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Classical Pacific Memorial Day May 29, 2017

Welcome to Classical Pacific on Hawaii Public Radio HPR 2. I’m your host, John Kalani Zak.

Today is Memorial Day across the United States. We honor our fallen heroes and heroines of the armed forces who made the greatest possible  sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. As I mentioned on this past Friday’s show. I am dedicating  that show and today’s show to the memory of my two uncles whose names I carry: John Zak, who fought and died in Germany in World War II, and my other uncle, Hubert Carl Brown, a pilot who went missing in action and was never found in the Pacific.  A few years ago I discovered  a box of old letters from that time. They had belonged to my mother. In each letter, I relived the hope that she and my family carried, believing that H.C. would be rescued and would come back  home to take over the family farm in Texas.  Then, I came across the final letters of realization and grief that were exchanged between my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother.  My uncle did not come home. I sat on the floor and wept. None of this had ever been discussed among my family members. That was their approach to tragedy. Stoicism.

On my father’s side, my grandmother had immigrated to America from Poland and faced a hard life here, but still it was far better than what she would have faced in Europe, with borders and allegiances changing at a moment’s notice.  She sent her beloved, oldest son to Europe to fight some of the very forces that had compelled her to seek freedom in America. He, too, did not return. My family’s story is not, by any means, unique. In fact, the scenario is, sadly, quite common.

How fortunate we are that music can be the “Balm in Gilead” for us, a doorway into feelings and emotions, thoughts and memories.

In the first hour of our broadcast, we’ll listen to two pieces by Aaron Copland: “Symphony Number 3”, and “Prairie Journal.” In the second and third hours,  we’ll enjoy Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and some lighthearted music from South Pacific. We’ll also hear Alexander Glazunov’s gorgeous take on the seasons. We’ll come back to Aaron Copland with “Fanfare for the Common Man” and we’ll close with a beautiful rendition  of Londonderry Air. As we fill our opu with all the goodies that make Hawaii the special place we love, let’s also fill our heart with gratitude and aloha for those brave ones who gave all.

Classical Pacific began in February, 2017, as a result of Hawaii Public Radio’s ongoing commitment to give listeners across Hawaii and around the world more of what they love, on two networks: HPR 1 and HPR 2. Airing five days a week at 3 P.M. Hawaii time, the series  features the finest of the world’s classical music, while also shining a spotlight on orchestras, artists, and composers of the Pacific region, including Polynesia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, The U.S., Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. We’ll also add spice with indigenous and World music that is creating new musical languages and collaborations worldwide.

Classical Pacific and all Hawaii Public Radio programs are available online at our website: hawaiipublicradio.org. You can also download the free app for your mobile device and take HPR with you whenever and wherever you travel! Just type H - P - R in the search box of your App. store!

John C. Zak
Credit John C. Zak

John Kalani Zak, the son of an airline executive father and a journalist mother, was born in Washington D. C. He has lived in and traveled to many locations around the globe, and is delighted to call Hawaiʻi his home.
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