocean and play his ukelele and sing songs. For Junior and for Roderick: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reflections on a Friday afternoon

On this day 15 years ago, I received the news that my Lola Ina (Ceferina Sablan Yalong) had passed away. I remember thinking it was rather unexpected. She always seemed so healthy and so active. I remember my parents were visiting the Philippines... my mum really missed celebrating Holy Week and Easter in the Philippines (and in Baliuag, Bulacan in particular). I remembered that upon her return, she expressed a lot of concern for my grandmum (her mother). She said Lola had caught "a cold" and was slow in recovering from it. My parents were to have left Manila the day after Easter, I think... and my mum said she wanted to stay. My Lola told her to go back to the US where she had her work and her family to take care of and that she would be fine.

Little did they know that about a week or so later, my parents would be flying back to Manila to be with my Lola in her final hours.

Even though I was born and grew up an ocean and a continent away, Lola Ina was special in my heart. She always encouraged me to do my best in everything I did. She didn't speak much English—she maybe knew a few words here and there—but at least I understand Tagalog, so she was able to speak to me, even though I might not have been able to communicate back to her.

When I was still in graduate school, I was home in San Diego visiting for the holidays. We rang up relatives in Makati (where a good number of the Yalongs were living at the time) to wish them a Happy New Year. (The Philippines was 16 hours head of San Diego.) My Lola told my mother she wanted to speak specifically to me. Mum said that I might not be able to respond much back since my "box of Tagalog was very small," but Lola said she still wanted to speak to me.

So I took the phone, wished her in Tagalog Happy New Year and that I loved her. She responded back in kind, and then she proceeded to give me a rather long lecture. She emphasized to me that I must finish my education first before I even think about settling down with a boy and having a family. I didn't want to end up like some cousins and other relatives who "made the mistake" of having a family first before finishing up the education. (I rather suspect things were a bit different in the Philippines back in the mid-1990s; nowadays, you see many women go back to school for a degree. Many of my students when I taught Chemistry at Campbell University did that. Even my own mother did that. Even though she had a B.Ed. from Far Eastern University, she went back to school when I was about 9 or 10 and completed a nursing degree. But I digress.)

What could I say? I kept on saying, "Opo. Opo. Opo." (That means "yes" in Tagalog.) Even my mom was looking rather frantic, urging me to say something. But how could I interrupt when Lola was in the middle of a lecture?

A few years later, as I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation, I remembered what she told me. I had already moved to Durham, NC, having left Clark University as an A.B.D. student ("all but dissertation"), due to graduate in the spring. I ended up dedicating my thesis to Lola Ina, and I had my mom and Tita Edith help me write the dedication in Tagalog to her.

I kept my promise to Lola Ina. I finished my education and then settled down. (Still single, though.)

In other news... one of the guys from the hill, who lived in a tent in the woods, and who St. Joseph's Episcopal Church had befriended, died the other day. J. had cancer in the leg, and he couldn't live out in the woods anymore, so St. Joe's took him in and tried to make arrangements to make his final days as comfortable as possible. I remember that an ambulance had taken him to Duke Hospital shortly before my choir rehearsal last week, and the next day, parishioners received a message that J.'s condition was serious and to pray for him. He passed away last Tuesday. I remembered that he'd always be around, smiling at you and telling you to "stay blessed" as his way of saying goodbye. Well, J., you have touched the lives of many here. Stay blessed and pray for those of us left behind. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

John Scott, organ

By request, I am actually hopping onto the blog and doing a blog post. Surprised?

Once you've inhaled your smelling salts, have a look at this wonderful program John Scott played at St. Michael's Episcopal Church last night. It's one of the recitals celebrating their new Nichols & Simpson organ that was formally dedicated with a Choral Evensong and Organ Dedication last January 29.

I had posted pictures of the organ on my Facebook page, which you may see by clicking here.

Here is his program.

John Scott, organ
Friday, April 20, 2012

Veni Creator Spiritus
Eugenio Maria Fagiani (b. 1972)

Est-ce Mars?
Jan Pieter Sweelinck (1562–1621)

Concerto in F, Op. 4, No. 5
Alla Siciliana
George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

Prelude and Fugue in E-flat, BWV 552
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

March on a theme of Handel
Alexandre Guilmant (1837–1911)

César Franck (1822–1890)

Prélude et Fugue sur le nom d'Alain
Maurice Duruflé (1902–1986)

Ad Wammes (b. 1953)

William Mathias (1934–1992)

Tuba Tune
Norman Cocker (1889–1953)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lyn's Once in a Blue Moon Post

So much for making 2012 my Year for Blogging. This is, what, my second post for 2012? Call me a slacker!

Actually, you're probably more likely to see my posts over at SQPN's Secrets of Harry Potter. Feel free to pop over there and have a look. :)

I've had this pervasive earworm in my head for the past couple of days. It's not a bad one, actually. A friend of mine, who is now based in Norway, had asked me to send her some music for "Filipino Praise Songs" that can be sung in church. I gave her what I had on hand that I thought might be popular amongst members of the very diverse Filipino Diaspora. I think the two songs she and the members of the Filipino choir she's conducting settled on two songs: Fr. Manoling Francisco's "Tanging Yaman" and Raymund Rema's "Tanging Alay Ko", also known as "Salamat Sa Iyo". It's the latter that's been the earworm, and for as many years as this song has been around, it's really nice that the person who composed it has come forward and recorded himself playing and singing it.

Here is a YouTube video of Mr. Rema playing and singing his song, "Tanging Alay Ko."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where has the month gone?

It has been a long time since I last posted to this blog. In fact, the very last post I made was my New Year's Eve post. Maybe I need to keep signing up monthly for NaBloPoMo to ensure I keep posting...

Admittedly, this month has been a blur. I managed to pick up the flu virus, and it completely knocked me out for essentially a week. Even now, I'm still suffering from vestiges of the cold, and my singing voice is still not quite there, but it is returning, slowly but surely. (I should be able to sing on Sunday. Hopefully.)

If I feel up to it, I'll post my music lists and backdate them. In the meantime, there is a brand new month to look forward to. My parents will be celebrating their birthdays (Dad's is tomorrow, Mom's will be on Saturday), my nephew will be enjoying being First Chair (trumpet) with the East County Youth Symphony Concert Band)... oh, and I've agreed to perform in the Durham-Chapel Hill AGO's Member's Recital on Monday, February 13 at Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham. Members who will be playing are encouraged to play music composed by African-American composers in honour of Black History Month. There are at least six organists playing, and there is always room for more.

I can't make any promises that I'll be more regular in posting here... but at least I will try. Hopefully, I won't catch any more evil little germs or viruses anymore this season.