The Hakuoh University Handbell Choir shared its amazing handbell music at a friendship luncheon hosted by Hakuoh vice president and board chair Joji Kamioka on Feb. 19 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. The choir also presented free concerts at Central Union Church, Windward Community College and Leeward Community College.
The choir was founded by Professor Hirotaka Arai in 1988. Arai-Sensei continues to direct the choir. This year’s concerts marked the 28th consecutive year that the choir has performed in Hawai‘i. The choir has the capacity to ring seven octaves of handbells and travels with as many as 120 separate pieces of bells.
The choir fascinated their luncheon audience with their wide-ranging repertoire that included “Flora No. 2, commonly known as “Sakura,” which Arai-Sensei also sang. The students also performed “How Far I’ll Go” from the movie “Moana,” a Lin-Manuel Miranda composition; “Moonlight Serenade” and “In the Mood” from a medley of Glenn Miller classics; “Jonetsu Tairiku” by Taro Hakasa; “Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia,” a Beethoven composition, and Gustav Theodore Holst’s “Jupiter” from “The Planets.” The audience was also moved by the students’ performance — and singing — of “Do Re Mi” from “The Sound of Music” and “Hawai‘i Aloha.”
Hakuoh University is a private coeducational college in Tochigi Prefecture. Dr. Joyce Tsunoda, retired University of Hawai‘i vice president for community colleges, taught at Hakuoh University after retiring from UH and strengthened the ties between the two universities.