From September 29 to October 11, a group of HBA Soldiers of Light (SOL) and Halau members traveled to Texas and Oklahoma to perform for and worship with members of the Mainland Advisory Council.
Choir director Todd Yokotake prepared the group for multiple performances in churches and care homes, and they also visited several colleges in Texas under the guidance of high school guidance counselor Susan Goya. In Texas, the SOL sang for elderly MAC members who are not able to make the trip to Hawaii anymore. Long-time MAC member Ed Sperling was at one of the care homes they visited. Senior Summer Bass said, “We had no mics, no lights, no risers. We simply sang to [Mr. Sperling.] Even though I didn’t know him personally, it really affected me because of how much he has done for HBA. I felt so humbled in that moment, and there was hardly a dry eye in the room after we sang for him and his wife.”
In Texas, the students also toured a number colleges, including Baylor, Rice, Southwest Baptist University, and University of Texas. The tours gave them the opportunity to walk around the campuses, and learn about the academic offerings and experiences the colleges had to offer. Senior Peyton Oshiro said, “My favorite visit was at Baylor University. Their mission statement, their facilities, and educational opportunities were very appealing as a Christian college. Even though I don’t necessarily plan on going there for college, It was a good experience seeing all those schools in Texas and Oklahoma.”
The choir group also went to popular Texas destinations such as NASA and the Galleria shopping mall. Senior Christianne Young said, “My favorite event was visiting the Galleria because it was the biggest mall I had ever gone to and it had an indoor ice skating rink. It was a lot of fun to just walk around the mall with my friends and have a great time eating Chipotle and shopping in the ‘ginormous’ stores.” They also went to Magnolia, a store that sold home furniture and decor featured in the HGTV show, “Fixer Upper”.
When they were not performing, the group enjoyed time together over food and fellowship. Senior Jessie Lim recalled, “After late night concerts, Mr. Kamada would take us to Sonic and we would buy the signature shakes and fries. We would eat it around the hotel campfire while jamming out to our music playlists.”
The trip was a memorable one for many and coming home was bittersweet for sophomore Nicole Nakagawa. “I missed being surrounded by my friends and waking up early in the morning to perform. I’ll remember the good times we shared, the times that I prayed in the room with my roommates and the hugs I received from the people that our ministry touched,” she said.