Classical Pacific, July 4th, 2017

Jul 4, 2017

Credit John C. Zak

Welcome to Classical Pacific for Tuesday, July 4th , 2017 on HPR 2. I’m your host, John Zak.  

Today on Classical Pacific we’ll enjoy music of some of America’s great composers, including, Gershwin, Grofé,  William Grant Still (the Dean of African American composers), Copland, and Rogers and Hammerstein. This is a day to celebrate those who had the grit to build the United States into the nation she is today. We also celebrate those who made countless sacrifices to make their way to our country, and  we celebrate those who sacrificed life and limb  to protect our freedoms.

Here in Hawaii, we have the opportunity to experience the cultural diversity of America’s melting pot, firsthand. If you go to a barbecue or cookout, you will see food from countless places: Lau Lau, lumpia, tacos, sushi, burgers and dogs. The list goes on. As you spend time with friends and loved ones, or as you meet people for the first time, take a moment to think about how you and the folks around you came to be right  here on July 4th 2017. What are the stories of your own family?

My great grandmother  traveled across the southern states in a covered wagon. She told me stories about her journey when I was a little boy. My grandparents managed to make a living as farmers in West Texas and, through toil and dedication, my grandfather became successful and was elected mayor of his town. He oversaw the paving of the streets and built schools and a community swimming pool, which was a godsend on West Texas summer days.

My grandparents on my father’s side immigrated to America from Eastern Europe, where life had become untenable. Life in America was not easy for them, either,  but they worked hard, teaching themselves to  read and write in English, and sending their children to school. With his education at Lane Technical school Chicago, my father was able to get a job with the fledgling airline, TWA,  opening the world up to my mother and me. I am writing this blog and doing this radio program because of the bravery, tenacity, and hope for a better life that propelled my ancestors to forge a life in America, where they had the freedom to create opportunities for their families. We are have been beneficiaries of the  many freedoms and  countless possibilities this nation has afforded us. Despite hardships and political battles, it is still so.

In my view, America does not need to be made great. It is already great. Look into the eyes of your friends, neighbors, and loved ones. You’ll see that greatness, right there in front of you.

I have chosen not to fill today's program with marches full of beating drums piping piccolos. Most of the music is more thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a few Rogers and Hammerstein songs thrown in for good measure. After all,  the United States and Broadway gave birth to the great American musical, which has become a worldwide sensation!

So, here’s a question and it’s not rhetorical one: What does music mean to you in your life?  How and when to you listen to music? And, most important, how does it make you feel? If you have some comments about this, please let me know. Send me an email through our HPR website. I might read some of the  comments on  the air and I would be quite interested to hear what you have to say!

As I mentioned some time ago, I am still looking for high-quality choral music from across Polynesia, particularly, Sāmoa and Tonga, and Maori music, as well. If you have access to that music and would be willing to share or to put me in contact with someone who might be able to assist in that regard, please let me know via e mail on this website or feel free to call the station (808) 955-8821 and leave me a message. And while we’re on the subject, what music from the Pacific region would you like to hear? Would you be interested in hearing more World Music, other classical artists? Any artists you especially love? Let me know!

Be sure to visit the Classical Pacific page on HPR’s website to listen to the podcast of my conversation with André Watts and Iggy Jang. If you have keiki in your life, to whom you want to introduce classical music, you will find this conversation especially interesting!
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: 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!<iframe src="" width="100%" height="500" frameborder="0" seamless></iframe>