The community came together at the LDS Honolulu tabernacle to commemorate their shared faith in Christ, using music as an instrument to bring the joy of Christmas spirit. As part of a missionary effort, Craig Young, the musical director of the event, had prepared the Christmas concert held on the 20th and 21st of December.
Young said “It’s really a big stake effort, and at the same time, it’s to bring people from the community,” and that “it’s a really neat experience to have everybody come in here, especially those that are not members--that’s more than half the people here.”
Elder Bogner, a full-time missionary from California said, “The concert is for the entire community with an emphasis on missionary work and trying to get anybody who is interested or may be interested to come.”
Many missionaries were in attendance, eager at the possible missionary opportunities. Bogner said the program is to show the community “all we offer and that we worship and praise Jesus Christ.”
Bryan Crump from Kahuku, who had a mother in the choir, said that he felt joyful feelings during the concert. “It’s the best time of year and it helped bring that out,” he said.
Members of the choirs spent many hours a week preparing for the program for months beforehand.
Norine Francis, an alto in the adult choir from Honolulu, enjoyed preparing for the program.
“There is such a beautiful spirit and there is never any stress,” said Francis, “They want us to have joy in sharing the music.”
Janell Yim, from Honolulu Manoa, is a member of the adult choir. Yim joined because of the missionary opportunity she saw the program presented.
“I'm not a great singer, so I joined as a missionary tool. I try to bring my nonmember friends. If I invited them and I wasn't in it, then they wouldn't come,” said Yim.
Yim said in preparation for the performance she prayed that she could dedicate her and everyone else’s singing to the Lord so “that those present could feel of the spirit.”
Alicia Pacheco, a member of the adult choir from Manoa, said, “I love the spirit that comes into my life as I practice the music and the joy of the season that I can feel with my co-singers,” said Pacheco. “It's good to know that no matter our denomination we worship the same Christ.”
Some performers said the Christmas spirit wasn’t the only presence felt that night. Sarah Kennedy-Smith, the accompanist and coordinator of the adult choir, said the choir received “divine” help throughout the night.
“The hardest part is not tearing up and trying to blink back the tears while you're trying to sing because you can feel these heavenly hosts among us. It's really quite an experience and it happens just about every year,” said Kennedy-Smith.
Young said they had a few hiccups along the way. “We’re working with non-professionals, so that’s the biggest challenge. We didn’t rehearse all the time together--we only did it twice.
“I think every concert is successful if you have a full house and we always do.”