50 Years of Symphony at the Blaisdell Concert Hall

Old Honolulu Symphony Programs displayed at Blaisdell Concert Hall
Old Honolulu Symphony Programs displayed at Blaisdell Concert Hall

I recently wrote about the formal opening of the Blaisdell Concert Hall in 1964. It turns out the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra was commemorating the 50th anniversary of that event during their 2014 opening week.

Stopping by the farmers market outside the Concert Hall that week, a friend and I were surprised to see the symphony setting up for a free show in front of the hall. We sat down for just 1 number…..and were still there an hour later. It helped that the conductor could speak to us less cultured folks- several times he referenced the classics found in Bugs Bunny cartoons! We were hooked, and bought tickets for the weekend.

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra performance in front of Blaisdell Concert Hall
Hawaii Symphony Orchestra performance in front of Blaisdell Concert Hall

As we entered the Concert Hall for the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see memorabilia on display. Having spent years reading everything I could find even remotely related to Blaisdell Center, I immediately dove into books of old Symphony programs. My friend rolled her eyes and headed to her seat.

--Concert goers viewing 50 years of symphony memorabilia
–Concert goers viewing 50 years of symphony memorabilia

In keeping with the historical nature of the evening, the first half of the show was a repeat of numbers played at the original opening: Tchaikovsky’s Overture Fantasy from “Romeo and Juliet” followed by Mendelssohn’s music from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

I had been trying to find one of the original champagne glasses from the 1964 opening for some time. So I was pleased to see the Hawaii Symphony had made new commemorative glasses for the occasion- as gifts for a donation. Not replicas of the originals, instead they had the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra logo on one side and on the other was inscribed:

“A Return to a Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Blaisdell Concert Hall
September 13th 1964-2014

Unfortunately, I found no one aware of any original glasses still in existence. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable evening, with great music, great history, and with a very patient friend.

TH

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