13th Annual Messiah Sing-along Sunday, December 22, 2019, 3 PM

Join us Sunday December 22, 2019 for the 13th annual Messiah sing-along at Christ Lutheran Church, 5945 Kapiolani St, Hilo HI 96720 (click link to open new window in Google Maps).

Bring your own music score or borrow one of ours.  Sing the choruses alongside community chorus members, or just sit and enjoy.  Soloists are D’Andrea Pelletier, Roni Koscik, Tom Mirenda, and Barry Brandes.  Accompaniment on piano and organ by Walter Greenwood and Rick Mazurowski.

Free event; donations welcomed


Free Christmas Concert this Saturday, December 7, 2019, 3 PM, First United Protestant Church

Please join us this Saturday (December 7, 2019) at 3PM for our annual Christmas concert, “Carols for Christmas.”  The concert is free (donations welcomed). The location is First United Protestant Church (above Kaiser and the hospital), 1350 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo HI 96720 (click link to open a new window in Google Maps).

The concert will feature works from two composers:

Sir David Valentine Willcocks (1919-2015) started as a chorister and progressed through a career as chorus master, organ master, composer and decorated hero of World War II. His choral arrangements ground audiences in tradition and familiarity with a few surprises and sophisticated departures from the expected.

John Milford Rutter (1945-present) was likewise educated in England, also beginning his career as a chorister. Notable in his long career as prolific composer and sought-after conductor is his founding of the Cambridge Singers. Rutter’s original carols are influenced by traditional English and French styles. They also reach into popular idioms of the 20th century that delight the ear without losing the deep spirituality and emotion associated with carols for the Christmas season.

Carols celebrating the birth of Christ originated with medieval nativity plays attributed first to the influence of St.Francis of Assisi in the early 13th century. These plays became the foundation for teaching scripture to a broad spectrum of society, using drama, costume and music.

Surviving the centuries, Christmas carols have evolved from simple 14th century chants and the use of dual languages — Latin for the church and a local tongue for the people — to the melodies associated with traditional and modern Christmas celebrations.

Walter Greenwood will assist on piano and organ. Featured soloists are drawn from the chorus.

Thanks Hilo Tribune Herald for the nice feature:

Hilo Community Chorus to perform at First United Protestant Church

Come Sing ! Chorus rehearsals start 8/26/2019

cover-large_fileAloha everyone,

I’ve already celebrated my 80th birthday, and I’ve picked 21 carols from the Oxford book 100 Carols for Choirs for our December concert. The first half of the concert will be carols arranged by David Willcocks (including three with audience participation), and the second half will be carols composed or arranged by John Rutter.

We have been invited to, once again, participate in the University concert, and we will also hold another Messiah sing-along, this year at Christ Lutheran Church.

So, here are dates to put on your calendar:

Monday, August 26 – First rehearsal at the University rehearsal room (6:30-8:30 p.m. (Note that we will rehearse Labor Day this year.)  UH-H rehearsal room (click link to view location in Google Maps).
Thursday, December 5 – Final rehearsal before concert – First United Protestant Church – 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7 – Concert – First United Protestant Church – 3:00 p.m. – Call time 1:30 p.m.
Monday, December 9 – Rehearsal of extra University concert music – UH-Hilo rehearsal room – 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 14 – Rehearsal for University concert – time TBA
Sunday, December 15 – Concert at University – time and call time TBA
Monday, December 16 – Rehearsal of Messiah choruses – UH-H rehearsal room – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 21 – Rehearsal of Messiah choruses – Christ Lutheran Church – 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 22 – Messiah sing-along – Christ Lutheran Church – 2:00 or 3:00 pm (can’t remember)

I have attached a list of the carols we will be singing along with links where you can listen. The list is not in rehearsal or concert order. Several of the Willcocks arrangements will have two choruses, and the two choruses will not always be composed of the same singers. More explanation after rehearsals begin.

Dues will remain at $45 per semester, and the music fee is $25 (total $70). Checks should be made payable to “Hilo Community Chorus.” Full-time students’ dues are waived.  No singer will be turned away for inability to pay; please ask about scholarships.  New singers may join 8/26, 9/2, or 9/9; or by contacting me directly for approval after those dates.  The University of Hilo and Messiah Sing-Along programs after our main concert are encouraged, but optional.

Tom McAlexander / tommac@hawaii.rr.com / (808) 985-7192

PAGE TITLE TIME 46 Angelus Ad Virginem – 14 Cent. Irish, arr. David Willcocks 2:40

52 As with Gladness Men of Old – C. Kocher, arr. Willcocks 2:55

78 Ding Dong! Merrily on High – 16th Cent. French, arr. Willcocks 2:25

194 It Came Upon the Midnight Clear – English Trad., arr. Arthur Sullivan/Willcocks 3:50

226 O Come, All Ye Faithful – J. F. Wade, arr. Willcocks 4:25

230 O Come, O Come Emmanuel – 15th Cent. French, arr. Willcocks 3:35

236 Of the Father’s heart Begotten – Piae Cantones, arr. Willcocks 5:30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt75zI4kz6g
242 Sussex Carol – English traditional, arr. Willcocks 2:00

270 Quelle est Cette Odeur Agreable? – French Trad., arr. Willcocks 4:35

283 See Amid The Winter’s Snow – John Goss, arr. Willcocks 4:00

357 Unto Us Is Born a Son – Piae Cantones, arr. Willcocks 2:20 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CkRYkVXuvY
378 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks – Este’s Psalter, arr. Willcocks 2:25 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgYzJDxxzN8

62 Nativity Carol – John Rutter 4:30

68 Child In A Manger – Celtic Trad., arr. Rutter 2:30

86 Shepherd’s Pipe Carol – Rutter 3:00

110 Jesus Child – Rutter 3:25

156 I Saw Three Ships – English Trad., arr. Rutter 2:15

219 Sans Day Carol – Cornish Trad., arr. Rutter 3:15

289 Mary’s Lullaby – Rutter 3:35

293 Star Carol – Rutter 3:00

310 Christmas Night – Melody from Arbeau’s Orchésographie (1588), arr. Rutter 4:05 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsGzpHy1my8
Falling into Mercy – Kim André Arnesen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEUgz0KD67Q 4:40

Sing with HCC members at Carnegie Hall in 2020


Hilo Community Chorus members are traveling to NYC in 2020 to sing at Carnegie Hall with DCINY .  Space may be still available; if you would like to join our group, do not contact DCINY directly as stated in the image above; instead please contact HCC music director Tom McAlexander: tommac@hawaii.rr.com or (808) 985-7192

Fauré and Brahms Concert, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 3:00 PM, First United Protestant Church

Please join us for our spring concert, Saturday, May 18, 2019, 3:00 PM, First United Protestant Church (click link to open location in Google Maps; above Kaiser and the hospital).

Music for the concert includes Fauré’s “Requiem” and “Cantique de Jean Racine,” (full chorus); Brahms’ “Alto Rhapsody” (alto soloist and male chorus) and “Psalm 13″ (female chorus).

One concert; four conductors: Walter Greenwood for “Cantique de Jean Racine,” Melanie Oldfather for “Alto Rhapsody,” Doug Albertson for “Psalm 13,” and Tom McAlexander for “Requiem.”

Soloists: Gerdine Markus for “Alto Rhapsody;” Kyra Gomes for the Pie Jesu movement from “Requiem;” Pressley Sutherland for Offertory and Libera Me movements from “Requiem.”

Accompaniment by Walter Greenwood; guest second keyboardist, Kanako Okita

Cellist: Kelly Stuart

Tickets available from chorus members or at the door: $15 adults; $10 senior/students; $5 children

12th Annual Messiah Sing-Along, Sunday, December 16, 2 PM, First United Protestant Church

During the dedication concert for a new organ at the Church of the Holy Cross in 2007, a germ of an idea occurred to Tom McAlexander that the Church would be a great place for a Messiah sing-along. At intermission he shared that idea with then Palace Theater organist Bob Alder, whose only remark was, “Yes. Make it happen.” So after making arrangements through Pastor Tom Olcott, the first annual Messiah sing-along took place in their sanctuary. The sing-along remained at Holy Cross until after Pastor Olcott retired, then in 2014 it was moved to Christ Lutheran Church. By request of Pastor Ron Kent of First United Protestant Church, this year it will be presented there as the concluding event of their 150th anniversary year celebrations.

Singer or not, everyone is invited to this sing-along. Audience members who wish to sing may bring their own score, or a copy may be borrowed at the door. Members of the Hilo Community Chorus will be strategically placed in the pews to act as section leaders (look for the soprano/alto/tenor/bass signs on the pews). Of course you may sit and sing wherever you wish or just enjoy the singing. The sing-along will also feature the most famous of all choruses, “Hallelujah,” and end with “Worthy Is the Lamb” and the final “Amen.” The event is free (with calabash), and everyone is welcome.

Conductor is Tom McAlexander and accompanists are Walter Greenwood, organ and Rick Mazurowski, piano. Soloists are Andrea Pelletier, soprano; Lisa Katherine Taylor, alto; Barry Brandes, bass; and Ian McMillan, tenor.

This event is co-sponsored by First United Protestant Church and the Hilo Community Chorus. The Church is located at 1350 Waianuenue Ave. (above the Hospital and Kaiser),  There will be two open rehearsals, one at the UH-Hilo rehearsal room on Monday, December 10, at 6:30 PM and the other at the Church on Saturday, December 15 at 2:00 p.m. Anyone who cares to join in for a refresher course before the sing-along is welcome. For more information, call Tom McAlexander, 985-7192, or email tommac@hawaii.rr.com.

Hilo Community Chorus Presents Free Holiday Concert on Saturday, December 1, 2018, 3 PM, at First United Protestant Church

The Hilo Community Chorus will present Norwegian composer Kim Andrè Arnesen’s “The Christmas Alleluias” with harp accompaniment by Tatyana Shapiro-Leiste and guest soloist Amy Horst on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at First United Protestant Church in Hilo (click link to open location in google maps). Also featured will be Suites IV (“Carols of Central and South America”) and V (“Carols of North America”) from Mark Hayes’ “International Carol Suites,” and a selection of carols arranged by John Rutter, all accompanied by Walter Greenwood, piano.

“The Christmas Alleluias” sets to music the work of librettist Euan Tait, whose text “Unfinished Remembering,” commemorating the outbreak of the First World War, was performed in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall in 2014. He has worked extensively with Arnesen and other composers.

Guest soloist Amy Horst is well known to Hilo Audiences for her crystal clear soprano voice. She is Instructor in music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Hawaii – Hilo. She has been soloist with the Hilo Community Chorus on a number of occasions.

Tatyana Shapiro-Leiste is a professional, classically-trained concert harpist from St. Petersburg, Russia. She grew up in a musical family and graduated with a Master’s degree from the world-famous St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music in 1998. After moving to the United States in 1999, she received her second Master’s degree and worked on her PhD in Music and Harp at the University of Arizona where she studied under Dr. Carrol McLaughlin. She was the principal harpist with the El Paso Opera Company and El Paso Symphony Orchestra and was part of the world’s largest harp touring ensemble “HarpFusion.” She has performed with a number of symphony orchestras. Tatyana has done recordings at Capital Records and at other recording sessions. She has also performed on TV, most recently at “Dancing with the Stars.”

“International Carol Suites” is a work of five geographically themed suites representing 20 countries. The chorus performed the first three suites last year, and the two remaining suites, which will be performed in this concert, include carols from Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the United States. Soloists from the Chorus will be Danielle Kwami, Belinda Hall, Pressley Sutherland, Kevin Reardon, and Adrianna Zablan.

Composer/arranger John Rutter is one of the most recognized names in Christmas music. The collection to be performed include “Child in a Manger,” “Flemish Carol,” “Sans Day Carol,” and “In dulce jubilo” (which was edited by Rutter but this arrangement is by R. L. Pearsall). Soloists for “In dulce jubilo” from the Chorus are Adrianna Zablan, Joan Derbyshire, Connie Leyendecker, Roni Koscik, Len Miyazono, Pressley Sutherland, Doug Albertson, and Mike Kingston.

Hilo Community Chorus is a 501(c)(3) organization and is conducted by Tom McAlexander. For more information, call 985-7192 or email tommac@hawaii.rr.com.

Rehearsals begin August 27 for Fall Season, All Welcome

Rehearsals will begin on Monday, August 27, from 6:30- 8:30 PM at the UH-H rehearsal room (click link to view location in Google Maps). We will then meet each Monday evening (except Labor Day) until our December 1 concert. Come early to get your music, pay your dues/music fee, and find your seat. Dues are still $45 per semester, and music fee this semester is $30 (total $75). Please pay by check (no cash accepted) made payable to Hilo Community Chorus.  Scholarships available; no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

New singers are welcome. There is no audition, and no previous choral experience is required.  The only requirement is a commitment to attend Monday rehearsals each week and to practice one hour a week outside of rehearsal if needed.

I am attaching the fall program numbers with links to listening websites. Tatyana Shapiro-Leiste will be with us playing harp for the Arnesen piece. For those of you who don’t know or know of her, here’s a link to her playing on YouTube:

Hilo Community Chorus music for December, 2018:

Arnesen: The Christmas Alleluias

Hayes: International Carol Suites; Carols of the Americas:

Rutter: In Dulci Jubilo:

Rutter: Sans Day Carol:

Rutter: Child in a Manger:

Rutter: Flemish Carol:


In addition to our main concert, we will also participate in the University holiday concert and offer our annual Messiah Sing-along (these events are optional).

Summary of Fall Season dates:

Monday, August 27, at 6:30 p.m. – First rehearsal for our December 1 concert at the UH-Hilo rehearsal room. Come early to pick up your music and pay your dues/music fee ($75 total).

Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. – Optional rehearsal at Christ Lutheran Church, 595 Kapiolani, for the Rutter “The Lord Is My Shepherd” for those of you who choose to sing with my Church Choir on September 2. You are all invited to sing with us.

Sunday, September 2 at 10:30 a.m. – Optional service at Christ Lutheran Church, with choir singing “The Lord Is My Shepherd. Call time for run-through is 10:10 a.m.

Monday, September 3 – No rehearsal – Labor Day (We’ll rehearse all other Mondays at 6:30 p.m.)

Thursday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. – Rehearsal at First United Protestant Church (above Hilo Medical Center and Kaiser). This will be our only rehearsal with our harpist before concert day.

Saturday, December 1 at 3:00 p.m. – Concert at First United Protestant Church. Call time is 1:30 p.m.

Monday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m. – Rehearsal at UH-H for music we’ll sing with the University choruses on Sunday, December 9.

Saturday, December 8, at noon ’til about 5:00 p.m. – Rehearsal with University choruses.

Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m. – Concert with University Choruses. (Call time probably at noon).

Monday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. at UH-H rehearsal room – Rehearsal for Messiah sing along.

Saturday, December 15 at 2:00 p.m. – Rehearsal for Messiah sing along at First United Protestant Church.

Sunday, December 16 at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. (depending on schedule of instrumentalists) – Messiah sing along at First United Protestant Church.

Tuesday, December 25 – Have a very merry Christmas!

For more information email Tom McAlexander at tommac@hawaii.rr.com or call (808) 985-7192

Aloha,  — Tom

UH Hilo / Hilo Community Chorus spring concert to feature John Rutter’s “Requiem,” Sunday, May 6, 2018, 2 PM


The University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s Kapili Choir and University Chorus join the Hilo Community Chorus, to present We Sing the Spring, on Sunday, May 6 at 2 pm in the UH Hilo Performing Arts Center (click link to see concert location in Google Maps).

The first half of the concert features a performance of renowned choral composer John Rutter’s composition, “Requiem.” The seven-movement work builds on traditional Catholic and Anglican liturgy for a service of mourning, while incorporating more contemporary idioms including the blues.

The second half showcases each of the choirs in their own set of songs, with styles ranging from the Baroque to popular melodies of Hawai’i, including selections arranged by island musicians Michael Springer and Rodney Wong.

We Sing the Spring is conducted jointly by Amy Horst and Tom McAlexander and accompanied by Walter Greenwood on piano. Featured performers include Performing Arts major Adrianna Zablan as soprano soloist, Kamehameha Schools teacher and composer Herb Mahelona on cello and local musician Merry Kay Kiyan on oboe.

Tickets are $10 General, $7 Discount and $5 UH Hilo/Hawaiʻi CC students(with a valid student ID) and children, up to age 17.  Tickets are available by calling the UH Hilo Box Office at 932-7490, Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 2 pm, or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.


The first rehearsal for spring 2018 will be Monday, January 22, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the UH-Hilo rehearsal room (click link to open Google Maps window).

Our Spring program will be a May joint concert with the University choruses. The exact date of the concert is not confirmed yet, but it will most likely be in the early part of May 2018. Jointly we will perform Requiem by John Rutter.  The second half of the concert (or perhaps first half) will be both of the University choruses and our chorus singing fifteen minute programs. Ours will be “The Last Words of David” by Randall Thompson and “My Heart Is Inditing” by Handel.

New singers are welcome. There is no audition, and no previous choral experience is required.  The only requirement is a commitment to attend Monday rehearsals each week and to practice one hour a week outside of rehearsal if needed.

Requiem scores will be available for purchase at the rehearsal for $10. Dues remain at $45 per semester, so make your check out to Hilo Community Chorus for $55 if you need a copy of the score; or $45 if you already have your own score.  (No singer will be turned away due to inability to pay, ask our treasurer about scholarships when you arrive.) The additional two pieces can be printed at home; email for pdfs.

For more information email Tom McAlexander at tommac@hawaii.rr.com or call (808) 985-7192