Kona Choral Society member Karen Valentine posted the following on the Chorus Connection site following the KCS concert in honor of African-American History Month, “Guide My Feet: A Celebration of African-American Gospel and Spirituals.” Regardless of what in the world is spinning around you, a moment of reflection on the depth and power of music is a welcome oasis for us all.


“Something happened in Kona last night”

It didn’t fully hit me until this morning when I started imagining all the spirits, ancestors (kupuna), angels, archangels, downtrodden and oppressed gathered in the space with us last night. It was so crowded. I pictured them all standing with us as the tears flowed and the sounds vibrated throughout the building, Kona and beyond. There is actually an underground stream that flows from the top of Hualalai, passing beside the church and into the ocean. The well there is where the Hawaiians used to come and collect water. I believe the collective emotion from everyone was powerful enough to flow into that current, into the ocean and around the world with healing energies. I have dear friends from Africa — Uganda — who were forced to leave their country and who came to hear us. I was so happy to see them. We’ll never know who in that church healed something last night, perhaps in themselves, their family and generations past. From the opening comments by a civil rights activist, to Susie’s story of an African American missionary to Hawai‘i, to Binti Bailey’s heartfelt singing and tears, building in climax to the final verse of “We Shall Overcome,” it was a night we will all remember. Yes, something happened in Kona last night. Don’t doubt how big it was.